A bunch of my friends flew across the Atlantic for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 junket and saw the movie last night/today/depends on your time zone. Anyway, people have seen the film and Warner Bros is, for some reason, letting them review it right away. Actually, I guess the reason is that the responses seem to be mostly positive, with HitFix’s Gregory Ellwood going so far as to call it the best since Azkaban. The Guardian seems to disagree, but I do believe that earlier today we established that Xan Brooks is some kind of chimp.
Skyline, meanwhile, is not faring so well. The Universal film has been held back from critics, which is often worrying. Of course Universal did the same thing with Devil a couple of months ago and that ended up being pretty decent, so perhaps there’s nothing to worry about. Or there’s everything to worry about, according to an Australian correspondent to The Hollywood Reporter, who says:
Beyond the dazzling “first contact” sequences seen in the trailers, Skyline is a spasmodic and incoherent shambles hampered by an astoundingly stupid screenplay. Burdened also by unspeakably bad Sci Fi Channel dialogue and dreadful acting, it culminates in a risible finish that, incredibly, seems to be setting up a sequel.
Oof. She also calls the film a calamity. I guess we’ll hear back from the first paying audiences in a couple of hours, after the midnight shows.
Finally, Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere has talked to someone who has seen Tron: Legacy, and has bad buzz to report. The source says the film is “a technical marvel, but uninvolving and remote despite Pixar’s attempts to infuse emotion into the father-and-son scene.” (The Pixar thing comes from the fact that Michael Arndt and Brad Bird came on to do rewrites after Kosinski had put together his first cut of the film). This, by the way, is almost exactly the buzz I heard from a source close to the film earlier this summer before the reshoots, which I was told were intended to reduce the amount of Garrett Hedlund, who is apparently deadly in the film.
What I had heard, and what Wells’ source seems to be saying, is that Tron: Legacy is just too faithful to the tone of the original, which despite nostalgic feelings, is a very airless, emotionless plod through remarkable (for the time) FX.
I’ll be seeing Skyline first thing tomorrow morning; if you see a late show and want to chime in, feel free to do so in the comments!