If you’ve known me for long enough, you would know that I’ve been a fan of the Harry Potter series ever since the age of around 11 or so. Ironic don’t you think? I started my journey with Harry and his friends, and I learned beside them, living vicariously through J.K. Rowlings words, and experiencing Hogwarts without stepping foot onto the grounds.
I still have fond memories of late night trips to the movies to watch them as they came out. The first time I ever stayed out late was to camp out in between the dusty bookshelves of my favorite bookstore in Kips Bay (back when Borders was a thing… RIP Borders) until one of the staff yelled HARRY HAS JUST ENTERED THE BUILDING as the HUGE Deathly Hallows shipment carted its way into the store. We were dressed in mismatched clothes (since we couldn’t get robes) to display our vast knowledge of muggle culture.
We were massive hardcore nerdy fans. Yes. I am proud of this fact.
So, years after this night, and the other midnight releases for the movies that followed, you can imagine my excitement when I see this fan made film making its way around my Facebook feed about the origins of he who must not be named himself.
I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really like to watch trailers for the fear of too much of the movie being given away, so I watched just the one, and marked the date on my calendar. A movie about Voldemort? Yes please. Judging just from the trailer, it was casted well, it had an interesting concept, and it was well made.
I sat there during their live count down and waited for the official release.
I watched the hour long fan made movie in its entirety, and followed the story patiently.
I unsubscribed after it finished, since it had served its purpose, and I didn’t feel the need to stick around much longer.
Yes, the movie was well made. The effects, for a fan made film, were carried out just about perfectly. The duels were really cool to watch, the cracking magic and puffs of smoke were what you might expect from one of the earlier movies actually. The opening sequence with Gryffindor’s heir dueling with magical security was pretty cool, though I did wonder about the masks. Were we just supposed to make them into storm trooper-like figures in our minds, and not feel bad that she essentially just killed a ton of people despite her bloodline? Well… we didn’t know who she was yet so… never mind.
But then we get to the rest of the movie, and while some parts of it were great, other parts were kind of…. I dunno. Bleh?
I don’t want to condemn the acting taking place in this film, simply because I feel like movies that are dubbed always lack something when it comes to emotion. Unless they’re done VERY well, and I apologize for my fellow English speakers but…. OUR DUBBS USUALLY SUCK.
And that happened with this movie as I watched it. I was a little confused by the fact that half the time, the cast spoke English, and the other half they spoke something else (I didn’t take the time to research it). But the entire movie was dubbed over, and at times it just took you right out of the experience. For a movie about magic, and the magical world, it sure knew how to break its spell on your before it could even get a full grasp.
Anyway, that aside, when I tried to focus on the acting of the actors themselves without the voice, it wasn’t half bad for a fan made film on youtube. I liked the Hufflepuff heir, and Tom’s acting as well, though Ravenclaw was a little TOO serious for my taste, and Gryffindor seemed like she was… I dunno. Suddenly intensified as they aged?
But more on that later.
The story in here made sense to me, but then at the same time it didn’t. Like I got what they were trying to do, but I think that the true meaning of being an heir of one of the Hogwarts founders was lost behind Voldemort’s story, but Voldemort’s story is kind of… watered down a bit too. What I really did appreciate here though, was the inclusion of Hepzibah Smith and her house elf Hokey. I know that it’s a big thing that fans missed out on in the movies, but according to a video released by Seamus Gorman recently, it wasn’t included simply because of Hokey and the fact that she was a house elf.
Ah. Even in the muggle world we don’t know how to treat them properly.
I did appreciate the inclusion of the scene, but again, the fact that it was dubbed over, and the audio kind of felt mismatched with the actual scene kind of took me out of it, so I just had to tune out a bit. It was cool to watch, and I loved the fact that they tried to include Hokey in the little way they did. As I said, their usage of effects in this movie, for what it is, was on point, I suppose maybe I should have tried to watch it with just subtitles instead…if it was even possible…
Wait its youtube, not Netflix haha
One little problem I had was the fact that it was kind of… bothersome I guess… that every time he made a kill or did a thing he said “enemies of the heir beware.” Literally every single time. And I get it, I understand. And it was almost chilling the first time he said it. You get one or two of those in a movie. Especially in one this short. But I find it problematic when it says it every time, like a villain in a 90s cartoon. Not only that, where were his death eaters in school? We didn’t get to see him building his crew, we didn’t get to see him interacting with Slughorn, which is arguably where he started, we didn’t get to see him DISCOVERING that he was an heir, since he was found in an orphanage. I think that would have made a better introduction as opposed to what we got, which felt long, and dragged out and kind of made little sense to me, since we didn’t know who she was, and weren’t given much of a chance to care. We are here to see Voldemort, it’s named after him, why not introduce the movie with his childhood instead?
In its entirety the film felt a little more like Grisha McLaggen’s story, even though she was talking about Tom Riddle the entire time.
Maybe I’m asking for way too much from a fan made movie, but I feel like something like this would have probably been better done as a longer film, or a mini series of short films just for the purpose of a better story. It’s his origin. Everything possible should be included, and if you’re going to include Hepzibah, how could you NOT include Dumbledore or Slughorn? Or even his death eaters? Or how he came upon the name Voldemort?
I don’t mean to pick the movie apart. I want to keep hammering in the point that it was entertaining to watch at some points because of their usage of angles, and special effects. Their lighting was on point, the structure of some of their scenes tied everything together. But if their movie was a present, the best part was the box and the wrapping paper. The inside just felt a tiny bit hollow in my opinion.
As for a rating if you need one, I’d say this is something you’d watch purely out of curiosity if you’re REALLY bored and there’s nothing else to watch. I do hope they improve with their future projects as I see a TON of potential with them. I mean that in all sincerity.
Not that I’m a legitimate critic or anything. I’m just a chick behind a computer screen with unimportant opinions.
Towards the end when her story is coming to a close, we see a little plot twist ending that they threw in there. It kind of felt like a piece of candy after a visit at the dentist. OO! Yay! That was interesting!
But then you realize they pretty much made it obvious from the very beginning with her use of magic, and her whole demeanor really. Gryffindor’s heir was this cute bubbly stereotypical one girl in a group of boys character. She was emotional. But now she’s fierce, and driven, and hardcore with the….same…talent…as Tom.
I’m not disappointed by the twist. I liked the twist. What I hated was that the only reason I started to like her, was because she was essentially dead and replaced by Tom. She’d experienced this massive growth as a witch and as a person, but it was completely erased because it was really just Tom under what I assume was the effects of a polyjuice potion.
I mean seriously, was his potential so great, as an heir of Slytherin, that the other three heirs couldn’t keep up at all? They were written into be complete jokes in comparison to him, and we don’t even get to see him duel Ravenclaw’s heir! That seemed to be such an important thing while they were in school, but when they’re outside of the confines of Hogwarts, Voldemort doesn’t take the time to prove his superiority? Come on….
Anyway. That’s about it from me.