Monday, October 20, 2014

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a Facebook retelling.

Prompted by my friend, Marissa's Facebook Status mentioning wanting to watch a Harry Potter movie but being unable to, I decided to undertake the task of writing out the first Harry Potter movie.
I tried to narrate and be as colorful as possible. I had to look up clips a couple times throughout the time I was doing it because I wanted to make sure I got certain things right. I also started to do it without remembering just how long the movie was. It's pretty fucking long. I managed it in 16 comments throughout the day. Somewhere around the 9th, I realized I wasn't even at frikkin' Hogwarts yet.

Regardless, here it is, in its entirety, with the original spelling and grammar errors included.


We fade up on a foggy road sign, indicating the first setting of our tale: Privet Drive. The presence of an owl atop the sign suggests mysticism and mystery. We pan over to a cat, who seems to know what's up. A wizened elder gentlemen adorned in a bathrobe strolls down the street, attracting no attention as of yet. The fog is the fog of London. Only London.

From the folds of his robe, he pulls out what appears to be an overly large cigarette lighter. But lo, it is anything but. The orbs of light illuminating Privet Drive are drawn to his lighter. It is a de-lighter. What delights shall happen this evening?


Well, wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, once the street is dark for dark deeds, the man turns to the cat like an old friend. And it is an old friend. Obscured by the walls of the condos, the cat transforms into an elderly lady. The lady is Minerva McGonagall, played to perfection by Maggie Smith. The man is Albus Dumbledore, portrayed by Richard Harris, may he rest in peace. The two set about a brisk pace, discussing the evening's events. Rumor travels fast in the wizarding world. "And the boy?" the woman asks the man. "Hagrid is bringing him," he replies.

With timing that can only be afforded to wizards and to the magic of Hollywood, the roar of a flying motorbike interrupts their conversation. A light appears in the sky, Close Encounters of the Third Kind-style. It is indeed the raggy-haired half-giant Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane with a lot of movie wizardry) with a precious load: a baby swaddled in a blanket, sleeping peacefully.

They stop in front of a house, arguing quietly about the advantages and disadvantages, pros and cons, of what they are about to do. Dumbledore places the baby on the doorstep, along with a letter. His soon to be famous scar of scars is visible on his forehead. As visible as it is now, it will be less and less prominent as the series goes on, but I digress.

"Good luck, Harry Potter," are the Merlin-like Dumbledore's final words to the baby. FOR NOW.

Lightning flashes, thunder crashes, and the title appears:
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE


It is now TEN YEARS LATER, though a title card fails to tell us so. We are only transported into the future via the famous scar.
The scar-headed boy sleeps in a darkened room as we pan down over his face. Obviously, he has aged. The boy, Harry Potter, a young pre-alcoholic Daniel Radcliffe, awakes as if disturbed by the swooping crane shot over his prone body.
But we cut to the source of the knocking that has jolted him awake. It is Fiona Shaw's uptight, airtight Aunt Petunia Dursley. She is mad already. She hates Harry Potter. She. Hates. Harry. Potter.


We see that Harry lives in a closet under the stairs, that has to be unlocked before he can exit the tiny, tiny room.

Tubby, tubby, ugly, dumpy Dudley Dursley, Petunia's boy, loudly bounds down the stairs to wake up Harry, though there is an inkling in everyone's minds that even if he wasn't trying to be a little shit, he'd still make a huge amount of noise on those stairs.

He makes his way to breakfast, because food is his only friend, on the way pushing Harry back into his closet home. It is Dudley's birthday, so they are going to the zoo, also this excuses him from being a thoroughly intolerable presence for these moments of the movie. There is a brief exchange about how there is one less present than last year, because only thoroughly intolerant little assholes actually count the number of presents they receive each year. Characterization at its finest.

The family piles themselves into Uncle Vernon's rather bland station wagon, but not before he gives Harry a talking-to about how he shouldn't do anything funny or they'll lock him up in that closet, as if there's some way they can do that even MORE than they already do.


Jump cut to the exterior of a building labeled the Reptile House. Of course the most active and most interesting animals to watch at the zoo are always the reptiles.

