What The Film!? – The Harry Potter Franchise (Part 3 of 4)

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What The Film!? is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the general fuckery Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.

If you know a film with major plot holes or those that make you scratch your eyes out, tell us! Email utgjames@gmail.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.

Part Two!

It’s the exciting continuation of our editorials on the long-running/hella-crazy-successful Harry Potter franchise. Two movies a week, for four weeks. Normally we’d just kind of say that all plot holes/inconsistencies/problems can be shrugged off by saying “I don’t know, magic?” but us here at Under The Gun Review can’t leave well enough alone and want to ruin it for everyone. Us included. This was our childhood too, you know.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Here we are, five movies in. For the most part, these movies have been getting better with each entry. Each story seems to get more defined, well executed, and more intense. The stories grow up as the characters in them grow up, which is also what happens in the books. It makes sense, as the more you do something, the better you get. Except when you use a time machine as a device and then never reference it ever again. Because that was stupid.

Order of the Phoenix opens with Harry being teased by his cousin Dudley and his wannabe G-Unit friends. This conflict doesn’t last long, as Dementors show up to crash the party. Harry defends himself by first stabbing a Dementor with his wand before going through with the Patronus Charm. Holy shit. You can just stab them with the wand to get them to leave you alone? That makes these things go from “scary” to “very easy to hurt”. Just stab stab stab.

He returns to Hogwarts to find that Dolores Umbridge has taken over as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Dolores is a high ranking Ministry of Magic official who is equal parts crazy and hateful. I understand that Voldermort is supposed to be the end-all-be-all antagonist, but no character in this franchise makes my blood boil harder than her. She’s a great character, she’s one of those that you love to hate and was cast and acted perfectly. At one point, she states “Progress for the sake of progress is to be discouraged”, making you wonder if she’s the type of person who hates feminism because she wanted to be a housewife and lounge about her entire life.

“Can we make the rest rooms at Hogwarts segregated by race too?”

Dolores hates Harry with a passion and is the reason why she happens to be there. She is refusing to believe that Voldermort is returning and feels that Harry’s insistence could cause panic (or she’s a Death Eater). In her defense, it makes sense, as Harry’s word is the only real evidence they have that Voldermort is back. To prove how confident she is in knowing that Voldermort isn’t coming back, she refuses to teach her class anything practical. No magic is taught, she speaks of theories and stories, but there is no lessons or anything tangible the students can take from this. Her heart may be in the right place, but her actions make you want to stab that heart so very very badly.

As Dolores slowly starts gaining control and ground over the school, Harry starts training a real Defense class himself in secret (much to Dolores’ chagrin). After having a vision of Ron’s father being attacked at the Ministry of Magic, Snape decides to teach Harry how to not have his mind read, as the connection Harry and Voldermort share can become very dangerous. Similar to Dolores’ method of teaching, Snape tells him that he needs to not allow someone to read his mind. He immediately tries to read Harry’s mind without telling him how. Just immediately jumps into Harry’s mind and relive almost everything bad he’s ever had happen to him. It’s like the parent who throws their child into the pool to teach them how to swim without teaching it anything about how to swim.

It’s better to motivate with money, I suppose.

Eventually, Dolores gets her horrific comeuppance by being raped in the woods, and Harry discovers that the vision of Ron’s dad was a trap to lead them to “the prophecy”, which reveals how Voldermort was unable to kill Harry years prior. The prophecy explains that Harry (or Neville, pending on Harry’s survival) would be the one to defeat Voldermort.

The prophecy (and almost all the others) are destroyed during an action sequence that also has fan favorite Sirius’ death. Harry is devastated by this. So devastated that he seems to have forgotten that there was a time machine in another movie. That’s like the most powerful thing you have ever had. Use it, dude.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The sixth movie opens with Dumbledore taking Harry to an old decrepit house to meet up with Professor Slughorn in an attempt to get him to return to Hogwarts. This sequence has a lot of weirdness to it, including Dumbledore tasting the blood that drips from the ceiling onto Harry’s face and dialogue that makes it seem like Dumbledore and Slughorn are trying to out-senile each other.

