Movies are fun, but they also exert an inordinate amount of influence over our day to day lives. People accept what they see on TV and in movies as depictions of reality. Fiction has actually altered our reality in some dangerous ways. Here’s a look at a few ways in which Hollywood is trying to kill us.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe marks a remarkable cinematic achievement. Despite a few missteps, the movies accomplished some amazingly in-depth storytelling, stringing together almost two dozen films to tell the stories of dozens of different characters. And for the most part, those characters got a reasonably satisfying conclusion by the end of Avengers: Endgame.
Of course, with so many different characters, the films couldn’t present everybody’s story in a satisfying manner. For example, let’s look at the Hulk. He has one of the longest characters arcs of all the Avengers and changes more than anybody…but none of the interesting stuff happens on-screen.
Like its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban marked a potentially perilous place for the film franchise. Chris Columbus chose not to return as director. Richard Harris, who had played a perfect Dumbledore, died before filming began. A new director, a new cast, and a new visual style could have sunk the franchise.
Luckily, the third film of the series made very few missteps. While the style was definitely different from its predecessors, audiences largely enjoyed the changes. This not only turned Prisoner of Azkaban into a success, but laid the groundwork to allow new directors to make each future installment their own.
Yes, the Harry Potter movies seemed to turn every potential problem into a resounding victory. And that’s good – otherwise these nitpicks would seem mean-spirited rather than an opportunity to poke fun at a pretty solid film.
After the smashing success of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the franchise needed a strong follow-up. Failure to keep the momentum could have caused the film series to stumble, as happened with Disney’s ill-fated attempt to adapt all seven Chronicles of Narnia. Fortunately, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets did the job well.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets provided a strong second chapter that continued the trend of staying mostly true to the novels that served as source material. It showed that Warner Brothers had struck gold with the casting of Daniel Radcliffe and demonstrated the progressively darker tone that sequels would take.
It also has several things that make me scrunch up my face and go, “Huh?” So, as with its predecessor, I’m going to launch into a series of nitpicks about this film.
In a modern-day world where the vampire myth has been done to death in spin-offs and variants, one of the best parallels we have to the classic monsters found in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and John Polidori’s The Vampyre is the gentlemanly serial killer Hannibal Lecter, originally created by Thomas Harris and aptly played on the screen by Anthony Hopkins.
For most people, the 1925 adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera is the first time Gaston Leroux’s novel reached the big screen. While a Russian film based on the novel did come out in 1916, it is now a historical footnote as no copies of that movie survived to the modern era. Thus, for our discussion of The Phantom of the Opera and its many adaptations, we have to skip over the first one and go right to the 1925 silent film starring Lon Chaney.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for we dumb Americans) is my favorite film from the Harry Potter series that I’ve seen because it’s the story that feels the most like an introduction to a magical world. Like all the films, it does a pretty good job of adapting J.K. Rowling’s original work and features an amazing cast that not only introduced the world to the likes of Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson but also included such great stars as Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, and more. It’s a fun time and a good movie, so now I’m going to spend some time going on about nitpicky details.