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November 22, 2010 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-11-22

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, November 22, 2010 - 5A

On hallowed ground

We are all
Potter's pals

'Part 1' pleases
Potterheads by
preserving the plot
By KAVI SHEKHAR PANDEY
Daily Film Editor
"This is too scary for me," whis-
pered a woman seated at a matinee
screening of "Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hal-
lows: Part 1" **
as Dementors
rushed our Harry Potter
heroes within and the
the chambers
of the Minis- Deathly
try of Magic. Hallows: Part1
Her statement
may have At Quality16
referred to the and Rave
film's thun- Warner Bros.
derous levels
of suspense,
but for a student newspaper film
critic, it also alluded to the prospect
of writing an acceptable assess-
ment of a "Harry Potter" movie.
After all, the current undergradu-
ate student body is considered the
"Harry Potter Generation" - those
who matured alongside Harry &
Friends - and will undoubtedly
read a review with intense scruti-
ny, making composing a successful
one a daunting prospect.
But with the force of a bludgeon
cracking the cranium, the realiza-
tion occurs that the filmmakers
were probably experiencing the
exact same fear - the fear of disap-
pointing the hordes of Potterheads
who have devoted so much of their
life reading, re-reading, watching
and re-watching the books and
movies; knowing that they deserve
to be satisfied, as their passion is
what made Potter a phenomenon.
So the decision to split the
final book, "Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows," into two films
was definitely a positive one for
fans who were tired of seeing their
favorite subplots and crucial char-
acter developments excised from
the film - most notably the pen-
sieve trips in "Half-Blood Prince"

"If you say vampires are better than werewolves one more time...

that examined the transformation
of Tom Riddle into Lord Volde-
mort. As the final entry in the
"Harry Potter" journey, the film-
makers understandably wanted to
send the fans off with the grand-
est experience they could possibly
muster. .
And "Deathly Hallows: Part
1," at least for the first half, is tre-
mendously grand. The film quickly
establishes the somber tone that
pervaded the book, leading to a
succession of intensely entertain-
ing, surprisingly violent action
sequences and an infiltration of the
Ministry of Magic that's equally
tense and comical.
Director David Yates, who has
helmed the series since "Order of
the Phoenix," began teasing his tal-
ent for staging spectacular wand
duels with the marvelous battle
at the climax of "Phoenix." A few
short battles popped up in "Half-
Blood Prince," but in "Deathly
Hallows: Part 1," Yates Hulks out,
unleashing his directorial exper-
tise and technical wizardry (ha!)
at full force with several fierce,
exciting set pieces within the first
act alone.
All is well until the infamous

"camping in the woods" segment,
an unrelenting barrage of teen
angst and plot stagnation that's
the entertainment equivalent of a
Crutacious curse. The sequence of
Harry, Ron and Hermione hiding
out in the woods was one of the
most mundane parts of the book, if
not the entire series, and is equally
dull in the film - which exposes
the issue of dividing the book into
two movies.
If "Deathly Hallows" were a
single movie, such lengthy, kind-
of-unnecessary sequences would
have been trimmed out. But by fol-
lowing the plot of the book very
closely and minimizing cuts from
the story, the film also inherits
the flaws of the book, such as the
aforementioned camping sequence
and narrative non sequitors that
feel uncomfortably out of place -
in particular, the events that tran-
spire at Godric's Hollow.
Aside from that, "Deathly Hal-
lows: Part 1" brings back all the lit-
tle things that have made the Harry
Potter movies so enjoyable. The
cast, made up of the cream-of-the-
crop of British actors, is as great
as ever and even brings Bill Nighy
("Love Actually") along for the ride

as the new Minister of Magic. The
film's really dark subject matter is
nicely matched bythe cinematogra-
phy - it's as if a Deluminator sucked
the light out of every scene - but
there's an appropriate amount of
humor delivered as always by Ron
(Rupert Grint) and the Weasley
twins. Lastly Dobby (Toby Jones),
once the Jar JarBinks of the "Harry
Potter" films, rips out the best role
in the movie as the heroic, hilarious
house elf who saves the day - like
a G6.
Perhaps the most understat-
ed quality of the films has been
the evolution of the chemistry
between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe),
Ron and Hermione (Emma Wat-
son). As the characters they played
grew up together, so did Radcliffe,
Grint and Watson - their interac-
tions in "Deathly Hallows: Part
1" are extremely organic, and it's
wondrous to see the love they have
for each other and their bond that
transcends friendship. It's these
quiet characterizations that have
helped us in the Harry Potter Gen-
eration mature ourselves. That's
why, for us, "Harry Potter" is not
just a book or a movie. Itris part of
who we are.

'm 20 years old and two and
a half years through col-
lege, and somehow I remain
captivated by the adventures of
a fictional
boy wizard. L
There I was,
with some of
you, catching
"Harry Pot-
ter and the
Deathly Hal-
lows: Part 1" ANKUR
on Thursday SOHONI
night - ahem,
Friday morn-
ing.
Don't get me wrong: As films,
the quality has been up and down
- I'm a film person, and my rela-
tionship with "Harry Potter" over
the last decade has been love-hate
- but there's no mistaking the
lasting power of J.K. Rowling's
saga and how vital the film series's
careful execution has been to the
perpetual obsession that hits our
generation every year and a half.
We all grew up reading the
books; if you didn'tcgrow up read-
ing them, then you grew up with
people who grew up reading them.
First published in June 1997 in the
U.K. and about a year later in the
U.S., the "Harry Potter" series had
a good three to four years before
its inevitable cinematic adapta-
tion. After that, those who had
been content to live on in blissful
ignorance of the escalating profile
of The Boy Who Lived suddenly
didn't stand a chance.
Everybody - Harry, Ron,
Hermione, Dumbledore, Hagrid,
Malfoy, even Dobby - they all got
faces. Concrete, bankable faces
you could put on a poster.
Nine years ago, Warner Bros.
released "Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone" with a huge
production budget and even more
colossal box office gross. From
the very beginning it was clear, if
perhaps too clear, that the studio
and major players were dedicated
to faithfully adapting the novel to
the screen.
That dedication, even though
the quality of adaptation has been
muddled by complaints from both
book-obsessed fans and unfa-
miliar filmgoers, has never faded
from what is now the biggest film
series of all time.
No "Harry Potter" film has
reached - nor will the yet-to-be-
released "Deathly Hallows: Part
2" ever live up to - the fantasy
adaptation standard set by "Lord
of the Rings" earlier this decade.
But "Harry Potter" has faced an
entirely unique challenge and fit-
fully lived up to its reputation as
the most universal story of the
millennial generation.
When each "HP" film promises
to show viewers their favorite
scenes from the book while keep-
ing the humor and youth of the
text alive, fans flock to the theater:
somewhat-underwhelming sequel
after somewhat-underwhelming
sequel, the saga is not only toler-
ated, but celebrated by diehard
fans for at least mostly sticking to
the script.
I have never personally been a
huge fan of the films, and I'm not
especially obsessed with the story
as a whole. My interest in the
films has always been in the films
themselves and not the adapta-
tion therein - I cringe to hear the
minor complaints over changes
and gaps in the storyline. But
despite any frustration different

sets of viewers have found in the
films, there's no denying that the
entire franchise has been an utter

success beyond most realistic
viewers' hopes and expectations.
Part of that success is due to a
consistent creative evolution as
the films have progressed - from
the bright, young and immature
direction of the first two films
by Chris Columbus to the more
advanced, visually daring presen-
tation of the last three by David
Yates. The scripts, save for the
fifth installment, have been writ-
ten by screenwriter Steve Roves
with a consistent personality, and
have progressed from far-too-
juvenile to sufficiently PG-13. Like
the characters, the creative efforts
have become more mature with
each film to suit the series's aging
audience.
All the while, the most impor-
tant keys in all of this - the faces
onscreen - have remained and
grown with us. Daniel Radcliffe,
Rupert Grint and Emma Watson
are all household names in our
generation, and our connection
with them will last beyond the
"HP" films. They've not only aged
in front of our eyes, but matured in
talent and ability to appropriately
inhabit their roles. They have been
the most tangible sign of progres-
sion and the most solid connection
to its prime viewer base.
And that brings me to us.
College-aged viewers - the
ones old enough to remember
every moment of the last 12 years
of"Harry Potter" but young
enough to relate to the boy-wiz-
ard's plight - are the lifeblood of
Growing up
with The Boy
Who Lived.
the series, no matter how many
times older generationsachastise
us for obsessing over "a kids'
book."
Some (older) peoplereally just
don't get it. I'm not obsessed, but
I fully understand that "Harry
Potter" is our story - we grew up
with it, and we're seeing it reach a
fittingly epic end with its seventh
and eighth films.
That's why, if you were lucky
enough to catch "Deathly Hal-
lows" at midnight, you likely saw
a lot of 20-year-olds like me. The
books aren't children's books, just
as the films aren't children's films
- at least not anymore. What
started with children has followed
those children into adulthood and
itself grown along the way.
It's hard to know how we'll see
"Harry Potter" when the films are
complete. The range of fandom,
from casual viewer to Potterhead,
will always have variable opinions
of how well the screen fits the
story. We imagined Hogwarts
before Warner Bros. constructed
it, and saw Harry, Ron and Herm-
ione in our minds before Daniel,
Rupert and Emma came along.
While some people find that the
films conflict with their imagina-
tion, others revel in the contrast
and enjoy the connection the story
weaves through its fans.
Beyond any divisions, the saga
is ours. "Harry Potter" will always
be ingrained in our generation
- and even more important, our
generation will forever be a fun-
damental part of "Harry Potter."

Sohoni wants to show you his
Patronus. To find out its size and
shape, e-mail asohoni@umich.edu.

"Cass is straight awful

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By EMMA GASE ladies always be in my face / But
Daily Arts Writer don't believe what they be put-
tin' on their Twitter or their
Perhaps best known for his MySpace") or guest vocalist Mya's
inor 2007 hit "My Drink N' My complete irrelevance to modern
Step," Philly native Cassidy is hip hop.
he archetypal The decidedly un-gangster
ocky rapper * - "Paper Up," Cassidy's most
hose relatively redeeming moment, features an
mall sip of suc- CM* old-school soul sample of horns
ess has led him and guitars underneath a bass-y
o think he is the C.A.S.H.(CasS East Coast beat. Ironically, Cas-
ost deserving, A Straight sidy's best moment here isn't his
treet-savvy and Hustla) rapping. On the chorus, he sings
nderappreci- Kross Over surprisingly well: "I'm on the
ted rapper out come-up butI'm still climbin'/ I'm
here. Cass's new getting money but I'm still grin-
lbum, C.A.S.H. (Cass A Straight din' / Cause I gotta get my paper
ustla), does nothing to warrant up." Though Cassidy's vocabu-
he titanic amounts of narcissism lary is no match for the acerbic
nd cockiness. For all of Cass's wordplay of mush-mouthed Gucci
isdirected, supercilious verses Mane or the slick sophistication
of which there are many), few of Drake, you have to admit Cass
ioments actually merit it. does have his moments: "I play
"Face 2 Face" is a laundry list with them Knicks like Gallinari /
f Cassidy's ideal rap battle oppo- I went from ordering onion rings
ents, as Cass name drops every to calamari."
amous rapper who has ever spit Nevertheless, Cass doesn't
verse. The song begins with a capitalize. Unlike more success-
ped-up chipmunk voice singing ful rappers *(TI., Eminem) who
o the tune of Barney's "I Love have learned that rap without
ou, You Love Me" about battling, hooks does not sell, Cassidy either
hen segues to the barely-there doesn't have the melodic chops
eat with melodramatic synth to pull it off, or just doesn't give
a crap enough to consistently try.
In "I'm a G Boy," Cass lets lis-
teners know that he "Ain't in no
Lie thinks he's motherfucking gang / But I'm a
motherfucking gangster." Accord-
a total gangsta, ing to Cassidy, all other rappers are
but he's not, poseurs: "They act gangsta / But
really do no gangsta shit." Exactly
what this "gangsta shit" is, how-
ever, remains a mystery. Instead,
hat spikes randomly over Cass's we're merely informed (over and
wkward flow. Cass then chal- over and over) that Cassidy is a "G
enges his own rap rivals: "Don't Boy." And in case we still aren't
o on the Internet / Talkin' all grasping the message, let us not
ndirect / Battle me / Face to forget that C.A.S.H. stands for
ace." Suffice it to say 99 percent "Cass A Straight Hustla."
f the rappers he names in the What Cassidy really needs is a
ong (Drake, Eminem, Kanye and large slice of humble pie. For the
tas among them) could probably storm of shit he talks up, he has
ap the McDonald's Dollar Menu very little with which to back
nd still beat Cass in a battle. it up. His flow is stumbling and
In the rare moments Cass drops mediocre, his boastful verses are
he street-hardened hoodlum act, outlandish and nonsensical (but
e succeeds in pulling off semi- not in a so-vulgar-it's-hilarious
iemorable songs. "Girl Like Her" Lil Wayne way) and his beats are
eatures danceable beats and forgettable and outdated. Who
atisfying hooks, hard to come knows, maybe Cass actually is a
y on the rest of the album. The Straight Hustla :n real life. But
&B melody can't distract from no amount of hustlin' can save
assidy's lame lyrics about how C.A.S.H. from its sure descent
e didn't cheat on his girl ("The into obscurity.

