Love crappy movies but are too ashamed to admit it? Are you a big Rob Schneider fan but you're tired of being burned? Not sure if you want to waste your money on the same old movie? That's why you have Joe.
Joe Loves Crappy Movies is by Joseph Dunn. Joe willingly goes to see the very worst that Hollywood has to offer. Whenever a crappy movie comes out Joe will be there to see it, make fun of it, and actually review it. Nothing is safe, and nothing is sacred. From the big budget action disasters to the low brow fart based comedies, to anything starring Martin Lawrence? Joe will tear it apart.
With each entry you'll get not only a comic poking fun at the movie, but also a detailed review. Joe's not educated in film or cinematography or acting, he's just a guy that draws comics and likes movies. So if you're looking for the everyman perspective and a little joke in comic form... you're in the right place.
Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris
Directed by: Chris Columbus
The following contains spoilers for the 3 current Harry Potter movies.
I came in late to the Harry Potter game. When The Sorcerer's Stone came out in the fall of 2001 I had never read any of the books (still haven't) and because it was based on a children's series I didn't even bother to see it in the theater. I was a poor student and going to the movies was as expensive then as it is now. I just couldn't see spending my dinner cash on a kid's movie.
By the following summer I did see it on tape and I learned what a lot of people already knew, which is that it's more then just a silly kid's movie. It's a rich, complete adventure that, as corny as it sounds, is fun for all ages.
With or without my student dollars the movie was a huge hit, breaking records, and insuring sequels in its opening weekend. It was a big movie that had big success. I've rewatched it in hopes of pinpointing what about it makes it better then your averages kids fare. It's definitely got a lot going for it. Great story, big effects, a well-executed mystery? so, through analyzing it I questioned if it was a kid's movie at all.
I mean, forget the movie is two and a half hours long (a lethal amount of time to keep a child in one seat), and let's just take a look at the story. There's a lot of stuff going on that could easily float over the kid's heads. Maybe I'm not giving them enough credit, but I watched the movie 20 minutes ago, and I'm not even sure I could tell you exactly why Voldemort wanted the stone for.
The answer is immortality, but it's more complicated then it sounds.
The plot and the way it's developed and revealed is very sophisticated. Obviously this movie wasn't made BY children, but a story this well thought out is not usually FOR children. On the surface it's just a kid at school, but it's really a completely realized brilliantly told mystery. A simple slow set up with constant hints and reminders setting up a completely believable big reveal at the end.
The bad guy ends up being professor Quirrell. Knowing that going in it's interesting to see the way he's used. Set up as a stuttering buffoon and coward, almost forgettable, except that he's constantly popping up. It's brilliant in that you never suspect him but you're never given a true reason forget him. He's always around.
You can thank setting up Snape as the scapegoat for that. He's the best Potter character in that he will always be suspected of evil, even though he really is one of the good guys. He just doesn't play the games. He doesn't buy into the Potter celebrity crap. He even seems a little bitter, and that just makes him look more and more like the villain. He's a great use of distraction.
The best moment of the mystery I think is the Quidditch match. There's a lot of nothing that happens in that scene but when Harry's broom goes haywire and Snape is seen casting a spell, your mind starts asking the questions. Snape is casting a spell so it must be him, right? But who was it that gave him the broom in the first place? Of course if you look at the screen Quirrell is casting a spell too. It's great because there's so much going on attached to this game, and it really makes Quidditch part of the movie. Without this little interaction the entire 30 minutes would have felt like a tacked on moment. Just something cool to look at without any relevant relation to the rest of the story.
It just goes to show that in a good mystery everything means something.
The movie is rated PG with a warning that reads "Some scary moments and mild language". I didn't notice the language but the scary is there. How are kids not freaked out by this? Did you see the size of Fluffy the 3-headed dog? The whole concept of a unicorn vampire is going haunt me for a couple of days.
