I went to bed early last night. Now, I've been getting much better quality sleep in this bed, no question. If I go to be really early, I wake up before the alarm clock goes off. This did not happen this morning; the downside to having such a comfortable bed is that you don't want to leave it; I just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep.
While I have been complaining somewhat about the subway of late, it is very difficult to be that annoyed when the weather is so nice. In fact, I have to grudgingly admit that I've rather enjoyed my commutes since the weather became accomodating. I'm enjoying it while I can; when it gets hotter the subway turns into the depths of Hades.
COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY WORK SAFE (for a change)
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Now, here we have an interesting case of book to film adaptation. This scene is very different from what occurs in the book, where Harry isn't too fond of riding a hippogriff. However, this is a case where the kind of storytelling that works in one medium isn't necessarily that which works in another. In addition to the advantage of reducing twelve hippogriffs to one, thus focusing the scene on Harry and Buckbeak, showing Harry's discomfort would have been in direct contrast to the unavoidable imagery one would have of him flying. Rather than try to work against this contradiction, Alfonso Cuarón - aided in no small part by composer John Williams - embraces it instead, and Harry's experience becomes one of discovery - and of bonding with Buckbeak. This not only works for the film, but endears the audience to Buckbeak, who becomes an important figure later on in the story.
As I've indicated on several occasions, the best way to see this film was when it was playing in IMAX; Cuarón's long takes, usually eschewing close-ups, lent themselves beautifully to the large format.* The movie as a whole is one that really plays best on as large a screen as possible, and so I'm actually surprised at the framing in this clip. I've never seen the pan-and-scan version of this film, and assumed that because it was shot in Super 35 that it would have been opened up a bit more on the top and bottom, and I assumed that Cuarón's characteristic loose compositions wouldn't have made such a prospect too difficult. But there's no way around it, this is a pretty annoying pan-and-scan job, and the cropping obscures some of the humor in the sequence, especially the bit with Ron and Hermione, which contains an artificial pan that draws too much attention to the moment.
Here is somebody playing the piano version of Williams' cue from the above scene.
* While the IMAX blow-ups tend to look and sound very, very good, the truth is that many films, even large-scale action movies, don't play that well in the format. A perfect example would be Batman Begins, a film I enjoyed very much. However, I saw it in 35 millimeter and then in IMAX; the quick-cutting and tight framing used in that movie made it hard to follow during the action sequences (in a visual sense). There is nothing wrong with the film, but stylistically it doesn't work as well on such a large screen; in fact, I feel that it perhaps plays best on home video. Cuarón's work tends in the other direction; while it certainly works at home, the larger the screen, the more effective it is.