Holy guacamole, have you guys watched Archer? This show is pure brilliance. The writing is unbelievably solid.

I’ve been watching it on loop on Netflix for over a week now. I can’t stop myself. Every time through I find something else brilliant about it!

Not to mention spies are awesome.

A Zombie Blogger Has Appeared!

That’s what happens when you rise from the dead, right? You become a zombie?

Well that’s what I’m going to call this regardless.

This quick little post is just here to let you know that I’m back! I’ve done some serious revamping to the site here, and the focus of the blog is officially changing. I am now professionally writing in two locations (Word of the Nerd and The Gaming Security Agency), so this blog is going to be for shorter and perhaps more amusing posts that I feel like putting up.

Basically, I realized there was a hole somewhere between what I’m writing professionally and what I can shove into a tweet. So back to HPJ we’ve come! This site has always been a labor of love, and I can’t promise extremely regular updates, but I am very glad to have a place back that I can express myself in a bit more of a freeform style.

I’m looking forward to getting back to writing here and hopefully getting to know some of my readers at the same time!

For Relief

By now, I’m sure the entire anime-watching world is intimately familiar with the natural disasters that occurred recently in the land of the rising sun. Between the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear reactor scares, Japan has shown nothing but stoic bravery and some of the finest examples of humanity in the face of disaster.

But Thursday morning at 10:32 AM EST, (11:32 PM local Japanese time) Japan was hit with another earthquake. The quake measured 7.4 on the Richter scale (though the US Geological Survey is reporting the quake measured 7.1) and affected the eastern coast of Honshu. NPR’s Greg Dixon reported that the shaking lasted for 2 minutes. Japan’s meteorological society issued a tsunami warning, the worst predictions being for the Miyagi prefecture, though also includes the Iwate, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures. The warnings were lifted just a few hours later without incident.

Thankfully, the workers at the Fukushima Dai-Iichi nuclear plants have reported there are no new problems at any of the six reactors at that plant.

On March 15, George Takei said via Twitter, “In this crisis, we are all Japanese.” I, for one, truly feel this way and my heart goes out to all the families still struggling overseas. Japan still needs our help, and for all the wonderful times that country has given us through video games and anime, we should be the first to offer whatever help we can and the last to put the relief effort behind us.

In that vein, the following are ways that you can help the relief efforts in Japan.

The Red Cross is still accepting donations to help the relief effort directly.  A donation from the Red Cross must be a minimum of $10, but can be done via any major credit card (including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express).

The Save the Children organization is also accepting donations that will be used to help the children facing this disaster.  Donations can be made in any amount here, so don’t be freaked out by the options listed.

UNICEF is also currently accepting donations in any amount.

A group called Your Action is keeping a list of running charity events for the Japanese relief projects in the New York area.  If you’re in the tri-state area there, consider attending one of the benefits or concerts listed there.  Your Action also lists a number of items that can be purchased to help support the relief effort.

Gwen Stefani is sponsoring a fundraiser in which you have the option to purchase a T-shirt for $40 and then add on extra donations to the relief effort should you so choose.  100% of the net profits from this fundraiser are being donated to the relief efforts via the Red Cross.

Hope – Japan is a nonprofit group of artists working to help Japanese victims of the earthquakes and tsunamis as well as those suffering from radiation sickness.  Each of the 36 artists has designed a pin.  If the $40 price point for the Gwen Stefani tee is too rich for your blood, these wonderful pins are only $3 a pop, and 100% of the proceeds are being used to support the relief efforts.

Linkin Park, in conjunction with Download to Donate has created two t-shirt designs to support the relief effort.  These t-shirts available in either men’s or women’s cuts are $25 each and offer 100% of the net profits to disaster relief.

A quick search on the iTunes store will lead you to “Songs for Japan,” a digital album of 38 chart-toppers including artists such as Josh Groban, Katy Perry, U2, Bruno Mars, and Lady Antebellum.  For $9.99, the proceeds will help aid the Japanese Red Cross in their struggle to rebuild.

Remember that when donating directly to any of these organizations, you are doing a huge amount of good.  Any amount of money can help feed a hungry child for another day or get some much-needed medications over to the elderly.  $10 is nothing when you think about it.  Just going without Starbucks for a week would give you more than enough spare funds to donate.

