Harry Potter – The Journey Commences

Harry first act of bravery against Voldemort!

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The story starts with Harry living with the Dursley’s but when Harry and Dudley turn eleven strange things start to happen. Harry finds out who he actually is and how his parents died. This all happens when a giant called Hagrid comes to their shack on Harry’s eleventh birthday and tells him he is a W-I-Z-A-R-D! What mystical things will happen next?

Looking back at this film just reminds me of my own childhood and of cute how we all were when we were young. This film has a profound effect on all of us because when you look back at it, after having watched all the films that followed up to the last film, you can see thousands of clues that are put in there that link to the final film in the series. 

The plot is amazingly packed with introductions to this new world and how it works. The plot also shows us that bravery is a characteristic which we should all have and what it means to be brave. It shows the difference between the concepts of good and evil and of what they mean. 

Fluffy must be the cutiest name for a dog, but when you actually see Fluffy, he is not THAT cute – with three heads and ready to attack. Fluffy is probably the wrong name for it, Hagrid! This amazing three-headed dog is a beast that would surely scare even those without a dog phobia! Fluffy looks very much like the Greek mythological beast known as Cerberus and is in fact tamed in the same way as Cerberus. 

The Mirror of Erised is an interesting concept because as humans we want many things but knowing what our deepest desires are can be difficult because the amount of things we want. For Harry the Mirror of Erised is a chance to dream of what his parents were like and to look at them for hours. But when Dumbledore finds Harry there in front of the mirror, Harry learns the true purpose of the mirror and of the danger of losing oneself in the mirror, not knowing the difference between reality and fantasy

This film marked a great start to a whole new world for children from the ages of 5–16 to immerse themselves in and to enjoy the innocence of the characters. 

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings

Harry Potter – The Second Instalment

This is by far the most adventurous and thrilling tale of Harry’s life.


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It starts with Harry finding a house elf called Doby in his bedroom on the same day that Mr Dursely was having a man and his wife come around who would change his career for the better. Doby warns Harry not to go back to Hogwarts but Harry doesn’t listen, so Doby decides to drop a cake over one of the guests. Harry still doesn’t listen and returns to Hogwarts but strange and threatening things start to happen before and after they get to Hogwarts.

This film introduces the legend of the Chamber of Secrets and the monster that lies within. A chamber is known as a place of secrecy and security which is why it is such a great concept to use for the story. The chamber represents the house Slytherin; it has snake heads all the way up to the centre of the chamber. The production designer, Stuart Craig, created the chamber fantastically because it looked both mysterious and scary. 

The monster that lies within the chamber is called a Basilisk, it is a huge snake that kills with its eyes or if you see its reflection, it only petrifies you. The only time you see the Basilisk is at the end which keeps the audience wondering what it looks like and comes as a great surprise at the end of the film when you see the most terrifying snake you could ever imagine!

In this film you are introduced to Doby who to me is the sweetest but most troublesome character I have ever seen. He is continuously trying to save Harry’s life but nearly every time he is near to killing Harry instead. I would love to have a Doby in my life because their is something so loveable and interesting about him with his big endearing eyes.  

The flying and invisible car is introduced in this film; it gets them seriously in trouble with Professor Snape but it does rescue them from the spiders. The concept of the car still amazes me because it is magical and in a way is considered to have a mind of its own. We usually say this when the our cars decide to break down but this car actually does have a mind of its own because it ejects people if it wants to!

We are introduced to Moaning Myrtle who plays a major role in the story of the chamber of secrets. She helps Harry along his journey to kill Voldemort but awkwardly she has a crush on Harry. She is a very funny character because, as you can imagine from her name, she moans a lot. The reason the crush is awkward is because she is a GHOST!

This film keeps you strapped to your seat wondering what is going to happen next and whether or not they can solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets!

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings

Films – The True American Spirit Through WW2

Captain America is the all American spirit rolled into one big hulky man.