Interior shot of a rather large Boa Constrictor. We pan up to see the entire family watching it with mixed shades of disgust, boredom, and existential confusion.

Dudley, ever the scholar and gentleman, declares he is bored, and he and his parents retreat to another enclosure. Harry lingers a moment and confesses out loud to a snake that he knows how the snake must feel. This is an utterly normal interaction in movie world, and while defying some logic of sanity, is the only way to set up this next moment, which begins to suggest shades of another world poking through...

...Because THE SNAKE REPLIES. Well, not with words. But he moves and gestures in a way that suggests comprehension. Harry proceeds to converse with the snake in a way not unlike filmed phone conversations, where we can only hear one side of the dialogue so that person has to declare everything unquestionably.

Dudley, not one to miss a trick, sees the snake has awakened. He leers from behind the glass, getting his greasy fat fingers all over it, and his face is on the glass too.
Harry, with latent magical prowess, causes the glass to disappear with only a glance. Dudley falls in to the Boa's layer. Instead of enjoying this blessing of a meal, the snake chooses freedom over all things. He makes his way out of the enclosure, out of the building, and into our hearts.
 
 
 


Back at home, Petunia rushes her baby boy to stand in front of the fire, I must believe. Even though, I would hope that wasn't on the whole time they were gone.
Vernon, a man of conspiracy and paranoia, knows that it was Harry who somehow...conjured...this situation. He knows Dudley is stupid, but not so stupid.
"WHAT HAPPENED?" he spits in Harry's face, pulling his hair.
"I don't know! It was like magic!"
Well, that's just the worst to old Vernon Dursley. We all know magic is real, because we have childlike wonder in our hearts, and we're watching a movie with 'Sorcerer' in the title. But Vernon is adamant.
"THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS MAGIC!" he bellows, as he returns Harry to his cupboard under the stairs. And the matter is settled.

Our next scene depicts an owl dropping off a mysterious letter to the Dursley household. Fortunately, Harry is allowed to touch the mail, so he is first to the pile. He sees it is addressed to him, even though he literally knows no one in the outside world.
Dudley, dressed like a member of a barbershop quartet (probably the portly baritone) grabs the letter because he does not believe Harry could possibly be receiving mail, and I have to say that Dudley is somewhat justified in this belief, because who.
Vernon of course at first is incredulous, but when he sees the seal, a moment of panic brushes his face.


Cue a persistent montage of progressively more and more home invasive owls attempting to get this letter to the future boy wonder. The wizarding world spares little expense when recruiting children to their schools, which is the only progressive element of their education system.
At one point, Vernon, looking like a serial killer, is up late at night, fire blazing, burning all the letters one by one. He stops only to acknowledge the presence of the boy causing all the trouble.
To bring it to a point, we see that the Dursleys have been driven insane by the constancy of the birds, who now not only drop off the letters, but continue to stay on Privet Drive, near the house, as if they are choosing to take their sabbatical at this very moment.
A flurry of letters flies through the fireplace, covering the living room in letters, all addressed to Harry, who does his best to grab one and ascertain the contents. Vernon wrestles it away from him. This is a man and a child, wrestling.


Vernon owns an abandoned lighthouse, for some reason. He has forced his entire family into isolation supposedly in the middle of the ocean.

No more fucking around for the wizarding world. They decide to send Hagrid, the world's greatest enforcer, for the task. He shows the door who's boss, then he gives a cake to Harry for his birthday, revealing an oft-overlooked fact: Hagrid is as illiterate as the animals of the Hundred Acre Wood.

Hagrid goes on and on as if everyone knows what he's talking about, mentioning Hogwarts, revealing to Harry he's a wizard, and then finally giving him the letter he'd been trying to get his hands on since the beginning of that montage, which for all we know took place over a day.

Vernon protests, so Hagrid magically attacks his boy in masterful psychopathic manner. Harry shuffles off with Hagrid, in a sort of the devil you know is worse than the devil you don't sort of way.


We now see Hagrid and Harry walking along a typical London market street, perhaps in Picadilly, where Hagrid doesn't draw any attention to himself whatsoever.