Once back at Hogwarts, we witness Ron’s potential racism where he gets very upset when his sister is dating a black student. The most useless character gets more and more unlikable in every movie. I suppose this is important to the plot as the only way to make Harry look better (who doesn’t change over the course of the franchise) is by making Ron look worse. He becomes spiteful towards everyone. He lashes out at Hermione and Harry over their social situations loudly and basically has a tantrum for the first half of this movie.

Harry and Hermione end up getting Ron a spot on the Quidditch team by cheating at the try-outs. Hermione causes the clearly superior and better candidate for the position to mess up during practice with a magic spell and Harry gets caught putting a potion in his drink that makes him lucky in whatever he wants to do. The potion is illegal in competitions because whoever uses it will be successful in anything they want to do. Ron becomes great at Quidditch and becomes loved by everyone because of this potion (but not really).

You see, Harry never put the potion in Ron’s drink. He made sure to get caught doing it, so Ron would have the confidence to succeed. Ron, the incredibly useless friend finally has a use. He’s no longer a joke. But Harry never tells him it was his own skill that won the games, not the potion. He never tells him this. Ron has spent six years now seeing his two best friends be the best at absolutely everything while he fails at everything and when finally useful, Harry refuses to let him have that one moment. Ron continues to live under the impression he’s still useless. It’s the biggest dick movie Harry has the entire franchise, letting Ron believe he’s still awful at everything.

Dude, seriously.

At the same time, Harry is getting cockier and cockier over the fact that everyone is calling him “the chosen one”. In the last movie, he’s branded as a liar who’s saying Voldermort is back for attention and suddenly everyone is calling him “the chosen one” despite the fact that the prophecy was smashed in the last movie.

In one sequence, a group of Death Eaters attack the Weasley’s house, chasing them into the fields before destroying their home. The entire family looks upon the flames distraught. The problem with this is that the very first scene in this movie has Dumbledore fixing a house from destruction to perfect with one spell. You live in a magical world where you can fix anything almost instantly. Fire is not a big deal, this is meaningless. It’s like the Death Eaters forgot that magic existed.  The most impressive and critically undernoted part of this scene is when Fenrir literally swats a spell out of the way with his bare hands, a skill we have never seen before.

“Aww, magic? Fuck you. Don’t try that shit”

The biggest issues with this movie is that Harry’s story isn’t that interesting when compared to what Draco goes through in this movie. His has an internal conflict with himself and his duty, and he’s not entirely sure where he stands. His parents are the same way, giving the impression that while they are Death Eaters, maybe it’s not the life they wanted for Draco. I’d actually love to see this franchise from Draco’s eyes. Maybe it will make him come off as less of a Nazi (but probably not).

You can put all the flaws away, because on the surface, they don’t seem to matter. They built this world where all these idiosyncrasies exist and where senile characters can become powerful and it doesn’t matter because you’re invested. I’ve been pointing out the shallow errors in the same way that a douchebag would point out that clearly someone would know Clark Kent was Superman, I mean come on. These aren’t errors, they just how this universe works. Things that appear as plot holes or issues get explained or resolved down the line. It’s similar to how jokes in Arrested Development can be set up episodes (and sometimes seasons) in advance. Issues aren’t retcon’d, because it’s a living universe. It’s one of the most powerful and important book series in decades.

The very first What The Film!? I wrote even said that you can’t critique a movie franchise like Harry Potter or James Bond on these levels because all of these make sense in the universe they take place in. Next week, I’ll actually break down what went wrong on a non-shallow asshole level as the franchise closes.

Spoiler Alert: there will be a lot of Tonks hate.

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  • ann burt

    Did you really watch the movie? “Harry discovers that the vision of Ron’s dad was a trap to lead them to “the prophecy” this is totally incorrect. It is Sireous Black that was the subject of the vision planted by Voldemort. That is just one of several erroneous statements contained in this article.

  • Morgana

    This article is rubbish. Just about every point is misinterpreted.

  • Rachel

    Ann Burt is right.. you have your facts completely wrong and you’re not actually even critiquing the movie, all of your “critiques” are with the way the story was written, and as the points you have a problem with are all straight from the book they don’t count as critiques of the films.. what exactly is the point of this article? You’re basically just giving a terrible and extremely inaccurate summary of the films.

  • Regardless of facts stated correctly or not, I swear people do not read what this column is about before pulling out their pitchforks because they didn’t like your “review.”

  • Josh

    Your such a joke. Clearly none of these articles on your website have correct information.