Saturday, November 19, 2005

A positive Harry Potter review that rambles on about liquid. And humanity.

As is customary in circles of delightful madness, I shall begin by making a terribly odd statement: For a film with the word “Fire,” in its title, it certainly is wet. Characters spend the majority of the film covered in some form of liquid or another, be it the water in the lake or the mist in the air, the sweat on their brows or the tears in their eyes.

Or the blood that runs through their veins, suddenly dripping down their fingers.

It is in this, let us call it ‘tenacious moistness,’ that this film differs from its predecessors, the liquid dripping off of the celluloid with an intensity that few family films shall ever even dream of possessing. It is because of this liquid, in point of fact, that this film is far greater than any of those that have preceded it.

The reason for this is simple: It strips away that which is glamorous. Water is that which smothers us with its depths, drowns our homes with its terrible wrath, even stings our eyes with its intensity as we cry away the simplest notions of sadness. It has power. The water washes away the calm and the collected, giving us instead the sweat that streams down foreheads, blinding us as we run through a terrible maze that hopes it may swallow us whole. The water covers us, filling our lungs as we try to do nothing more than to drag our friends from its depths. We, us, the people in the theatre, become the people who suffer the blood, the sweat, the tears.

The meaning. It is within that meaning that we often find that which we are looking for in film, the point of it all, and at the very same time, we are given…beauty.

The beauty of a deep mist that swirls throughout the air, which only serves to conceal the thundering wingspan of a Hungarian Horntail that wishes for nothing other than to taste the soft meat of your face. The beauty of droplets that shimmer as a grand ship explodes from beneath the surface, a torrential downpour of sensation that catches every beam of light and sends it where it belongs, right into our eyes, right into our minds. The sheer beautiful horror of a birth, the birth of something that those who know had hoped would never occur again.

The film does not always give us what we want. It gives us our vistas, yes, our soaring score, and our moments where heroism stands forth. Where the man of the hour is stalwart and true. But it gives us other things as well. It gives us terror, it gives us pain. It gives us scared eyes and darkness slithering about underneath all things. It gives us death.

Yes, death. Those who have read these tales before, know what’s to come, where things are going, and yes, those who will die. But the death here isn’t glamorous. It exists as death should, as something cold, immediate, and painful. We have no prolonged speech from dying lips, no sweet kisses passed to lovers with the quick, forced breath of those about to go. People die. Things occur, the death lost beneath the need of the moment. And then the moment comes.

Where the true horror comes through, from the anguished cry of those who loved. Those who still love. No sudden sweeping cranes to the sky, no searing violins stabbing our hearts with their motion and missing the point in the meantime. No glamour. No real reason. Just sadness. Just respect.

Respect for people. Respect for the intelligence of those watching, for those who loved the source, and for those who simply love to catch a flick on a Friday night. This film is for people, first and foremost.

For those who love the words, the words from which it came, that which need be, is. Unlike the previous film, which despite dazzling us with lovely visuals, lost any semblance of credibility as far as writing was concerned. Key story elements went missing, tremendously powerful turning points were underwritten to the point of farce, and characters that needed development simply didn’t receive it, for better, or for worse. Worse.

In this case, the fat has been cut. We have what need, even if we don’t necessarily have what we want. We have laughter, we have romance, we have strained smiles plastered on the faces of those who are truly uncomfortable. We have old friendships being tested, and new friendships being forged, culminating in a tremendous celebration of brotherhood that matters a great deal in this day and age.

As a world, as a people, we have friends. We forget this sometimes, oftentimes, as we lose ourselves within our hate and our misguided need for deceit. We must remember. Remember the blood, the sweat, the tears. Remember the beauty. Remember the fear. Remember the meaning Remember the things that belong to us. All of us. It doesn’t matter if it’s the fictitious people locked within that world seeping with tremendous liquid, or the real people, outside the frame, who talk and laugh and love. We belong to it. Together.

It doesn’t matter if that’s what was intended by those involved. It is in there. All you have to do is look.

Personally, I suggest that you do.

And don’t forget to bring a towel.

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