These two films, “Burlesque” and “Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows, Part One”, have little in common, of course, except they are wonderful escapes with highly prejudiced targets.
“Burlesque”, featuring an Oscar-worthy effort from the magical Christina Aguilera, is the escape big films ought to be. It is a human story, with a timely undercurrent of the lifethread between art and soulful faith, challenged by the social difficulties of the day. Perseverance, pipes and, I might add, great booty shaking make for good Hollywood fun. Cher is still Glamor embodied and her talents, always spread to the far reaches of her desires to perform, should never be under estimated. Her vocals are as moving as Aguilera’s are spellbinding. The supporting cast of dancers, actors (including Stanley Tucci, TV’s McSteamy and Alan Cummings in a cameo-like role) evoke memories of great Hollywood classical musicals (with decidedly 21st Century sex appeal).
Just as Burlesque should please those who crave what was promised, so too should the average Hogwarts fan find pleasure in the latest (penultimate) offering of the Potter film series.
Increasingly dark in story line and less and less cute in it’s play away from saving the world, Harry and Company are indeed grown up. This film feels more “epic” than previous entries, and as part one of the “Hallows” two part film, is the least stand alone of all Potte r films. It would seen obvious and perhaps understandably indulgent that this one is for the HP crazed: unlike previous movies if you don’t know anything about the storyline then you better so some reading (or DVD viewing) before you tackle this.
I understand commercially and even artistically why this was turned into a two-part finale to the series; realistically, if a stand alone, it would have seemed better as a single movie (and not just because of the cost of popcorn; I love good movies no matter the absurd cost). But it matters not: yes, it is a cliffhanger and yes that’s likely gonna be ok with HP fans.
I say yes yes to both, unless you a) hate musicals in the case of Burlesque and b) don’t know a Muggle from a DeathEater on Planet Potter.
Brent Weber is a veteran journalist, producer, actor and broadcaster with 30 years of entertainment and sports reporting. He periodically reviews films, theatre and arts events.