They talk about school supplies mostly, before happening upon The Leaky Cauldron. Again, a room full of people who never in any way draw attention to themselves.

When Hagrid announces that he is with Harry Potter, the bar goes silent and you can hear the veritable pin drop. Or a pencil fall off a desk and roll on the floor, if we were in a classroom.

Everyone goes up to meet him, like he's Jesus, hoping to just shake his hand. Among them is a squirrelly man named Quirrell (OOOH. SQUIRREL. QUIRRELL. I GET IT.)
He seems off, but pay him no mind, because his weird behavior is not strange and certainly doesn't come back into play later on in this movie.
I would also like to note that in this chance encounter, Harry is face-to-backward-face with his would-be killer and yet his scar does not burn. Aren't there people paid to watch for these nit-picky things? A nitpicking department? I digress.


Hagrid opens the entrance behind a brick wall to Diagon Alley, the wizard version of a market bizarre for all your wizarding needs: wands, spell books, exotic animals, exposition.
Also, get ready for Harry to make that "amazed by magic" face a lot throughout the series, even though he should be getting more and more used to it as he gets older and the more he's exposed to the world that he is a part of, and he is actually capable of these little miracles, and you would think at some point one his close friends or adult mentors would've seen him making this face and whispered to him, "Hey man, play it cool."
DIAGON ALLEY.
Bustling, bristling, buzzing, and busking.


First stop: The bank. Gringotts. "T'aint no place safer," says Hagrid. Yes, he says taint.

The bank teller, a goblin, is unimpressed by the presence of the child savior. He only asks for a key, which Hagrid produces. Then, in a heavy-handed line of foreshadowing, he inquires about the "you-know-what in vault you-know-which," which is a way of speaking that arouses no suspicion whatsoever.

In a travel scene taken straight out of the level Mine Cart Carnage from Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Hagrid, Harry, and Griphook make their way into the bowels of the vaults.

They arrive at Vault 687, Harry's vault. Harry's Gerber baby desposit has softly accrued interest, a convenient plot development for several moments later on, because even in the wizard world, there is still poverty.

Then they travel on to Vault 713, vault you-know-which. Again, Hagrid keeps suspicions low by explaining to Harry that it's top secret what's in the vault. But they figured it was fine for Hagrid to kill two birds with one stone: pick up an all-important, top secret artificact the same day he has to go and rescue an all-important wizard boy to go school supply shopping.

The next stop is Ollivander's, for Harry to purchase a wand. Hagrid says there's no place better, when really what he means is, there's only one place to buy wands here, because of the non-existence of wizarding anti-trust laws.

Ollivander is an elderly man, who is both sufficiently creepy and endearing. Harry's initial attempts with wands are curious and non-satisfactory. Ollivander soon has him try a "curious, very curious" wand. It takes to Harry immediately. "Why is it curious?" Harry inquires. Because one Phoenix gave only two feathers for a wand-core. One went into this wand, the other went into the wand of... Voldemort. The evil wizard who tried to kill you! It's a small world after all!


After a long day of shopping, secrets, and revelations, Harry and Hagrid have retired to a dinner of probably just soup at the Cauldron.
Harry finally asks about the white elephant in the room. Well, the pale, white, noseless man in the room. He's not really in the room. But Voldemort.
Hagrid, using the magic of flashbacks, shows us what happened a decade before.
Voldemort rose to power and he and his followers mercilessly killed those who opposed him. The embodiment of pure evil. He killed everyone. EVERYONE.
Except one person.
Harry.
The Boy Who Lived.
Roll credits.
Just kidding.

The next morning, Harry and Hagrid are at King's Cross, ready to take the train to the fabled Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Hagrid hands Harry his ticket, and leaves him with more luggage than he could possibly control by himself.
Without explaining how to get to Platform 9 and 3/4, Hagrid disappears quickly considering his half-giant size.
Harry asks a regular human about the fractioned platform, and the train master dismisses it as a prank.
Again, with Hollywood magic timing, a family of impoverished gingers appear.
Harry can tell they are magical because they discuss it in the open. They run at a wall between Platforms 9 and 10, and surprisingly enough, they dematerialize through it.
For some reason, Platform 9 and 3/4, despite being exactly between 9 and 10, is not named 9 and 1/2, because it is apparently 1/4 closer to 10.

