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Vault-emort: Harry Potter and the Disney Vault: Won’t Somebody Think of the Children?

I’ve known about the “Disney Vault” ever since I started buying DVDs, well over a decade ago. It’s the reason why you can’t simply go into a movie shop and ask for a copy of every Disney movie, as the company regulates the titles coming in and out of release on various home entertainment platforms at any given moment, giving consumers only the smallest window of opportunity to pick up a given childhood classic before snatching it away for another six or seven years. While I have some serious problems with the practice, it’s a shrewd economic move, and I always wondered why Disney were the only studio to really do it.

Well, Warner Brothers recently announced that they’d be doing something similar, pulling the theatrical versions of the Harry Potter films from DVD and blu ray on the 29th December 2011. That leaves movie fans with only forty-eight days in which to pick up their copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II. I suppose this sort of development was inevitable, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Will a lot of film fans feel a bit hallowed by the news?

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The Cautiously Conservative Cost of Film-Making In the Recession…

When it first became clear that we were in for a long recession, there was a lot of fear about what that would mean for cinema. With less money to go around, and the ever-present fear of financial disappoint, a lot of people speculated that it would lead to a serious downturn in the production and distribution of “indie” movies by the major studios, a concern validated by the closing of various speciality divisions within major studios. While it has undoubtedly gotten significantly harder to produce and sell independent film, one look at last year’s Best Picture nominees suggest that these little gems are doing relatively okay – with films as provocative as Black Swan, as alternative as The Kids Are All Right and as gritty as Winter’s Bone all making the cut. Still, if the indie apocalypse that was foretold hasn’t come to pass, I do have to wonder what the cinematic cost of the current economic climate might be.

Hollywood's taken the occasional slap on the wrist over the past few years...

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Pottering Away: Reflections on the Harry Potter franchise…

It’s quite strange, considering a movie series as opposed to its independent constituent elements. It seems like in taking in the broad tapestry of adventure allows the viewer a completely different appreciation for the story being told, especially when measured against considering each individual film on its own terms. With the Harry Potter series finally ending, I had an excuse to go back and dig through the old DVDs, watching each and every instalment in the series as a means of saying one final goodbye. However, despite the fact that some of the films may have been less impressive than others, or the fact that the plots didn’t always flow consistently from one film to the next, I still think that the eight films taken in their totality represent a rather wonderful accomplishment for all involved.

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Non-Review Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone

So, here we are, back at the beginning. The first movie in the eight-movie cycle about the boy wizard with the distinctive glasses. Harry Potter – “the boy who lived”, as he is described – and his eventful six-year stay at Hogwarts, with one final story to wrap it all up. To be honest, the first movie does benefit a lot from the movies that followed, giving the film a lot of retroactive weight as you can see the plot threads thrown out and suggested to be developed later – the countless little set-ups deployed by Rowling to pay off down the line. Which is handy, I suppose, because otherwise the instalment feels just a little bit too slow and convoluted for its own good.

The series has a bit of difficulty getting off the ground...

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Non-Review Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince represents a fairly significant improvement in quality from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It seems the movie franchise is finally getting a handle on this sort of serialised story-telling, as the movie serves more as a collection of sub-plots leading into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows than it does as a story in its own right. However, there’s a sense that the series is getting a bit better at balancing all the competing demands for screentime, and it even manages to explain the title mystery, albeit in a slightly off-hand manner (almost as an after-thought).

Storm clouds are gathering over Hogwarts...

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Non-Review Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Truth be told, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has a lot of problems. It’s structurally the weakest of the films, existing as a bridge between what came before and what follows – but ultimately feels like treading water. One gets the sense that the ruthless editing that made Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire work so well was sorely missing here. It literally feels more like a collection of subplots rather than a movie in its own right. And then there’s the ending, which is ridiculously weak, but also somewhat undermines the threat the last film spent so long building up.

It's not a knock-out success...

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Non-Review Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?”

– Hermoine, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Truth be told, before I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was easily my favourite instalment of the series. It’s the perfect balance between the lighter start of the series and the much darker end of it, straddling the two distinct tones with ease, and managing to walk the line between it’s under-plotted predecessors and over-plotted successors. It’s still not quite perfect, but it genuinely feels like things are changing and world is lot more vast than the earlier films had led us to believe.

The series is finally firing on all cylinders...

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