And, to be honest, when people are suffering so deeply in this nation we owe so much to, I think we could all go a week without coffee.

If anyone else has places people can go to donate funds or support the relief efforts in any other way, please leave them in the comments section.

Now in Black and White

This past September, Nintendo and GameFreak released the most recent volumes of the Pokemon saga in Japan.  Called “Pokemon Black” and “Pokemon White”, the game has already been hugely successful in Japan.  A full month before the games’ release in the Nation of the Rising Sun, pre-orders topped 1.08 million.  This earns the games the honor of being the fastest game on the Nintendo DS to break the one-million mark.  Within two days of it’s release, the games had been purchased more than 2.6 million times — making it the biggest Pokemon launch in Japan’s history.  By November 3rd, the games had sold over 4.3 million copies.  Famitsu Weekly, a very popular weekly magazine in Japan, gave the game a perfect score.  For Famitsu, that 40-out-of-40 score has only been given 14 times previously, making Pokemon Black and White the 15th game to receive that honor.

Despite my tentative reservations about the game being set in another new region and introducing nearly 160 new Pokemon, I’m amazed at these numbers.  I suppose this very well means I’ll be pre-ordering my copy.

And if you’re reading this in America, the breaking news of the day is that you can preorder.  In a Press Release from Nintendo earlier today, the games were given an official launch date for the United States.

March 6th, 2011.

So get your styli ready, Pokefans.  Another fix is on the way!

Warmest Wishes

From  my heart to yours, from my family to yours, I’d like to wish you a Happy Holidays.  Merry Christmas.  Festive Yule.  Happy Hanukkah.  Happy Kwanza.  Whatever it is you celebrate, I hope it is full of holiday cheer and warmth and love.

Remember that the holidays are about being with those you love and are close to.  Hot Pink Joysticks will return after the holidays with new posts and content.

Christmas Meowth Copyright to Nakira on DeviantArt.

Eyes on the Horizon

2011 is rapidly bearing down on us, and looking ahead, it’s shaping up to be a big year in video gaming.  With more highly-anticipated releases than you can shake a stick at, I thought I’d share with you the games that I’m looking forward to in the upcoming twelve months (though my wallet might disagree)!

1. Mass Effect 3

Commander Shepherd returns in Bioware’s third game of the series.  Also confirmed as the final game in the series (let’s hope that more series pop up in the same universe), Mass Effect 3 will pull on over 1,000 variable player choices from the first two games to create the final chapter in your very personal tale.  I’ve loved Mass Effect from the first time I sat down to play, and this title on the horizon has me chomping at the bit.  Due out “Holiday 2011″ according to EA, you won’t find this on my Christmas list, as I’ll be running out and nabbing it the moment it’s available to me.  Who could possibly sit there and wait for it while it’s under the tree?!

2. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The next installment in the popular Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim is the first direct sequel to any game in the series.  Directly following the events of the previous besteller from Bethesda, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Skyrim will use a completely new engine, which is a big excitement for Elder Scrolls fans across the country.  Look out for this top-notch title on 11-11-11.

3. Little Big Planet 2

This is the sequel to the hilarious fun title that came out early for the PS3 — Little Big Planet.  With a scheduled release date of January 18th, 2011, Sony’s adorable game promises a continuation of the fun gameplay and mind-challenging puzzles.  The online community will also make a grand reappearance.  I swear I’m going to get a PS3 someday, and with this and others on the way in 2011, I might finally bite that bullet.

4. Dragon Age II


Scheduled for a March 8th release date, Dragon Age II is the next game set in BioWare’s Dragon Age universe.  While the story is not a sequel to Dragon Age Origins, it is set in the same world.  Unlike in Origins, the main character’s race is unchangeable, though players will have options to chance the main characters race and class.  With a more linear storyline, I’m very excited to see where BioWare is going with the Dragon Age games.

5. Deus Ex – Human Revolution

With new developers, no one is really sure if the newest Deus Ex will carry the feel of it’s predecessors, but from the videos out there now, I have to say that the graphics and gameplay look amazing.  Developed by Eidos Montreal and Published by Square Enix, the game is scheduled to hit stores in either March or April of the upcoming year.  With a strong emphasis on letting players focus on Stealth and Social skills if they choose, I’m very excited to see how the game plays out.

