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My internet isn’t working, so I’m going to type this tonight on word(12:30 am on July 16) and post in the morning – won’t have time to put in pictures though because it’s going to be a busy day, so sorry about that!

Today was our presentations – it was really cool! We dressed up and everything. We were Team Scorsese, and we showed our film first. Ours was about education and citizenship – and the debate over how citizenship should be taught in schools, if at all. You can watch it on Youtube here:

The other two groups (Spielberg and Tarantino) did theirs on gaps between different “groups” of citizens, and on protests. All of them looked great, and I think everyone did a wonderful job! I really enjoyed watching the videos this morning, along with the presentation – in front of the panel of Stephen Driver, Dave, and Yasmin, along with some of our other lecturers. We all dressed up and did our presentations and presented our films. It has been a long 48 hours of straight work on the films, but it was all worth it in the end! I am really proud with how our film turned out, I think it was great – pacing, camerawork, music, theme and message, and how we all contributed to the final product – it was much better than I originally thought it was going to be! Got laughs in the right spots too! Maybe I should consider documentary making more in my future…

After we showed the films, Yasmin took us to the courtyard where we awaiting the judging panel – ala the Apprentice (or the Inquisition!) – though I was kind of sad that we had thunder in one of our parts of the audio, she said she enjoyed it – it fit in with the doom and gloom bit that the kids were talking about – so if you hear that, it was a piece of excellent symbolism! The judging panel had mostly kind words to say about our film – we were very pleased with the feedback - and then like that, our academic work for the summer was over! A bit scary.

We had lunch in Froebel (fish and chips with mushy peas! I got Ahren onto the mushy peas team – Brendan too I think, somewhat at least – they are so good!) In the afternoon was a reception in Grove House with more of the academic staff, as well as the marketing people and Roehampton administration. There were refreshments and some snacks there as well – if it was from the same catering company, this proves that they are capable of making some quite good food! And if it wasn’t them, the food was still quite good! We mingled for a bit, before showing our video again, so that the marketing people and the other academics, and the Vice Chancellor could see it (he nicely integrated themes from each of the films into his little talk to us) – local MP (Member of Parliament) Justine Greening (who we’ve had the pleasure to meet on several occasions) came near the end (enough to catch a bit of our video!) and was able to help hand out our certificates (and goody bags!) Everyone was there – Dave, Stephen, Tessa, Jonathan, Nicola, Kriss, Emma, Talah, Gary, and I probably forgot some people, but it was great to see them all!

Time to take a moment here, and thank the Fulbright Commission for offering this excellent summer programme, as well as Roehampton University for hosting us – the academic team who did an amazing job exposing us to different issues and viewpoints in the various sessions and the marketing team for making our stay here comfortable. I really enjoyed being in the small group, and the British teaching culture – being able to build these relationships with the people who taught us, calling them by their first names, having conversations as equals – it was much different than the way I learn at home, and it has been a tremendous experience.

Afterwards, we all took pictures outside (with the official Roehampton photographer!), and then went for a post debriefing with Rebecca from the Fulbright Commission – and the infamous W curve for culture shock. I really am going to miss a lot of this when I get back – the people, the friends, the relationships I’ve built, and just the feel of being awestruck by something amazing every day – it may be a bit hard to go back after seeing all this. Some things just seem trivial now in comparison – but I suppose more of that deep reflection stuff will happen once I’m back and moody and in the bottom of the culture shock curve!

This afternoon we sat around. I started getting a headache (not enough sleep I’m guessing!) and took a little nap (and some aspirin) after dinner. The others went to Putney to hang out before watching Harry Potter – I came and met them there. It was a small theater, only 3 screens, but it was nice! The men’s toilet was out of order, so I had to use the disabled one – there was a long line of people. I actually met the same guy in line twice waiting in lines 2 different times to use the toilet – strange.


Spoiler free version of tonight:
So after my first  time in the toilet, I met the others across the street, and we hung out a bit. Then we went into the theatre. (Or cinema?) I got salted popcorn – it was interesting (no butter!) – could have gotten sweet popcorn too. It was like kettle corn – but salted instead of sweet. Didn’t like it much at first, but by the time I was at the end of the box (yes, they used a box! Not one of those stupid AMC bags of popcorn! (for the record, I don’t think bags are stupid – I just like boxes better)), it had grown on me.  We had reserved seats. It started at 9:30pm, but at 9:30 it was pretty empty. I realized why soon. They started showing COMMERCIALS – like for milk and bikes and cable companies – at 9:30 – it wasn’t until 9:45 until trailers started! It was probably close to 10 or after 10 (2200) when the film properly started.

I was very happy afterwards, and I want to see it again now! I realize it’s been 10 (close to 11) years that Harry Potter has been in my life – half my life – and it ended (kind of) tonight. Big weight. Ahren and I were talking about how we had been introduced to the books – third grade classes, and a dad who bought a book at Costco. I think they’ve shaped a lot about what I had considered to be British – and JK Rowling did get a lot of things right! But it was a great 2 hours, and great to spend it with most of the kids from the Fulbright group!


SPOILER VERSION OF TONIGHT! MY TAKES ON THE MOVIE!

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Just wanted to say a couple things – first, my have things improved from the first film!

Bad things first:
Not enough time with the central trio – it’s alright at first…then it’s either Harry by himself, Ron and Hermione by themselves, Harry as a third wheel, or other characters. That said, there were some nice scenes with 3 of them, and we have had 7 films with them together…

The whole movie takes place over 2 days! (Though an important 2 days, Alexis reminded me).

