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Building expectations

I cannot believe that they’re giving Alfonso Cuaron the reins to the Harry Potter movie franchise. I honest to god officially can’t believe it. Not that I think it’s a bad thing, but I have to wonder: how many of his movies has J. K. Rowling seen?

The thing is, I watched Great Expectations over the weekend, and it just blew me away. Cuaron had the chutzpah to turn Dickens into a sensual, almost erotic reverie. It’s a movie about passion, and passion lost, and passion recovered. It’s a movie about how much people mean to one another: Finn to Estella, Estella to her mad aunt Ms. Dinsmoor, Finn to his brother-in-law Joe, and so on.

It’s thematically a match for Y tu mama tambien, which generated buzz based on the forthright sexuality of the story and earned that buzz based on its quality. However, that movie, too, was about human relations. It’s just that Cuaron knows full well that sex is often an important component of such matters.

What surprised me in Great Expectations, though, is that Cuaron is willing to acknowledge the tension that can exist between the young. There’s a scene where Finn and Estella kiss at a fountain, at a very young age. It’s daring in today’s society. It’s not in any way repellent or voyeuristic; it’s just the first note in the emotions that grow between them.

So… I guess I should go rent A Little Princess and see how he handles kids there. I love his movies. It’s just not clear to me that he’s going to be a good match for Harry Potter — or, I should say, the third Harry Potter movie. I have no doubts that Rowling is going to tackle romance in the later novels, but man, it’s not exactly a strong component of Prisoner of Azkaban. What’s a lush, romantic director like Cuaron to make of Hogwarts?

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