Sunday, December 30, 2007

Harry Razorhands

Little Dougie dragged me down to the multi-plex this weekend to see a movie. I don't go out to the movies much these days. They just don't make them like they used to, by which I mean, starring me! When you hear people complaining that movies aren't as good as they used to be, that's what they are referring to; that the movies no longer star me! But now, they're not even making them the way they do still make them. A prime example was the picture Dougie took me to. I just didn't get Harry Potter and the Demon Barber of Fleet Street at all. I was expecting a nice movie about a randy hair-stylist, like a remake of Warren Beatty's Shampoo. It turned out to be something quite different.

I realize that Tim Burton had a freak success with a children's movie a couple years back, with his Harry Potter and the Chocolate Factory, but still, just handing him the Harry Potter series to do with as he would seemed an odd choice, even for Dreamworks. During the opening credits, it seemed like a good idea. It was basically the same opening credit sequence as in the Wonky Willy movie, only this time in the Cherry & Raspberry part of the factory. But then the odd choices began, and kept coming.

Why on earth recast darling little Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter?. Okay, Little Danny has been growing up too fast for the series, and is now just too old to play Harry anymore, plus he's been doing live sex porn shows - with HORSES yet, on stage, which is bad for a kid's star's image, so maybe he had to go. But why replace him with Johnny Depp? Yes, Johnny is a good actor and all, but I do believe he's even older than Little Danny, by many months. And he really needs to get some sun.

Then, they replace Harry's magic wand with magic razors. Yikes! Better get that spell right the first time. And then, they hit all the characters with a Singing Curse, magically forcing them to sing all the time, instead of speaking. I believe The Singing Curse ranks up there with The Imperious Curse, The Curciatus Curse, and The Death Curse, as one of The Unforgivable Curses; in this case, The Excruciatus Curse.

However, if you're going to make everyone sing, shouldn't you hire actors who can sing? Just a thought. Call me crazy, but singing generally sounds better when the person singing actually can sing. It's a revolutionary concept I know. I've always been an innovator. Back in the old days, when we made musicals with non-singers in the leads, Marni Millhous Nixon used to come in and dub their singing. Her Yul Brynner was uncanny! It got to the point that when Angela Lansbury was cast in The Harvey Girls, MGM dubbed her singing out of force of habit, even though she's a great singer. Where was Marni Nixon now, when Tim Burton needed her? Johnny Depp was passable enough, if it were a high school musical at a school for the deaf, but if I want to listen to David Bowie sing (and for the record, I don't. Stay home, Davy.), I'll listen to David Bowie. He's still available on vinyl, isn't he? Oh? Only on vinyl? Okay. Marni would have been a vast improvement on Johnny.

And Helena Bonham Carter? Are they deaf? She could make you wish you were. Helena's singing went to Helena Handbasket. How did she get the part anyway, you ask? Let's put it this way; last week, she gave birth to the director's baby, which means she conceived right around the time she was miscast in the movie. Apparently, she got her role The Old-Fashioned Way. I'm glad to see not all of Hollywood's venerable traditions have gone out of style. And the woman is Beverly Sills next to Alan Rickman's "Singing". (By which I mean dead.)

But let's talk about the story. I'd heard from people who read (Those freaks!) that in the later books, the Harry Potter stories get a little dark, but this movie is a black hole! And not the good kind, either. (The "Good Kind" of Black Hole is the one that Adawale Akinnuoye-Agbaje sits on. Mmmm. And Wally darling, you can use my face for your chair anytime you like!) For some reason, they moved the setting back in time 160 years, to the 1840s, except for the first shot, when Harry and some runway model who calls herself Antonia arrive in London in 1894. (Well, they sail in under Tower Bridge in the opening scene, which wasn't built until 1894, 50 years after the rest of the movie. I guess they were still traveling backwards in time then.) Harry has come for revenge against Severus Snape for fag-bashing Fumblewhore to death, even though that story hasn't been filmed yet. Snape and Wormtail are hiding out from Harry in 1840, Snape working as a Potions Judge, while Wormtail works as a Beetle, an odd combination of animals, even for him. And he's gone back 120 years too far to hide out as a Beatle anyway. (I assume he's pretending to be Ringo, judging by his appearance, and his "Singing". He drums well on Little Antonia.)

Harry teams up with Bellatrix Lovett, a former Death-Eatartrix. It becomes clear that the term Death Eater originally came from folks eating her scrummy Soylent Green Pies, which are death in a crust. Yum! More important, she advocates giving entire bottles of gin to small children, proving that she has reformed from her evil ways, and is now a saint! She gets Little Toby drunk right up front, right after he escapes from Borat, who appears in this movie without underwear, in a costume which proves to all that Borat, like the musical score, is cut. If only he were attractive, it would be a great look. I think the real reason Bellatrix gets Toby sloshed is because he's by far the best singer in the cast, and makes her sound bad every time he starts warbling. (Actually, she makes herself sound bad every time she starts warbling, by warbling.)

Anyway, Harry eventually gets his revenge on Judge Snape, ironically turning his old potions master into a potion himself; not, I imagine, a grooming potion.

Of course, Harry's success with his Snape Potion gets him all carried away. He turns Scabbers, aka Wormtail, aka Peter Pettigrew, aka Beatle Ringo, into ratatouille, thus allowing him to finally settle on a species. He roasts Bellatrix, and even serves up Ron Weasley and that insufferable Know-It-All Grainger. I'll pass on having any of her, thanks. I always found her hard to swallow.

Meanwhile, Little Antonia, the girl who sailed into London's past with Harry, forms a passionate lesbian attachment for Joanna, a dishrag she never meets. As everyone knows, lesbians are like pigeons; they mate for life. What do you call "Living Together for 20 Years"? "A lesbian first date." So although Joanna and Antonia never meet, they fall deeply in love, and would swear eternal fealty with each other forever if only they ever got to speak or sing two words to each other. Harry almost tries to shave Joanna, despite her being a female, a natural mistake easily made with many lesbians.

Well, eventually everyone gets raspberry jam and cherry soda all over themselves. Harry has problems fixing his recliner easy chair, and Mrs. Lovett's Soylent Green Pies are a raging success. The faculty of Hogwarts is appalled. I would have been appalled myself, but I was enjoying a drink with Vodkamort, The Drunk Lord, and some Fermentors. I now have to wait for Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Queen, next fall.

But at least Little Orphan Harry Potter has finally found his long-lost sister, who is definitely a witch!

Soylent Green pie anyone?

Cheers darlings.

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