CASTLE CHANGED AGAIN. NOT COOL. Some things – like how the courtyard looked I can be like okay, Bellatrix destroyed a lot last time she was there. BUT THE CASTLE BRIDGE DOES NOT LEAD THERE. IT USED TO LEAD TO A BUILDING, NOT AN ENTRANCE!! I BET THEY DIDN’T THINK PEOPLE WOULD NOTICE THAT! BUT I DID! DANG YOU. Though I had always wondered, the school never had a proper entrance to it – when I was looking through the castle, the closest thing was the wood bridge (featured predominantly in movie 3), though no “real entrance.” Until the 8th movie. When they got one out of thing air. Thanks. Not really.

Hagrid got like 3 lines of dialogue in the film. And one was just “Harry.” And Fleur only got 1.

Not enough time mourning our lost favourite characters! But I guess it’s a “positive” thing not to dwell…

Not really a bad thing, but I felt the epilogue was kinda funny…which it wasn’t exactly supposed to be. But at least they used the same actors! It was semi believable. Though it had heart to it! I just wish we could have seen other characters/references to characters when they were older.

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Now Good things!:
Epic battle scenes. Very sad to see Hogwarts in the state it was…But Lord of the Rings sized armies – complete with giants and everything!

Emotional scenes for me! Even if they didn’t need to be. Or I was overly emotional – but I loved Snape’s flashbacks.

When Bellatrix flies toward the camera, Kevin screamed – which was funny, because NO ONE else in the theatre did. (Some people laughed after that).

Some good comedic moments in the film.

We’ve been to London now! So we recognized things. When the dragon flew over London, I was like I WAS THERE! I SAW THE LONDON EYE!

Dragon scene was very Jurassic Park like. Which I liked. Perfection would have been if the  dragon stood on the roof and roared, ala T-rex in The Lost World. But maybe that’d be too much. But I liked that aspect.

Scenes we heard about but didn’t see in the books – killing of Nagini, Ron and Hermione in the Chamber of Secrets, and the visual nature of film gave the “Kings Cross” and Snape’s memories scenes added meaning for me, than I got from the books.

Amazing visual effects of the castle and the surrounding countryside. Having been to Scotland now gave me a HUGE appreciation for the visual scope of the scenery in Harry Potter.

Throwbacks to most of the films, which was really cool! I realize now how richly JK Rowling wrote her world, how plot elements from separate books really came together. But as a last movie, it was visually satisfying to going back and seeing all these things we had seen before. Gringotts from 1 (I want to see how much that changed!), Quidditch picth (in it’s sad burning state), the pixies from movie 2, Room of Requirement more similar to how it was in 6, the wood bridge from 3, Platform 9 ¾ from 1 and 2 in an amazing feeling of full circle-ness (and feeling old!), Cho, Lavender, Trelawny, Sprout, McGonnagall (I know I spelled that wrong, but she played an amazing, almost grandmotherlike role – best performance from Maggie Smith in any of the films!), Slughorn, Spiders from 2 and 6, all the Weasleys, Sirius, Tonks and Lupin – all nicely integrated into the film.

MUSIC. I CANNOT SAY HOW MUCH I LOVED THROWBACKS TO JOHN WILLIAMS!! Didn’t open with the traditional Hedwig’s Theme, but there were enough snippets integrated in the music in the first 5 minutes to satisfy me. And the epilogue. I AM WRITING THE REST OF THIS IN CAPS BECAUSE I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I WAS JUMPING IN MY CHAIR AND PRACTICALLY SCREAMING WHEN THE JOHN WILLIAMS THEME OF “LEAVING HOGWARTS” PLAYED IN THE EPILOGUE. WHICH IS EXACTLY HOW I WOULD HAVE WANTED IT TO END MUSICALLY! AND THENNNNN IN THE BEGINNING OF THE CREDITS, THEY PLAYED THE WILLIAMS CUE OF “HEDWIGS THEME” – THIS IS ALL MUSIC THAT HASN’T BEEN HEARD IN THIS FORM SINCE THE 2ND MOVIE!!! THE 2ND MOVIE – THAT’S LIKE…8 YEARS AT LEAST, MAYBE 9 SINCE I HEARD THIS IN THE THEATER. AMAZING STUFF. I insisted on staying for a good chunk of the credits to listen to it. I was really disappointed when neither John Williams nor Nicholas Hooper were going to score the 7th and 8th films, but I think they did a wonderful tribute to John Williams’ music in this film.
Only thing that could make it better was if they played Harry’s Wondrous World – though it’s not so wondrous now, so I suppose that makes sense…


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END SPOILERS

You can comment now! Hopefully I can get my full…5…hours of sleep before tomorrow!



 


Comments

Priscilla
07/16/2011 04:53

HARRY POTTER WAS SO AMAZING <3 GOOD 10 years. STUPID TWILIGHT.
When I saw the dragon scene I saw that ferris wheel thing that I saw on your album so I WAS AMAZED!
Did you know! I think they killed off the wrong person with the fire dragon (crabbe or goyle) In the book Crabbe was supposed to die but I'm not exactly sure if they showed him O_O (Actor got caught with drugs)... Maybe I was too amazed to notice... idk! Time to watch it again to make sureee

Reply
Melody
07/16/2011 11:04

I did not realize all the throwbacks in the 7th book. Thanks for pointing that out Richmond! I always see your blogs come up in my newsfeed, and I always enjoy reading them :)

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