Harry asks for help from the somewhat distressed but instinctually maternal Molly Weasley.
She sends her boys through, and then teaches Harry how to do it himself.
"Good luck," says young Ginny, not yet a woman.


The Hogwarts Express traverses the British countryside.
One of the impoverished gingers appears in front of Harry's compartment and asks to join him.
When he learns of who his travel companion is, Ron, the ginger, goes a little fan-girly, and asks to see Harry's famed scar.
The treat trolley arrives soon enough, and Harry spoils Ron by throwing coin willy nilly.

One of the treats is Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, which has managed to find market stability, despite being made of mostly terrible flavours.
Another is Chocolate Frogs, which have trading cards of wizards, which would be the equivalent of if we humans (muggles) had trading cards of just Donald Trump and Bill Gates, Yo Yo Ma, and Morgan Freeman and the like.

While the boys prey upon their junk food feast, that's when she walks in.
Hermione Granger, soon to be the smartest wizard in all the land, appears and in this moment decides to herself, "Yes, these two. This is the family that I choose."


Hagrid greets the arriving train, beckoning all the first years to him.
"Hey Hagrid," says Harry Potter, everyday celebrity.
He escorts the first years to the boats, which is a much more dramatic reveal of the castle proper than the carriages used later are.

Ascending some stairs, they encounter Professor Minerva McGonagall, who does not look a day over 150.
"Welcome to Hogwarts!" she says to the first years, though it feels like she's saying it just to me.
"You will be sorted into your houses," she explains. "You will be sorted by order of importance to the plot: if you figure into all the plots, you will be in Gryffindor. If you are needed for one of the smarter plots, you will be in Ravenclaw. If you are needed for comic relief, you will be in Hufflepuff. If you are evil, you will be in Slytherin. Obviously."


A rich, entitled albino named Draco Malfoy spies Harry Potter amongst them and decides in this moment to ingratiate himself. Harry however, denies the albino's handshake, for fear of losing some melanin himself. Draco, disappointed, vows in that moment to do whatever it takes to bring down the great Harry Potter, even if that means using his vast family fortune, which he would've spent anyway.
Upon entering the Great Hall, the first years are ushered to the front of the room, where Dumbledore stands to give more exposition.
There's no order to McGonagall's scroll, so they start with Hermione, then Draco, then some B named Susan Bones.
Susan's sorting is pre-empted of our attentions by Harry, who has spied at the Faculty table Severus Snape, a man, who like his name, has a severe look: pale, prominent nose, thin and sharp, long, jet black hair, and a cold stare. He also looks right at Harry, as if to say, "Don't you fucking look at me."
Ron gets sent to Gryffindor with the other gingers of his kin.
Harry's name is called and the Great Hall, like the Leaky Cauldron before it, goes silent. No one is quite sure what to expect, like maybe the Sorting Hat will be set ablaze, maybe Harry will levitate to the stool at the front of the hall, maybe Voldemort will choose right at this moment to exact his revenge.
Nothing happens. Gryffindor!
There is of course some negotiation between Harry and the Hat, but that's not important for three books.

Harry goes to the table of red and gold, where he meets Percy, one of Ron's older brothers (he's the uptight, rule-loving one), Seamus Finnigan, a fiery Irish boy who listens to his mother implicitly, and Nearly Headless Nick, a ghost who never appears again.

After dinner, the Gryffindors head to their dorm room in Gryffindor tower, the second highest tower of Hogwarts. The fat lady asks for a password, and she's rather calm and demure, later being played by a panicky, hysterical fat lady later on with no explanation to the change.

Harry reflects on how much has life has changed, as he sits in the window, with his owl. He sighs. The world is full of possibilities.