6. Patapon 3

The Patapon games are a wonderful little series for the PSP.  A charming rhythm game, the upcoming game follows the overarching story of the intrepid little natives as they work toward goals encouraged by the beating of different drum patterns.  Gameplay is said to be remaining mostly the same, though there will be a stronger emphasis on multiplayer gaming.  Rumored for a March 9th release date, I’d not get your hopes up on that one.  Though I think we can rest assured that we will have a new game of Patapon before the end of 2011.

7. Batman Arkham City

Batman is making a comeback against his enemies after his harrowing adventures in Arkham Asylum.  With a teaser trailer shown at last year’s VGAs, Arkham City is set for a release in the third quarter of 2011.  In addition to the familiar gameplay from the previous title, Rocksteady Studios is adding a multiplayer function — though what characters that will include and whether it will be cooperative or competitive remains to be seen.

 

8. Okami-Den

This title coming for the DS on March 15th is the direct sequel to the PS2 / Wii title “Okami”.  It’s an Action-Adventure game that has already seen it’s release in Japan.  I only had a chance to play a little of the original Okami, but the gameplay was unique and interesting, and the visuals were amazing.  Stylized, but amazing.  I’m really looking forward to a title I can play on the go that *isn’t* Pokemon.  Although speaking of…

 

9. Pokemon Black/White

Initially, I was extremely skeptical about the upcoming Pokemon titles.  More 3D graphics, 150 new Pokemon, a female character who at first glance looked like an overly-sexualized lead for something produced for an audience so young.  But as time has passed and the games have gotten more press, my Poke-fever is at full blast again.  I’m really looking forward to the new games.  People who have played them (as they are already out in Japan) have said that the games offer some unique gameplay aspects in a completely new world that seems to be isolated for the previous four regions.

 

10. Portal 2

The original mind-bending puzzle game Portal was packaged with the Orange Box, and it became an immediate smash hit.  A cult-classic, almost.  In fact, the popularity reached such a fever pitch online that the Portal song “Still Alive” hit the ROCKBAND downloads.  My husband still wants to strangle me every time I start singing “This was a triumph!”  I don’t let it deter me, though.  And with Portal 2 fast approaching, the original game seems to have been expanded, tweaked, and revamped for a new and exciting experience with our Aperture Science portal gun!  Now with Co-Op action!

 

11. L.A. Noire

This game has gained a lot of press attention for it’s high attention to detail and motion-captured acting for characters.  A mystery-sandbox game, the atmosphere is very “film noir” and allows players to work to solve a number of murder mysteries.  Using a state-of-the-art technology, actors were surrounded by 32 cameras to capture facial expressions from every angle.  This immense level of detail makes me super excited to give the game a try!

12. Mortal Kombat

This upcoming Mortal Kombat title is a revamp of the series for the current generation consoles.  My husband has long been a fan of the Mortal Kombat games, and I am really looking forward to having the chance to experience this with him.  I’ve always really liked fighting games, (I’m a pretty good combatant in Soul Calibur), and the hype surrounding this game is so thick you could cut it with a butterknife.  While there isn’t a whole lot of information about the game out, there is a lot of skepticism surrounding the “pre-order exclusives” already.

13. Tomb Raider

With her cover feature in the most recent edition of Game Informer, miss Lara Croft is getting a lot of press.  This reboot is supposed to completely revamp the entire Tomb Raider franchise.  VERY little is known about this game so far, and a 2011 release date isn’t even certain yet.  But my interest has been piqued.  An “M” rating has been heavily alluded to, and with a “younger” Lara, I can only hope that this will be the start of something wonderful that will reinstate Lara as a strong, powerful female figure in the gaming world.

 

What games are YOU looking forward to in the upcoming year?

A Holiday Shopping Guide Pt 2

We took care of Part One, and now it’s time for Part Two!!  Not much time left to shop for Christmas, and if you’re ordering online, you’d best do it fast or you’re going to end up paying as much for shipping as the gift itself to get it on time!

Here’ a look at a few more things that will make that Geek on your holiday shopping list squee with joy.

Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters is truly a work of mastery. Pulled together by the wonderful fellows over at Gnome Stew, this 310 page book is one amazing book that will serve your tabletop gaming needs for years to come.  Each adventure plot is completely system neutral, meaning you can plug the themes and ideas in to just about anything.  Not only is this a great thing to read cover-to-cover, it’s great to have displayed proudly on the gaming shelf.  Purchase for $25 on Engine Publishing.

This little lovely is a white Xbox 360 Christmas ornament.  With Hallmark making a killing on Christmas ornaments, why not support a smaller seller and get something a little more personal for your resident video gamer.  After all, I know I’d be a proud Gamer to have this adorn my tree. Check out the Etsy Shop here.

“Keep Calm” is probably the classiest internet meme I’ve ever seen, and this little lovely will set you back between $11 and $17 (minus the frame) on Queen Spoof’s Etsy.  With loads of options to choose from, I think this is my favorite.  I’d like it in Brick or Clay to put in my entryway, thanks. ;)

This ice cube gives your drinks an extra nerdy flair!  Just be careful not to set up a full Tetris line, or you’ll lose all the ice!  A perfect stocking stuffer at only $7, you can find the Iceblox ice cube tray over at Think Geek.

The Mandalorians are pretty much the baddest of the bade dudes in the universe.  Yeah, they’re bad enough dudes to rescue the President.  But will they?  That’s another question entirely.  For the Wo-mando on your Christmas list, it doesn’t get much better than this adorable pj set from Her Universe.  In fact, just about anything from Her Universe would make a wonderful gift.  It’s like a treasure chest in an internet full of “unisex” and “manwear”.  But this pretty much takes the cake.  Purchase at Her Universe for $35.

A Holiday Shopping Guide

This is part one. :)  With the holidays fast approaching, if you haven’t found that special gift for your special geek, then you really need to jump on the opportunity!  I know I’m one of them.  Between work and finals, Christmas shopping has been pretty low on the priority list.  I hadn’t even put up the Christmas tree until this weekend!

So what are some spectacular gifts for the nerds on your list this year?  Well let me be so kind as to take you on a little trip around the internets.

Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle.  If your Star Wars nut doesn’t have a copy of this yet, she needs one!  This 320 page hard-cover includes stunning illustrations, concept arts, and photographic stills taking readers through the beginning stages of A New Hope all the way through the second season of the currently airing Clone Wars series on Cartoon Network.  Contained in each book are two random glossy images suitable for framing as well.  Purchase on Amazon for about $30.

Is your Star Wars fan already a proud owner of the above coffee-table book?  Fear not.  The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force is an amazing gift.  The 160 page book is sealed inside of a working “vault” that makes a wonderfully appropriate hissing noise as the book rises from it’s container.  Contained with the book is a Padawan’s braid, a Starfighter patch, a letter tracing the book’s history, and more.  Many reputable Jedi have added commentary directly into these pages, including esteemed Jedi Masters Yoda, Qui-Gon Jin, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.  For $70, this isn’t a cheap gift, but one that you can be certain will be greatly appreciated.  Purchase here on Amazon .

Your geek isn’t a Star Wars fan?  Not to worry, not to worry.  I’ve got you covered.

The “House Brawl” T-shirt from Threadless has rapidly become the best selling T-shirt ever for the site.  Perfect for any Harry Potter fans on your list, this shirt comes in a hoodie as well as a men’s cut T-shirt and a women’s cut T-shirt!  And at $12, it’s a complete steal!  Pick up one for yourself as well, you smart shopper!  Purchase on Threadless.

Geek Soap is probably one of the most amazing websites I’ve ever seen.  There are TONS of sellers of geeky soaps on the internet, especially over on one of my favorite websites, Etsy.  But Geek Soap is an entity all to itself.  With high-quality, high-clarity soaps made with clean lines and a scent described as “invigorating lime-mint”.  With a soap to please every manner of geek, there’s no way she won’t be thinking about you in the shower when she’s scrubbing down with a bar of this!  Purchase at Geek Soap for prices that won’t clean out your wallet!

Sharkrobot has some great T-shirts, and perhaps my favorite amongst them is the Pokemon “Strollin” shirt.  While it does cost an extra $2 for the ladies’ T-shirts, having the option for that perfect fit is better than settling for the “Unisex” that never looks right anyway.  And for the Pokefan on your list, there’s nothing better than re-encouraging the use of that Pokewalker during the cold winter months.  Purchase at Sharkrobot for about $20.

