Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones (for the upcoming 4th film)

Amazing how one photo can create a feeling of excitement or anxiousness. As the talk (and years) of a fourth Indiana Jones film continued, I kept thinking to myself “Harrison Ford will be too old” and “What’s the point.” After seeing that one image, I take it all back. That doesn’t mean the 4th Indiana Jones film won’t suck, but seeing that photo makes me want to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark again and makes me hope that Indy 4 will be great.

Ron Weasley and his siblings stand with wands posed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The next image shows perfectly one of the reasons I love the Harry Potter series of films. There’s a continuity to the films that has never been achieved before (on the movie screen). It’s similar to watching 2-hour, big budget episodes of a television series like LOST or Heroes. It’s been cool to watch the kids in the Potter films grow up and I hope they all continue in the last two films of the series.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix poster
The poster for the fifth (has it been that long?) Harry Potter film, The Order of the Phoenix, has been released and it made me think about the series as a whole.

I’ve never read more than a few pages of the books. I have them all and fully intend to read them, but so far, they’ve escaped me. I’ll admit, I was surprised when I watched the first film (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was enough to see the second (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and then finally be amazed by the third (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ) –thanks mostly to director Alfonso Cuaron. The fourth (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) was again very entertaining and added many new, good elements to the series, with the Tri-Wizard tournament being the best.

So, I eagerly await the fifth film and seeing the poster made me realize one reason why. It’s the cast. I’m not saying they’re all amazing actors, but the continuity of it all makes the series as a whole much more fun. Seeing characters like Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley emerge from background parts to starring roles (even on the poster) is just cool.

I guess the experience is similar to episodic TV, such LOST, Heroes, and The Sopranos (all of which I enjoy). Even those are very similar to comic books when relating to story telling methods. TV and comics can take months to build up and play out stories, all the while the viewer/reader anticipates the next chapter and even knows when to expect it. The Harry Potter films are the cinematic equivalent of this.

Even with Spider-Man, X-Men, and others, there is a delay, a decision on whether or not to make a new one. With the Potter films, they put them out regularly enough that they feel reliable. Now, I know that’s because they are on a time-table. The young cast is growing older and Warner Bros. wants to finish the series (7 films in all) with the same actors/actresses in place, and I hope they do.

Recently, actress Kirsten Dunst was quoted by Entertainment Weekly as saying something along the lines of “people aren’t stupid, they wouldn’t see a Spider-Man film without me, Tobey, or Sam (Raimi).” I have to disagree. I want to see Spider-Man and unless I’m wrong, he wears a mask most of the time. A different Harry, Ron, Hermione, or any of the other characters I would have a hard time accepting other actors/actresses in the roles.

It’s pretty much official now that Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventue will be getting a Harry Potter “island.” It seems that Disney and Universal were in a bidding war to score the theme park rights to the characters/universe, with Universal winning.

According to leaked info from within Disney, that may not have been a bad thing…

J.K. allegedly wanted each & every guest who was experiencing the
theme park version of Harry Potter’s world to do so by first entering
the Leaky Cauldron pub. Where — by tapping on just the right brick (“Three up and two across … “) — they’d then gain access to Diagon Alley, that odd collection of Wizards-only shops & restaurants that’s hidden away in the heart of London.

The rest of the ideas (read them all at Jim Hill Media) sound really cool and I could see kids (and adults) swarming the park to take part in this type of thing.

We recently went to Disney World / Magic Kingdom and I was disappointed to find out the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride wasn’t there anymore. Reading the Jim Hill Media article, I did see a sketch that looked suspiciously like my former favorite ride. That sent me searching and of course Wikipedia had the answers.

The 20,000 Leagues Submarine ride was closed in 1994 and in 1996 Disney declared it would never re-open. The Winnie the Pooh play area now resides in the location. It does look like the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage will be opening soon and hopefully it can recreate some of the magic I remember as a kid.