FIRST DAY OF CLASSES

In transfiguration, Harry and Ron are late, but they think they beat Professor McGonagall to the room, because there's just a cat at the desk. But we know better! Sure enough the cat becomes McGonagall, and reprimands them.
In potions, Harry just can't catch a break from Snape, who decides he's going to be Harry's biggest bully out of anyone. "Clearly, fame isn't everything is it, Mr. Potter?" Sod off, Severus. He didn't ask to be famous.

Somebody tried to break into the Vault that Hagrid took the you-know-what out of.
I mean, it shouldn't matter to these kids that it got broken into, because they don't know what it is, so they pay it no mind.

In flying practice, everyone is learning a skill that is already obsolete because we learn later that there's such a thing as apparating.
We are shown once again how Harry is a natural, because he takes Madam Hooch's direction quite well and is the only one who manages to get a broom to obey them.
Neville Longbottom though, the true and eternal Hufflepuff of the wizarding world, the only child who actually decided that of the three animals to accompany them, the toad was the best idea, is actually the first to fly, but he really involves no skill in the practice, as is evidenced by his panic.

In another fit of heroism, Harry rescues Neville's Remembrall from Draco, and we know it's heroic, because none of us gave a shit about what the hell that thing was.
Having been caught flying by Professor McGonagall, Harry initially thinks he's in trouble, but instead gets escorted to Oliver Wood, who can apparently be called out of class for anything under the sun.
Oliver Wood is the captain of the Quidditch team. Potter seems to be fit to be a Seeker, even though McGonagall saw nothing to evidence that, only we did.


Upon hearing the good news, we see the beginnings of Ron's inferiority complex, while we also meet the Weasley twins, Fred and George, who are also on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Surprisingly few jokes ensue over mixing the twins up.

Heading home from classes for the day, our trio find themselves on one of the many shifting staircases.
If no one is allowed where they end up, why is the staircase's enchantment not modified to exclude ending there, one wonders. But I digress.
Hermione, knowing everything, knows where they are, and knows they are not supposed to be there. The boys have not quite warmed to her constant presence yet, but at least she's not one of those characters who knows things and doesn't explain anything to those around them (lookin' at you, Dumbledore).

The most terrifying figure in all of Potterdom appears, Mrs. Norris the watchcat.
The group takes off running across the forbidden floor that the staircase dropped them off on and gave them no freedom in the matter.
They hide behind a door that was locked, but Hermione unlocks it.
In a sort of rock and a hard place situation, they have worse troubles than a cat: a dog. A three-headed dog to be precise.
They high-tail it out of there as well, and decide to tell no one of anything.

The next day, Oliver brings Harry out onto the Quidditch field to show him his trunk full of exposition.
Harry learns about the Quaffle, the worst named ball in history of balls; the Bludgers, sociopathic obstacle balls; and the Golden Snitch, the game-breaking winged ball that could've been called the Golden Plot Device, to give something special for Harry to do to show how special he is.

In charms, everyone learns from the diminuitive Professor Flitwick a levitation charm that everyone finds absolutely impossible.
Hermione can't resist being a know-it-all and it finally has driven Ron insane.
He HAS to speak his mind, and he has to tell everyone what a nightmare she is.


Halloween...

AND THERE'S A TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!


Oh yeah, and Hermione's in there.
God damn it, Hermione.

But wait, she takes the blame for it, even though it was the boys who defeated the troll!? (Completely by accident!?)

Harry is convinced that Snape is evil, because by way of profiling, he looks evil.
He is convinced that Snape unleashed the troll as a diversion to get whatever is hiding in the room guarded by Fluffy (that's the three-headed dog, who seems to only want to sleep).

The Quidditch game happens, that's cool.
It exists to prove that Gryffindor and Slytherin have a huge rivalry, and that Slytherin is willing to play dirty.
Oh, and also to show that Snape is still up to his evil ways.
I mean, everyone SAW him chanting something that caused Harry's broom to go crazy! It's irrefutable evidence!

In the following scene, Hagrid goes from tight-lipped though awkward, to downright bean-spilling because it's convenient for the plot.

CHRISTMAS!

Harry receives an Invisibility Cloak, because he's rich and powerful and famous and cool.
Ron gets a sweater. Because he's poor.


