Repello Muggletum

That cupboard under the stairs...such a small film set!

                                             That cupboard under the stairs…such a small film set!

So if I am writing this, and you are reading it, then we must all be from the land of Harry Potter ..or the new wand isn’t working? Certainly, after visiting the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London last night, I really feel as though I have found my spiritual home!

The dining room at Hogwart's

                                                                      The dining room at Hogwart’s

I have to confess, when my daughter asked if we could go on a trip to Harry Potter world, I was briefly sceptical.  It’s a place for kids, surely?  And was I really that interested in HP?

SAM_1056Well, turns out I am….what interested me most I thought, was JK Rowling.  Her contribution to the world of children’s literature was nothing short of wizardry in the history of reading, casting a spell on a generation of viewers to turn them into readers.  Ok, so the films made them viewers again but they had been through the process.

SAM_1073Turns out what really fascinated me was walking through the fantasy that is the world of Harry Potter.  Privet Drive, Diagon Alley, the Hogwart’s Express, Hagrid’s house….and on and on.  The intricacy of the props and the effort that has gone into the making of all these films…..I was quite blown away with it!

IMG_0198And then the surprising ‘grown upness’ of the visit also surprised me.  There wasn’t a myriad of interactive games and activities for young children; in fact I would say that much of this would be over the heads of the younger ones.  But for teens, fans and adults, it was quite incredible.  My favourite exhibit…(apart from the creepy Death Eaters wandering around amidst the crowd) had to be the huge model of Hogwart’s….or was it flying on the broomstick…..or going on the Hogwart’s Express….oh, let’s face it, I loved it all!

The work that has gone into the making of the film, let alone the making of the fantasy- from book to film - is incredible!

The work that has gone into the making of the film, let alone the making of the fantasy- from book to film – is incredible!

Now, just to choose….film or book?   That is the question…

The Lobster: a film review

Can people truly  enjoy this film?

I think any review of a work of art, whether it be literature or film, deserves a balanced response, a weighing up of both positive and negative aspects before any conclusion is drawn.

Here I struggle, having watched The Lobster, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, last night; on second thoughts, The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, has been the topic of hot debate in the household since we left the cinema at 9.15 yesterday evening.  So that has to be a positive, right?

It is a long time since I have seen people leave a cinema in the middle of a film…..to be honest I am surprised that anyone stayed to watch the entire 118 dismal minutes of this film.  I am surprised that I did; it’s only through my sense of politeness to my companion who seemed to be enjoying it thoroughly.  There, you see, another positive.  Some people can enjoy this film.

Relationships, loneliness and animals

It is certainly not for everyone; I knew from the elongated opening scene of a woman driving that it would not be for me.  And the shooting of a donkey which follows this dreary driving episode, well, it set the tone.  Dim lighting, characters so socially awkward they were embarrassing to watch, humour so dark it was virtually treacle, without any sweetness to soften the blows…

I did laugh at the beginning, a couple of times and felt well, there would be something about this and I would, surely in 118 minutes come to love this film.  The plot seemed ridiculous but I bought into it; in their dystopian world, singletons are not tolerated and those who fail to find a mate at The Hotel, are turned into an animal – of their own choosing, hence the choice of lobster for the character, David, played by Farrell.   Lobsters live for 100 years, have blue blood ‘like the aristocracy’ and he ‘likes the sea’.  Most people choose to be dogs, as did David’s brother who accompanies him to the hotel.

Of course, there are the escapees from such rigid laws, a group of singletons who get together as a group to be loners.  There could be humour in that, of course; wasn’t the line in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, “you are all individuals” to which the crowd responded, “we are all individuals”….that was funny.  The leader of the loners, leaves a man to struggle to free his leg, which had been caught in a animal snap trap.  She tells him to ‘try harder’ whilst watching his desperate struggle….it wasn’t funny.

Neither was the woman who shot the donkey, or the woman who described in graphic detail how she killed the dog.  And neither was the ending – won’t spoil it, just in case you decide to watch it!  I didn’t actually see it, because I was feeling very uncomfortable about this ending in any case!

Which animal would nobody want to be?

There were so many parts of this film that felt like they could be something and yet turned to dust.  The transformational part of the story seemed so underwritten as to be unnecessary.  A Shetland pony, once a girl with lovely hair, wanders in and out of the occasional scene.  And the woman David kills is turned into the animal ‘nobody would want to be’….but what was it?  Am I supposed to guess? Am I supposed to know???

Strangely, though, the conversation in my household, or more precisely, the heated debate, has been largely about this film today.  And I think, to end on an immense positive, art has to be about the stirring of the emotions in its recipients, does it not?  And if this is so, the film, The Lobster, can claim a success  in spite of my obvious reservations.