Seriously though, this stuff is tame compared to the spiders in Chamber and the reaper things in Azkaban. And that's good. Test your kids out on this and then move them up to the really freaky stuff. Before you know it they'll be ready for the Exorcist
The effects are good? kind of. It's weird. Simple stuff looks outstanding, and the sets costumes and background are all outstanding, but when they get too big with the effects, something is not quite right. There are three major points for me. Fluffy the guard dog, the Troll, and the centaur in the forest. All three technically look really great, but when matched into the environment something goes wrong. I've looked at it as closely as I can but I can't figure it out. Lighting is fine, texture is good, but something is off. They look like really really nice cartoons. Cartoons aren't good enough though, it just needs to be a better match.
The Troll gets knocked out and there are a couple of close-ups on his face and head. There he looks great because they made a big puppet to use. Looked fantastic. I just want to give the credit where it's due.
There are a couple other questionable CGI moments with humans when they get into the action. Either on the broom or when Harry jumps on the trolls back it totally switches into video game mode. You know what I'm talking about, like when Neo is fighting all the agent Smith's in Reloaded. It looks awesome, but it looks fake. The sad thing is that if it were a cinema to a video game it would be incredible. It's the difference between something created strictly as CGI, and something that's supposed to represent reality.
Seriously though these CGI nit picks hardly affect the quality of the film. All the magic and excitement the story provides are still there. And the effects are good enough to startle you (in a good way), but not so bad you're taken out of the moment.
As a proper introduction to Harry Potter and the world he lives in, this movie is near perfect. It's thoughtful, and sweet, and exciting. So many people, environments and ideas are introduced in this movie that all have greater importance down the road. How they're able to include it all is amazing, and having seen the other movies will not take away from this movie at all, but make you appreciate these little introductions even more.
Movie: 8 out of 10
So it does work for kids and adults. Sure it's complicated and involved, but it's this big grand adventure that everyone can get excited about. That's the beauty of it. The effects are good (enough) but really it's the story that will win you over. Even as hour 2 begins there are enough ideas to keep you interested, and the time and care taken to bring those ideas to life is very clear. I can see why people freak out over this franchise.
The standard version is a 2-disk set. On the first disk with the movie you'll get the theatrical teaser and full trailer as well as a listing of the cast and crew. That listing basically tells you what they did on the movie but little else. I always enjoy it when you can select an actor and see what they'd done before. Sure it's easier to look up on line, but what they have here is easier to get of the back of the box then the DVD itself.
For the kind of movie this is the DVD could be called bare bones, but there's enough there to keep you busy for an hour or so. Self guided tours of the school with closer looks at the entire cast. They had some fun setting up the interface. It doesn't look great but navigating through it was fun. For instance you couldn't explore the classrooms without first buying a wand from Diagon Alley. And you couldn't buy a wand without going to the bank to make a withdrawal. And you couldn't make a withdrawal without finding the hidden key first. Stuff like that. It's cute.
There's an interview section on Disk 2 with a half hour special interviewing the makers of the film. As brief as it is, it's nice to hear their thoughts on the process and the finished product, as well as a sneak peek at what's to come in Chamber of Secrets.
Well for a movie like this there should be an endless amount of special features (think Lord of the Rings extended addition), and it's the sort of thing you can expect when a full set of the 7 movies is released at the completion of the series. But what really surprised me to not find was a commentary. Nothing from the director, the stars, or any of the crew. This movie could easily yield 3 or 4 commentaries worth listening to. I for one would love to know what they were thinking during the process.
Also some sort of "Book to Movie" featurette chronicling the process of editing down the book for the screen version. We all know that there was a ton of stuff cut out. Some interviews with producers, directors and Rowling herself would have been sweet. That's the sort of behind the scenes stuff I'm really interested in.
DVD: 4 out of 10
Honestly a commentary would have made it worthy to me. What they have is nice, but not nearly enough.
DVD Worthy: Only to the die hard fans that need to watch it often. Honestly this thing is on ABC 3 or 4 times a year. Are people really that hard up to watch the first Harry Potter movie? It really is a great movie but the best thing it did was set up the franchise. We've got the back-story, now we can enjoy the rest of the story.
