Seattle & Harry Potter VI

Downtown Seattle

This last weekend, Ruth and I took a weekend vacation to Seattle to check it out (kindof). It was a lot of fun. Saturday morning we started out by going to Pike’s Place Market and strolling though to see the produce, seafood, and wares of the Seattle market. after this we strolled along the piers and then took the monorail to the Space Needle where we had lunch in the rotating restaurant. It was awesome! The above picture was taken in between bites of gourmet Dungeoness Crab Mac & Cheese.

After lunch we continued our exploration of the city, and took a tour of the Underground of Seattle, where we saw some cool stuff and learned a little about the history of Seattle. After that, dinner and a movie, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. More on that later.

The next morning, we had Starbucks from the original Starbucks location. And then we went explored a bit more. Then we had Iver’s fish & chips on the pier. After that we went on a two hour boat tour of Union Lake, and the locks, Puget sound, and Seattle Harbor. A great time for sure. All in all, it was really fun and warrants a return trip.

So finally, we saw Harry Potter VI. I liked it, but having already read the books it was very hard to love it. I understand that to make a film watchable, it has to be no longer than a certain length and include material that will keep the audience interested. Unfortunately, this story in movie version didn’t translate very well. The movie definitely included important highlights… but lacked in substance. A lot of character was missing, and a major scene that I, for one, was looking forward to with great anticipation… the battle in the castle and courtyard. I sincerely hope that they are able to do a much better job with the final book (two movies)!

Now the score. Nicholas Hooper is back for this installment, and hate me if you want to, but i love this score. The choral work he does for the cue “In Noctem” and just the character of the score in general are magnificent. I wonder why? Did he read all of the negative reviews he recieved for his first Harry Potter attempt? I don’t know… but it must be tough going against the master (John Williams)!

So in listening to the score i’ve been trying to pinpoint what about it makes me like it so much and i think i’ve figured it out. In addition to the choral work (which is always a weak spot for me because i love it so much) there are a lot of techniques in here that sound like what Thomas Newman (Lemony Snickets, Shawshank Redemption, Wall-E) would have done. There’s even a little bit of Giacchino minimalism thrown in for good measure.

The music, overall, worked really well for me in the film. I think one of the best cues that Hooper was able to pull off was when Hermione was crying alone in the stairwell. On the CD it is the track called “Harry & Hermione.” Its very interesting to me that when I listen to the music now (without the film) the track sounds fine but is missing some of the muscle that it had in the film when the shot flowed to Draco. Perhaps it was the mix for the film, or just the combination of the pictures with the music that made my mind love it… I don’t know.

Now onto the death scene. When it began, I felt very disappointed. Just like Hooper’s score for HP5, it didn’t meet my expectations of how I wanted my emotions to be pushed. This is how I felt here too. But when everyone in the courtyard at Hogwart’s lifted their wands into the air, Hooper really ramped up the music, and the cue actually transformed into something I wanted for that moment, and although it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, it was better than i know it could have been without that. Confused?

Seattle Harbor

This picture is of downtown Seattle and also Mt. Rainier.

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