Shiro Cosmetics is my first discovery in the world of geeky make-up.  With the option to purchase a number of sample sizes for extremely reasonable prices (as low as $5), these beautiful loose eyeshadows come in a wide variety of colors, each with an appropriately nerdy theme.  Pictured above is her “Super Effect” collection, though I highly suggest checking out her “Legends” collection with a ton of Zelda-inspired colors.  Everything is available for purchase on her Etsy Store!

Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of my favorite board games of all time.  Previously out-of-print, Wizards of the Coast has picked up the licence and revived this well-deserving game.  I’ve only played it once, but it was so much fun!  With a cooperative nature and an element of betrayal and a game that’s different every time you play, it’s great for the gamer who’s played a few board games before.  It’s NOT for gamers who have never played anything other than Life or Monopoly.  But for those who have already experienced some Settlers of Catan or Pandemic, it’s a great purchase!  But on Amazon for about $30.

Not seeing anything here yet that strikes your fancy or quite fits your resident nerd?  Don’t fret.  There’s at least one more Shopping Guide on the way just in time for the holidays!

Snow Festival

Well, up here in the frozen lands known in my household as Hoth (in reality and to normal people, Fargo, North Dakota), we’ve had our first snow.  Snows.  Plural.  It’s been a rough few days in the weather department, and the sudden dump of frozen moisture coupled with massive winds have created a big fat blizzard that’s keeping my husband and I from getting to my family for Thanksgiving.

Thankfully, we’ve postponed the big meal, so the red velvet cheesecake I’m baking won’t be a waste. ^.^

But since there’s so much out there, I thought I’d try to put a bit of a happier spin on things.  In Japan, there are probably thousands of different festivals over the year across the country.  I stumbled upon a website featuring the Kamakura Snow Festival in Yokote City of the Akita Prefecture.

This festival has been celebrated for more than 400 years in Yokote.  The festival is meant to honor Shinto deities, especially the Water gods.  People build mounded rooms out of snow called kamakura and serve sweets and a fermented rice brew to passerby who are encouraged to come in and chat.  Countless miniature kamakura are built up and lit with candles to provide offerings of sake and rice cakes to the gods.  It is known as a very striking and romantic scene after the sun sets with hundreds upon hundreds glowing snow mounds lining the streets.

Shibuya426.com has a number of very informative and beautiful image heavy posts on Japan, and one of them explores the February 2010 Kamakura Snow Festival.  I’ve chosen a few of my favorite of the images to include here.  For more, please check out the Original Post!

A small offering to the Shinto gods

Full Sized Kamakura

Many Kamakura lined up in a row

Makes me want to celebrate Kamakura a little early over here in the states! ^.^

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One

Midnight, November 19th.  After months of anticipation and two-and-a-half hours of standing outside in below-freezing temperatures huddled in many layers of Potter apparel, I was ushered into my local theater with hundreds of other Harry Potter fans.  A local radio station was passing out trivia sheets and the local news networks had already been out asking questions about what would possibly possess us to endure such temperatures for a movie.

And with trembling anticipation, the lights dimmed in the theater.  The cold was finally starting to seep out of my bones and I could feel painful tingles in my toes, but my discomfort was forgotten as the logo I have come to love filtered onto the screen.  Hedwig’s Theme played in an eerie tinkling and the audience around me burst into excited squeals and a smattering of applause.

The moment had arrived.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One

I started typing this review as soon as I got home at 3:30 AM, but between the post-movie glory and the realization that I had been up for about twenty hours, I decided that it was best to give myself some time to digest everything.  And I come to you now with a review.  The first portion of the review will NOT contain spoilers.  I’ll then insert an image and a reminder that I’m going to spoil some things, and then it’ll be the total nerdy-freakout I can put out there.

Deathly Hallows was overall a very good, solid film.  It’s quite the change from the last six movies — considering that none of the movie takes place inside Hogwarts.  It creates a film that is refreshingly different from the previous six without being completely disjointed from the overall storyline.