Today's special incentive shows Malfoy reaction to the last minute points.
And for the rest of the week I'll be taking a closer look at all of the Harry Potter movies leading up to the review of The Goblet of Fire on Friday. Until now, get ready for The Chamber of Secrets, and go check out the new design of the Digital Pimp home page. Thanks!
Joe – The creator of the strip who has embraced giving crappy movies the chance they deserve. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.
First Appearance - The Introduction
Yeo – Yeo is Joe’s wife and often the voice of reason in the strip. Having her act rational allows the rest of the cast to embrace being in a comic strip which primarily involves randomly punching people, interacting with fictional characters and talking about boobs. Yeo is smart, beautiful and way too good for Joe. Don’t tip her off.
First Appearance - Fever Pitch
Irv – Joe’s movie-going sidekick who’s always down for watching Jason Statham crescent moon kick some thug through a plate glass window and getting some drinks before after and during a Vin Diesel movie. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.
First Appearance - Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior
Agent 337 George Jones – A government Agent that took over for Joe after he was bad-mouthing President Bush in the V for Vendetta strip. George ran the show for over a month bring a much needed sense of patriotism and justice to both the strips and reviews. He eventually got too attached to his work, empathizing with Joe’s plight to give crappy movies a fair shake. In a way he came to love crappy movies as well and was pushed out of the position. He spiraled out of control and ended up in prison. His adventures will be told in the limited series JLCM Presents: 337 Locked Up which is set to début Christmas of 09.
First Appearance - V for Vendetta
Other Notable Appearances: Stay Alive, Ice age 2, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Slither, Here Comes Guest week, Let’s Go To Prison
Leonidas – The former king of Sparta who has traveled into the future and is having trouble coping with the modern times. Yelling loudly and kicking people into giant holes doesn’t really work the same way it did in the olden days. As time as gone by he’s adjusted but it’s a safe bet that he’s always one bad message away from throwing a spear through someone.
First Appearance - 300
Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Strip# 300, The Golden Compass, Rambo, Untraceable, The Ladies of Max Paybe
Palpatine – Former Senator, Emperor of the Galactic Empire, Sith Lord... He shows up in the Joe Loves Crappy movies galaxy on occasion to let people know that they’re being stupid. No one’s really sure how he shows up in this universe but chances are it breaks all kinds of copywrite laws.
First Appearance - Episode III: The Dark Side
Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Night Watch, Saw 3, Are We Done Yet
Slow Billy – Billy is a sweet kid but he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. If you’re watching him for the day be prepared to explain to him the plot of the movie or how popcorn works or, not so much where babies come from, but what babies are. He’s a complete moron.
First Appearance - Four Brothers
Other Notable Appearances: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Code, Vantage Point, Journey to the Center of the Earth
Kyle the Movie Snob – Be careful what fun facts about movies you tell your friends at a friendly gathering or in line for the latest blockbuster, because if you’re even slightly wrong, Kyle will be more than happy to let you know. He usually gets what’s coming to him though. Poor guy has cracked three ribs since joining the JLCM cast.
First Appearance - Ultraviolet
Other Notable Appearances: 16 Blocks, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers, Journey to the Center of the Earth
Jean-Luc Picard – Another lawsuit waiting to happen is Jean Luc Picard who, towards the end of the strip’s first year, became the go-to background character. If there was ever a seat to fill or a random person to place wandering around in the background, nine times out of ten it was Picard. While Picard has crossed paths with Irv he and Joe have never met. Perhaps they will some day but for now just can an eye on the background.
First Appearance - The Producers
Other Notable Appearances: I’m not telling you, that’s no fun. It’ like Where’s Waldo – go find him!
Ice Cream Sandwich – Delicious and… deadly? Usually when you see someone eating an Ice Cream sandwich, someone else is experiencing a substantial amount of pain. Still, how nice is an ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day?
First Appearance - Saw IV
Other Notable Appearances: Bee Movie, Run Fatboy Run, Saw V