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Captain America: The First Avenger is a film about one little man’s dream of being in the army in the early 1940s in America to fight against the Nazis. He tries many times to get in but with a different name each time and on the last try he is spotted by a man from the secret Project Rebirth. This man, Dr. Erksine, fulfils his dreams by recruiting him for the Project. But what will the doctor do with him next?

I went to see it in 3D which is becoming a regular bonus feature of nearly every film that comes out; I must say some are doing good job of it but some are not. I personally think that the 3D effect was not used enough and not to its full potiental. For instance, there were a lot of explosions in the film and they didn’t take the 3D opportunity of having bits of rubble flying out of the screen at the audience, which would have made it much more effective. There were loads of other opportunities to use the 3D but they didn’t, which was disappointing.

However, I loved the plot because it was simple yet effectively gripping. They did this by not having a very over dramatic love story but it was a subtle one that they only gave you hints of throughout the film and it was not until right at the end when they had their first kiss…

My favourite character was Peggy Carter because she was a hard and tough women that was not afraid to take a punch but also had a soft and gentle side. I think what made me like her so much is because she is the type of woman that all women want to be. I liked the concept that Steve was weak because it gives the film a moral, which is that no matter what size you are, you can always fight for what you believe in.

The film has the great combination of war and superheroes, how they mix together well to fight off evil, but also how superheroes can be used to increase evil and how the supernatural can create supoerheroes. There are a lot of elements of science fiction in the film, for example the enemy and its innovative weapons, which makes it a film for not just comic fans but also sci-fi fans. Captain America was originally a comic book hero who appeared in the 1940s. 

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings

Harry Potter – The Third Instalment

Sirius Black: is he evil or is he good?

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The story starts with Harry at the Dursley’s house while Aunt Marge is visiting, which always includes her insulting Harry. Finally Harry erupts but so does Aunt Marge – she erupts into an ever-increasingly fatter version of herself until she floats like a balloon all around Surrey.

After this Harry leaves. He has a mysterious encounter with a dog but before you know it, the Night Bus appears from nowhere and suddenly he experiencing the extremely wild driving of a London Red Double-decker bus driver. He ‘drives’ him to Leaky Cauldron to meet the Minister of Magic and then he has a chat with Mr Weasley who tells him how dangerous Sirius Black is.

This film marks the start of a new Dumbledore, after the sad death of Richard Harris, who did a fantastic job of playing a gentle and intelligent Dumbledore. The new Dumbledore is played by Michael Gambon, makes Dumbledore slightly Irish and slightly mad but in a sweet way. He also comes across as firm and strong in his beliefs.

We are introduced to the Dementors whose form was challenging to create because no one knows what they look like under their cloaks or how they move, so it’s difficult to get a clear picture of them. The director Alfonso Cauron did an amazing job of putting the description from the book into the film. He had a very original approach because he started with puppetry and not visual effects. As puppets are difficult to move around a lot so, he put them into water which gave them that eiree aspect. He interprets the Dementors as laid back creatures in a slow but suspenseful way. The fact that we never see what is behind the cloak is mysterious and terrifying because it leaves your imagination running wild with ideas. The idea of the Dementors encompasses a nightmare that is mysterious, unkown and horrific.

The Hippogriff: Buckbeak is an amazing hybrid creature which has very human qualities to it, for example you have to treat it with respect or it will unleash its vicousness on you, as Malfoy soon finds out. It cares for others as most humans do, which comes in useful to Harry and Hermione. The film-makers actually created the creature from scratch, so the actors could have something to relate to. They show you exactly how the creature was made on the extras. It was not only made as a prop but also on CGI, which was very interesting to see how they initially created a soft, playful puppy-like personality for it, but then the director decided to make the Hippogriff into a stroppy teenager. 

Overall this is my favourite film because there are so many new elements introduced, for example Buckbeak and the Dementors. There is also a depth to the story which makes it compelling to watch, and so many everyday situations that people can relate to.

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings