Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [Part 2]

February 1, 2014

[SOM #31]

This is the eighth and final part of a series of movie reviews of the Harry Potter films.

Leah Haydu of GamerDork ReRolled, Sharon Shaw of Gonzo Planet and Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits all return, as does James Carter of Cane and Rinse for the first time since the Goblet of Fire review. This week's Defense against the Dark Arts teacher is Jake Del Toro of the Last Save Loaded podcast, real name Graham Snape.

In watching this final part, it actually managed to gain the top spot as my favourite, just edging out Hallows Part 1, due to even more fantastic acting from all involved and some of the sharpest emotional peaks in the series. This is, however not a perfect film for many lovers of the book and we go in-depth on the various differences that make this a slightly different angle on Jo Rowling's close-of-play on Potter.

Also up for discussion are Goblins, Gringotts, hearing horcruxes, the battle of Hogwarts, the Prince's Tale, self-sacrifice, fear, courage, death and the afterlife, Neville Longbottom, Jo Rowling's humble beginnings, the final conflict, the epilogue and the possibility of future books... so not much then.

The final recording weighed in at over five hours long so I am positively astonished that I managed to get it down to this length plus the History of Hogwarts.

A massive, massive thank you to everyone involved this week as well as everyone who has appeared on previous episodes; namely Chris and Kelly Brown of The Married Gamers, James Batchelor, Gary Blower and Neil Taylor of GameBurst and KDS 2.0 and Chris Eason of Ninja Fat Pigeons and the Gonzo Planet Community Cast

This has been one of the most special projects of my podcasting career. I'm so happy to be able to share the immense passion, enthusiasm and knowledge of everyone involved.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [Part 1]

January 30, 2014

[SOM #30]

This is the seventh of eight movie reviews of the Harry Potter films.

Leah Haydu of GamerDork ReRolled returns after a week off along with Sharon Shaw of Gonzo Planet and Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits. This week's Defense against the Dark Arts teacher is Gary Blower of GameBurst.

This is my favourite of the eight films. Possibly because of the extra time afforded the creators by the two part-structure, possibly because of the serious, tense and thrilling atmosphere brought on by the game-changing final year, but most likely because of the genuinely effective and sustained emotional resonance throughout. Not just the explosive highs and lows but the incredibly heartfelt and subtle moments in between.

This episode, we go in-depth on wartime allegory, the Malfoys, Rufus Scrimgeour, the fall of the Ministry of Magic, the audiobooks, The One Locket, the degrading and changing friendships, the Tales of Beedle the Bard, Scabior and the Snatchers, the sudden coming-of-age that the tripod are forced to undergo and the simple, bravery of Dobby.

This is all accompanied by the breathtaking music of Alexandre Desplat and for one moment; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

January 29, 2014

[SOM #29]

This is the sixth of eight movie reviews of the Harry Potter films.

Sharon Shaw of Gonzo Planet returns along with James Batchelor of GameBurst, and this week's Defense against the Dark Arts teacher is Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits.

It was the longest recording session yet and the final conversation clocked in at over three and a half hours. I pulled out all the stops and distilled the best two and a half for your listening pleasure and in the end this feels like the best Potter review so far.

This episode, we go in-depth on Pensieve flashbacks, Horace Slughorn, the Tripod at age 16, Draco Malfoy, Albus Dumbledore and the unhappy event, all scored by the moving, playful and sometimes haunting music of Nicholas Hooper.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

January 28, 2014

[SOM #28]

This is the fifth of eight movie reviews of the Harry Potter films.

Sharon Shaw of Gonzo Planet and Leah Haydu of GamerDork return, and this time the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher is Chris Eason of Ninja Fat Pigeons and the Gonzo Planet Community Cast.

This was the first of four films to be directed by David Yates, a man who learned his trade shooting serious, British drama for television. The tone-shift and change of pace is noticeable and appropriate for the darker final years of Harry's time at Hogwarts.

This episode, we go in-depth on the Ministry of Magic, Delores Umbridge, Sirius Black, Dumbledore's Army, Luna Lovegood, Severus and James as boys, possession and what it took to trim the longest book don to the shortest stand-alone film.

Featured in this episode are Daniel Radcliffe's appearance on Extras, segments of a wonderful interview between Stephen Fry and J.K Rowling and the subtle, effecting score of Nicholas Hooper who also composed the music to film six.

And as if that wasn't enough, there's a whole chunk of rather hilarious podcast outtakes near the end.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

January 27, 2014

[SOM #27]

This is the fourth of eight movie reviews of the Harry Potter films.

Sharon Shaw of Gonzo Planet, Leah Haydu of GamerDork, James Batchelor of GameBurst and Neil Taylor of GameBurst and KDS 2.0 all return, and this time the De fence against the Dark Arts teacher is James Carter of Cane and Rinse.

This installment surprised me as I'd always thought Azkaban a superior film, and that may still be so. Film four may be less of a faithful adaptation by virtue of the huge amount of non-essential plot that had to be left out to conserve the running time, or it could be more faithful in terms of thematic delivery. Either way, The Goblet of Fire is now my personal favourite of the opening quartet of Harry Potter films.

This episode, we go in-depth on the upside and downside of the trimmed down story, we talk book sales figures, Quidditch, unforgivable curses, endangering children, frivolous lawsuits, teenage awkwardness and Lord Voldemort's first full appearance in the series.

All of this is scored with some choice quotes and the wonderful arrangements of the often-overlooked Patrick Doyle.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

January 26, 2014

[SOM #26]

This is the third of eight movie reviews of the Harry Potter films.

Sharon Shaw of Gonzo Planet, Leah Haydu of GamerDork and James Batchelor of GameBurst all return, this time joined by Chris Brown of The Married Gamers and Neil Taylor of both GameBurst and KDS2.0.

In this episode we discuss the sudden change of tone and style as the Potter films mature. A new director; Alfonso Cuaron is brought in to lend proceedings an indie sensibility, and the young cast start to grow into their characters. As Chris states on the show, this is really two stories; one about the wizarding world and one about a boy growing up. We go in-depth on those themes along with discussions on Lupin, The Marauders, time-travel, expeditionary dialogue, and the black specters that are J.K. Rowling's Dementors.

Stay tuned to the very end for an Easter Egg with a tirade of protest against one Ginny Weasley.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

January 25, 2014

[SOM #25]

This is the second of eight reviews of the Harry Potter films. Sharon Shaw of Gonzo planet and Leah Haydu of GamerDork return for more Potter debate and deconstruction, this time joined by James Batchelor of GameBurst.

In this one we discus Hagrid, Dobby, The flying car, Molly and Arthur Weasley, Gilderoy Lockhart, Fawkes the Phoenix, Tom Riddle's childhood, John Williams' music and (if you listen out for the Easter Egg) the most baffling moment in The Mummy Returns. Remember to please tell as many people about these as possible. See you very soon for part 3: The Prisoner of Azkaban.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

January 24, 2014

[SOM #24 / Also Contains SOEE #31: The History of Hogwarts]

This is the first of eight reviews of the Harry Potter films. Each episode will cover different characters and focus-points relevant to that particular story. It will involve discussion with my guests and occasional Gonzo essays, punctuated by rare pieces of Potter-related audio and the wonderful scores that have enriched every movie.

For The Philosopher's Stone (or if you are trans-continental; the Sorcerer's Stone) I enlisted the aid of Leah Haydu, lead-host and editor at GamerDork ReRolled, Kelly Brown, one half of The Married Gamers and for the first time on a dedicated movie review series since her run on Kill Bill for Digital Cowboys Movie Club, my wife; Sharon Shaw.

In this one we discuss the tripod (Harry, Ron and Hermione) at age eleven, the Dursleys, Richard Harris as Dumbledore, Professor McGonnagal, dating centaurs, awesome tattoos and why at least one of us identifies very strongly with a core character. The main theme running through is the lighter tone of this first installment and why in retrospect it serves a very fine purpose. We also discuss the differences from the original book, which we will do in every subsequent episode.

This series could bring a huge new crowd of listeners to Digital Gonzo so my humble request to you, the listener is that you please, please tell as many people about these as possible. See you very soon for part 2: The Chamber of Secrets.


This episode also contains a second part: The History of Hogwarts.

This is an accompaniment to the Harry Potter movie reviews. It is an audio timeline of the significant events of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and wizardry as detailed in the Harry Potter book series. For timing purposes most of this was only lightly referenced in the films so this may help clarify a great deal of historical detail for all but the most die hard of Potter fans who will already know it.

It is mostly narrated by myself but there are some discussions with the guests of the eighth and final podcast from this series: namely Leah Haydu of GamerDork ReRolled, Sharon Shaw of Gonzo Planet, James Carter of Cane and Rinse, Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits and Jake Del Toro of Last Save Loaded.