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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows DVD Release

Posted by: Matthew Turner 08/12/2011 @ 14:40
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 480
Films seen in the last week: Warhorse, Black Narcissus, New Year's Eve, Cobra Woman, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Young Adult, Best Laid Plans

FILMS OF THE WEEK: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas

Day of the Smurf
It's not every day that you see a giant Smurf in London, so when I heard that DnA PR were planning to erect a 40 foot high Smurf by the side of Tower Bridge at the weekend (to tie in with Monday's release of The Smurfs DVD – see review in last week's blog), I thought I'd go along. As these pictures show, they were not exaggerating – it was indeed a giant inflatable Smurf and it was quite a sight. I particularly liked the way the blue and white of the Smurf perfectly matched the blue and white of Tower Bridge.

I was, however, a little disappointed that it was this particular Giant Inflatable Smurf rather than this Giant Inflatable Smurf Balloon from the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York. I confess, on the way there, I was secretly hoping a gust of wind would send it over the Thames and into Tower Bridge. Now THAT'S a PR stunt. Also, it means that they couldn't call it The World's Largest Smurf, as it was, in fact, only the World's SECOND Largest Smurf. Anyway, the World's Second Largest Smurf remained disappointingly grounded throughout, while various bemused onlookers took photos, waved Smurf balloons, tweeted about the #GIANTSMURF (check the hashtag), ate Smurfberries (actually blue ... er ... chewy things), posed with Papa Smurf and Smurfette (unavailable for comment) and had their children's faces painted blue.

There were a worrying few moments when we were all coerced into shouting “WE LOVE THE SMURFS!” on camera for the accompanying promotional video (we had to sign release forms and everything) but thankfully they went with a group of extremely vocal children instead. There are various rumours about the same spot being used for a similar promotional stunt for the DVD release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Hopefully someone will hire around 50 actors, dress them up in ape costumes and send them over the bridge disrupting traffic, like in the climax of the movie. Although I'd settle for a Giant Inflatable Monkey, obviously.

Trailerwatch: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
I was vaguely aware that there was a Mysterious Island movie coming up but I didn't know who was in it and I hadn't seen the trailer until last night when it played with the multimedia screening of A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. I have to say, the 3D effects in the trailer looked very impressive indeed, especially the berry bouncing off Dwayne Johnson's pecs and into the audience at the end. This is 3D as it should be – forget “realistic environments”, I just want things to come leaping out of the screen as often as possible. Basically, if you don't have a moment where the audience all leap out of the way of something (like the catflap moment in Fright Night), then don't bother making your film in 3D at all.

Anyway, this looks like it could potentially be a lot of fun – Dwayne Johnson can always be relied upon when it comes to this sort of thing and it looks like the film has taken a semi-serious approach laced with character-based humour rather than camping it up like in Land of the Lost. As the hideous title suggests, it's from the same people who made Journey to the Centre of the Earth, with Josh Hutcherson reprising his role as Sean Anderson and no Brendan Fraser this time around. (Surely he wasn't busy?)

The supporting cast are promising, although I'm already dreading the number of times something disgusting is going to happen to Luis Guzman (an actor who deserves better), judging by the number of disgusting things that happen to him in the trailer. Vanessa Hudgens looks rather wasted too – she barely even has any lines in the trailer. Other than that, I'm quite looking forward to seeing Michael Caine and Dwayne Johnson sharing scenes together and I'm also looking forward to counting the number of times people say the words “Mysterious Island” in the movie, since they say it three times in the trailer alone. (Apparently Quentin Tarantino claps whenever someone says the title of a movie in a movie. I just thought I'd share that with you). Anyway, the film opens here in February, so quite a while to wait yet.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Only one new entry this week, with just A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas entering the top ten. That said, I haven't seen Mysteries of Lisbon, but people who have say it's amazing and it's made at least one friend's top ten of 2011 list, so you may want to check that out, although, you should see Margaret first. Speaking of Margaret, the response to various film reviewers (myself included – I am still regretting not giving it five stars) championing it on Twitter (see the #TeamMargaret and #Margaret hashtags) and elsewhere meant that audiences turned out in droves, despite the fact that it was only showing on a single screen in London. According to Charles Gant's excellent weekly box-office round-up in The Guardian, Margaret took a staggering £4,595 over the weekend and as a result it's opening on ten more screens this Friday. Hurrah! I would like to believe that this is proof that Critics Can Make A Difference, except I know that people will still go and see New Year's Eve, despite it getting uniformly terrible reviews. Bah.

Interview-wise this week we have an exclusive interview with Mark Williams (aka Arthur Weasley) to tie in with the DVD release of the final Harry Potter film. The interview was held at Harrods, for some reason. And not in a flash way, either – it was held in an empty, window-less room at Harrods that could have been anywhere. Weird.

Anyway, elsewhere you can still read our press conference interviews with Hugo director Martin Scorsese and Hugo actors Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz and Ben Kingsley, our exclusive interview with Terence Davies for The Deep Blue Sea, our semi-exclusive (i.e. round
table) interview with Michael Shannon for Take Shelter, our exclusive interview with Snowtown star Daniel Henshall, our semi-exclusive round-table interview with Rum Diary (and Withnail & I) director Bruce Robinson, our semi-exclusive round table with The Rum Diary star Amber Heard and a press conference interview with George Clooney for The Ides of March.

1. Margaret
2. Tabloid
3. Take Shelter
4. Moneyball
5. My Week With Marilyn
6. Las Acacias
7. We Need To Talk About Kevin
8. Snowtown
9. The Deep Blue Sea
10. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

DVD of the Week: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2 Disc Special Edition, out now, online RRP £9.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, the second half of the seventh and final chapter in the Harry Potter series. Directed by David Yates, the film picks up immediately where the previous instalment left off, with Voldemort having found the Elder Wand and Snape (Alan Rickman) installed as the new head of Voldemort-controlled Hogwarts. Meanwhile, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) find another Horcrux (honestly, if you don't know by now, it's best not to ask) and realise that in order to destroy the remaining two, they will have to return to Hogwarts and face off against Voldemort's forces of evil.

Splitting the final film in two pays off handsomely, because it allows “7.2” to be pretty much all-out-action from the get-go, with Yates orchestrating some terrific action scenes and set-pieces, such as the escape from Gringott's bank or a fiery chase scene in the Room of Requirement. The performances are excellent too (Radcliffe delivers his best performance of the series so far), with Rickman the obvious stand-out – his flashback scenes and final moments are genuinely moving, while a couple of the supporting characters also get their chances to shine. That said, the film brushes over some of the best moments of the book (Bellatrix LeStrange and Molly Weasley's showdown, for example or Hermione changing into Bellatrix), while the lack of chemistry between all the romantic couples is a serious problem for all concerned.

Still, all in all, this delivers the action-packed finale fans have been hoping for and delivers the required emotional kick, even if it can't quite convincingly pull off the various romantic couplings. Oh, and the most amusing part of the whole DVD? If you click on “Languages”, there's a picture of Hermione looking annoyed.

The extras package includes: a series of five short “Focus Points” featurettes (Aberforth Dumbledore, Deathly Hallows Costume Changes, Harry Returns to Hogwarts, The Hogwarts Shield and The Room of Requirement Set); an excellent 49 minute Behind The Scenes documentary by filmmaker Morgan Matthews (who was granted full access to the sets for the final two films), featuring interviews with pretty much everybody; a 10 minute featurette on The Goblins of Gringotts (featuring interviews with Warwick Davis); and a 21 minute featurette on The Women of Harry Potter (featuring specially recorded interviews with JK Rowling, Bonnie Wright, Emma Watson, Julie Walters etc). No commentary, blooper reel or deleted scenes though. Also, surely they'll release 7.1 and 7.2 in a box-set at some point?


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