It's getting old
in hun', Nelly

By CASSIE BALFOUR
DailyArts Writer
One would think that at 36
years old, Nelly would have
evolved not just as an artist, but
as a person.
But he's still '*
almost solely
concerned with Nely
money, chicks 5.0
and slick club
beats. His latest Universal Motown
hip-pop album
5.0 is a vapid mess of attempted
nightclub bangers and rehash-
ings of the rapper's older work.
While Nelly occasionally ven-
tures into the pop music realm on
5.0, his clever rhyming and South-
ern twang are noticeably absent
in an album populated with lazy
hooks and inane rhymes about
money. While Nelly's contempo-
raries have branched out from
simply imploring women (or
"shawtys") to shake their respec-
tive moneymakers, Nelly tragi-
cally never recovered from, as he
puts it, "get-money syndrome."
The hypnotically repetitive
"Move That Body" features lots
of finger snapping and guest
We get it: You
like sex and
money.
appearances by hip-hop main-
stays T-Pain and Akon (who
spends most of the track admir-
ing some girl's ass in typical
Akon fashion). This wannabe
club hit's one redeeming fac-
tor is Nelly's ability to spit his
game faster and with more
energy than almost any rapper
out there. However, it ends up
being a tiring, forgettable song
destined only to get play at the
clubs after everyone is too drunk
to notice the sheer dullness of
the track.
The worst part of the album is

Nelly's campy, soft rhyming. On
"Broke," Nelly claims that "My
crib is plush, plush / I'm talking
elevator / So don't you touch,
touch." Sophie Greene has a grat-
ing guest appearance, singing:
"If you ain't got no money then
you can't do nothing for me / In
Vegas, L.A., Miami and New York
/ Yeah I like shopping." Maybe if
Nelly met a nice, unmaterialistic
girl, he could write a hit about
something other than banging a
ho and gettin' dough (see Nelly,
rhyming isn't that hard). Despite
its exhaustive lyrics, "Broke" at
least has a solid hook and some
dance-party appeal due to tight
production and a hard-hitting
back beat.
On the radio-ready hit "Just a
Dream," Nelly drops the rapper
fagade and makes himself vulner-
able for the epic track. He switch-
es between rapping and singing
about a girl who left him heart-
broken. Nelly isn't afraid to cross
over to sugary, inoffensive pop
and the result is a decent track
See NELLY, Page 6A
t - eJAMEST
* Live Concerts
.VIP Parties
-Beautiful Beaches
" etacua rSunsets
SmmERVICE$
1,S00.648.4849

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Learnmr ur aout uteoenems T rve aceucps ser vice.
Information Session: for Masters
Studentsintersted in Peace Corps
Tuesday, Nov.23 at 6:30 p.m.
International Center, Rm 9
Apply by year-end for added programs leaving
in 2011 --Peace Corps'50th Anniversary Year!
800.424.85801 peacecorps.gov/application

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