The start of the film was a little bit rough.  There were a number of things that WB had neglected to include in previous films that were now important in this seventh film.  One of the biggest was the eldest Weasley boy — Bill.  Having never been mentioned at all before, he needed to be introduced before the Wedding scenes.  The sudden insertion of him as a character, explaining to Harry in about a second-and-a-half that the scars on his face were from a werewolf called Greyback (a character who also had not previously been mentioned in the films) was a bit jarring.

I am of the firm opinion that splitting the movie into two segments was a wonderful idea.  At first, I admit I wasn’t sure about the whole thing.  It seemed like a ploy for Warner Brothers to stretch the series out just a little bit further before losing the massive flow of money Harry Potter has created for them.  But after seeing the film, I am more than a little thankful that WB made that choice.  Separating the book into two movies has allowed WB to better pace the film, keeping the humorous bits movie-goers have grown accustomed to in the WB Potter films, and maintain an amazingly accurate portrayal of the last book in a decade-long saga.  In fact, after seeing Deathly Hallows, I find myself wishing that WB had split all the books from Goblet of Fire onward into two films!

Though speaking of pacing, while it was usually quite good, there were a few places where the progression of the story seemed a little wonky.  It’s not that I was ever disengaged from the film or confused about what was going on, but there were times when I felt things weren’t moving quite fast enough or were progressing at a pace just slightly too fast.

The music was wonderful.  It wasn’t a phenomenal John Williams score, but Alexandre Desplat did a very good job.  The music was always very fitting to the situations at hand and was never distracting from the action going on.

The ending for the film was wonderful.  I know there are people out there who think it shouldn’t have ended where it did, but from a film-maker’s standpoint, I can see exactly why they put the split where they did.  Watching that scene (no spoilers~!) was a very chilling moment and a great cliffhanger to get the casual movie-goers to come back for Part 2.

Coming up after the pretty image, SPOILERS.  I’ll be providing a list of Fangasming things I loved, and things I hated.

Deathly Hallows Poster

Things I Hated

I wanted to start with this list because it’s shorter and probably a bit more insignificant in the long run.  Remember, what I type here may spoil parts of the film for you.  This is your last warning.

  • Harry and Ginny’s Kiss in the BurrowThis was the most awkward kiss I have ever seen.  Neither of them seemed to enjoy it, and it was completely out of the blue.  It seemed strangely placed, forced, and unpleasant.  also, it was George that walked in on them, and while the toothbrush sticking out of his ear-hole was hilarious, it was NOT accurate to the book.
  • No Flashback of Voldemort murdering the PottersThis was something I had really been looking forward to.  Seeing the murder of Harry’s parents through Voldemort’s eyes could have been such a powerful, amazing scene, but instead all we got was Harry bursting through a wall into what must have been his nursery and then more fighting with Nagini.
  • The Deluminator – I wanted to see the little ball of blue light go into Ron and lead him back. >.>
  • Hermione used Obliviate - When Hermione sent her parents off to Australia in the books, she did NOT use Obliviate.  That spell has always carried a sense of permanency.  Like, her parents would never remember her again, at least the way the spell works in the books.  In the book, she had worked some memory rebuilding magic, erasing her from their memories and changing them into different people in their own memories until she could reverse the spell.
  • Missing Luna’s bedroom - The scenes in the Lovegood house were very well done in general, though I was extremely disappointed that we didn’t get to see Luna’s bedroom.  I thought it was a very poignant moment for Harry to see how much his friendship meant to Luna, and that missing piece was disappointing to me personally.
  • Kreacher’s Tale - Kreacher’s tale was another powerful moment in the book.  It gave great insight into Kreacher’s character as well as the nature of House Elves in general.  It made Kreacher likable, even.  Kreacher, however, didn’t get a chance to tell his story in the film adaptation.
  • Lack of Disguises - Harry Potter is UNDESIRABLE NUMBER ONE.  Yet somehow, despite the fact that Voldemort is seeking him out with an absolute fervor, Harry Potter is wandering around the world WITHOUT his Invisibility Cloak and WITHOUT the protection of Polyjuice Potion disguises.  In the books, Harry and his crew are extremely careful about Harry being seen, even Disapparating underneath the Invisibility cloak.  Yet in the film, he’s even completely undisguised at the WEDDING.

Well, there you go.  That’s the list of stuff I hated.  Now for the much more pleasant list.  Prepare for super-gushing.