There are now several scenes of severe expoosition:
Explaining the Restricted Section of the library.
Quirrell and Snape's tense relationship. (Snape seems to think Quirrell is up to something, but Snape seems to be the one doing questionable deeds).
Dumbledore explains the Mirror of Erised, how it shows us exactly what we desire.
Then we learn who Nicholas Flamel is and his association with the Sorcerer's Stone.
Hermione deduces that it must be what is being protected by Fluffy.

I almost forgot about the scene where there's a dragon hatched from an egg but it has nothing to do with anything so you might as well forget about it too.

DETENTION!

...Which takes place in the forbidden woods, if Hagrid is in charge of detention, which doesn't make sense why he would be.
Because detention is where you should see all the important, traumatic things...like a dead unicorn. We muggles have never even seen a live one, and now these kids are getting to see a dead one. Unbelievable.
I'd actually like someone to explain to me if that's Voldemort drinking unicorn blood. Did he separate from Quirrell, or is that Quirrell also under the hood?

All the elements are now in place, except for how to keep Fluffy sleeping, and Hagrid makes short work of that, blabbing to the kids exactly how to do it, quickly enabling our trio of upstarts to start their final quest.


The trio make their way into the forbidden hallway and unlock the forbidden door. They find the forbidden trapdoor being guarded by the forbidden three-headed dog.
A forbidden harp is already there, lulling it to sleep.
The trio move its paw to descen
d into the trap door which proves to be quite dangerous because the harp only has a limited time enchantment on it, funnily enough.

Regardless, the three make it into the lower chamber, where they are immediately ensnared by a giant plant that is growing without water or sunlight.
"Devil's Snare," Hermione proclaims. And Ron and Harry are at last grateful for the girl's smarts, because they could've been killed by a plant, and that's such a dumbass way to go.
They relax and slide through, much like a boy convincing his date on prom.

The next is a room full of "birds", symbolizing freedom. But they are keys, symbolizing entrapment.
Harry, using his Seeker skills, identifies and grabs the correct key while on broomstick.

The next room is a chess game, and we realize it's Ron's only strong skillset. He turns out to be a master strategist, and this is the only time in all of seven books he gets to showcase it.
The rest of the time he whines or runs. Or both.
Ron sacrifices himself to win the Chess game, and allow Harry to pass into the next room. Once again, this is the only time in seven books Ron shows any sort of fortitude and will to do such a thing.

Guys, I hate Ron.

In the final room, Harry confronts Quirrell!
What a TWIST!
IT WAS QUIRRELL ALL ALONG! GUYS, YOU WERE FOOLED! SNAPE WAS A MISDIRECT! A MISDIRECT! QUIRRELL WAS ACTING WEIRD BECAUSE HE HAS THE FACE OF THE DARK LORD ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD! HOLY SHIT! WHAT'S UP WITH THAT.

The Mirror of Erised recognizes Harry's good intentions and secrets him the Sorcercer's Stone.
Voldemort tells Quirrell the boy must have it.
Quirrell attempts to entrap the boy, but Harry, through the higher power of love or some shit, burns Quirrell and Voldemort, proving that two heads is not better than one.
The burning kills Quirrell, and turns Voldemort into a cloud.
A cloud cannot kill the Boy Who Lived.
Voldemort leaves.
Harry passes out from shock. Or tiredness.

Harry awakes in a grand hospital wing, and to the wise, aged face of Dumbledore.
Harry shows concern for his friends, and Dumbledore fills in some of the blanks about just what the hell happened down in the lower chambers.
Spoiler alert: It was love. I told you already.


The final scenes are the House Cup presentation, and through some arbitrary awarding of points by Dumbledore, Gryffindor overtakes the Slytherin lead and wins the House Cup.
Thank goodness for friendship, right Gryffindor?

Oh, and Harry has to go back with his Aunt and Uncle for the summer.
Because love, and all that.

ROLL THOSE CREDITS

Bah-bah-buh-buh-buh-bah-BAH!
Bum-Bum-BUM-BUM-bum-bum...


Disclaimer: I solemnly swear that I do not own these characters or the world they are portrayed in, because I am up to no good.