Things I Loved

There were about a million things to love in this movie.  This was easily one of my favorite movies of all time, not just one of my favorite of the Potter films.  Some of the best bits are detailed here:

  • Dobby - Everything about him.  When he reappeared, he looked so wonderful, so real.  His voice was perfect, and his mannerisms were great.  But the most amazing thing was when he took Narcissa’s wand and she looked at him, perplexed and horrified that her former slave was defying her, and Bellatrix tried to belittle him, but Dobby wouldn’t have it.  He looked up at Bellatrix and asserted that “Dobby is a FREE elf.  Dobby has NO Master.”  My theater erupted in applause at this.  Then, a minute later, Dobby had rescued his friends and lay dying in Harry’s arms from Bellatrix’s dagger.  He looks up at Harry and as the young wizard is screaming for someone to help, Dobby reassures him — “This… is a beautiful place… to be with friends.”  I bawled.
  • Harry and Hermione Dancing - This scene was not in the books, but it was absolutely wonderful.  Just after Ron has left and Hermione is in a very depressed funk, she and Harry and listening to the radio and a rather upbeat song comes on.  Harry stands up and takes Hermione’s hand and dances awkwardly with her until she starts to smile at the absurdity of it all.  I thought it was a ridiculously adorable scene.
  • Fluer’s Wedding Dress – I knew it wouldn’t be typical.  A traditional wedding dress couldn’t possibly suit the world of Harry Potter OR a half-veela.  But what would it be like?  Maybe I was extra conscious of this because I just got married myself, but Fluer’s wedding dress was absolutely gorgeous.  Twin phoenixes in black embroidery wound down the beautiful A-line dress.  It was perfect.
  • The Seven Potters – This scene was HILARIOUS.  Watching Fred, George, Fluer, Hermione, Mundungus, and Ron transform into Harry was absolutely amazing.  Daniel Radcliffe acted this amazingly; adopting the personalities of other characters looking like Harry couldn’t have been easy!  And there’s honestly very little more hilarious than seeing Harry Potter in a bra and skirt asserting that he’s ” ‘ideous”.
  • “Bathilda Bagshot” – OH GOD SHE WAS SO CREEPY!  But it was perfect because it wasn’t REALLY Bathilda.  Her eyes were so wide, and her face gaunt.  She moved silently and a with a jerky, unnatural fashion.  Just wonderful!
  • The Locket Destruction – It was bigger and more terrifying than I had imagined.  Seeing phantom Harry and Hermione groping each other and trying to devalue Ron was so powerful.  It was tense and HUGE.  Watching Ron triumph over it was extremely touching.
  • Three Brothers Animation – Since the story of the Three Brothers is so vital to the story of the Deathly Hallows, the story needed to be told in the film.  So Hermione reads the whole thing out loud in Xenophilious’ home.  Instead of just focusing on the people in the room the whole time she reads, an animated sequence came one.  All done in black and a parchment-y yellow, this animation sequence was absolutely amazing.  It was beautiful and slightly creepy and had this oddly sweeping quality to it, like it just picked you up and swept you away.
  • Hermione’s Bag - It wasn’t quite how I imagined it, but it was the perfect size!
  • Beautiful Scenery – They really found some gems to film in.  The woods were beautiful, as was the beach and this weird rocky mountain plateau they filmed on.  Wonderful, wonderful~
  • Umbridge’s Office – The pamphlets and the files, the pink… It was all so Umbridge, and so conform-y creepy.
  • Decoy Detonators – These little gems are what Harry uses in both the book and the film to sneak into Umbridge’s office.  In the book, it wasn’t really explained how they worked or what they looked like.  In the film, you got to really see it.  These little jet black half-sphere things with feet scuttled across the room, splitting  up into more and more little buggers that suddenly sprouted jet-black bugles and exploded with clouds of foul olive-green smoke.
  • Ron - Even when he was being a jerk.  While Ron has always been the comic relief in the films, it didn’t seem forced or awkward in this film.  It was wonderful.  Ron was just BEING Ron, and it was HILARIOUS.  He’d do things or say things that were slightly bumbling, and it was just naturally funny.

Well!  There you have it!  This movie was really strong, and I don’t regret going to see it.  I’m already highly anticipating the release of Part Two, while also dreading it slightly.

I’m not sure if I’m ready for the end of this Saga.