After ten years and seven films, it’s a near impossible task to wrap up the Harry Potter franchise. As someone who’s never read the books, I sat down for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 expecting to say goodbye to the gang in their graves or living happily ever after. Ultimately, the piece does find an appropriate spot on that spectrum, making for a great series conclusion. Then again, that’s great as compared to something that I hoped would be excellent – just short of excellent that is.
Harry, Ron and Hermione (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) are back and in the midst of their Horcrux hunt. With Griphook (Warwick Davis) the goblin’s reluctant assistance, the trio infiltrates Bellatrix Lestrange’s (Helena Bonham Carter) vault at Gringotts where they suspect yet another Horcrux containing a piece of Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) soul hides. From there, it’s on to track down and destroy the remaining items, both of which are suspected to be at Hogwarts.
The trio arrives back at school to find Snape (Alan Rickman) has assumed the late Albus Dumbledore’s (Michael Gambon) position. Once Harry arrives, Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith), Neville (Matthew Lewis), Ginny (Bonnie Wright) and all of his old Hogwarts pals abandon their efforts to simply submit to their new headmaster’s oppressive regime and join Harry to fight back. Soon thereafter, Voldemort arrives, massive army in tow, and the Battle of Hogwarts begins.
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If you’re a fan of animated feature films, odds are, you’re familiar with the work of Kelly Asbury. Not only has he had a hand in a number of fantastic productions including The Nightmare Before Christmas and Kung Fu Panda, but both of the films he directed, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Shrek 2, were nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. Now, Asbury is out and about promoting his third directorial effort, Gnomeo & Juliet.
We’ve seen quite a few modern versions of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, but one featuring garden gnomes? You’ve got it. In Asbury’s film it’s the blue gnomes vs. the red gnomes of the gardens of the feuding Mrs. Montague and Mr. Capulet, respectively. Of course, Juliet (voiced by Emily Blunt) of the red gnomes meets and falls for the blue gnome, Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy), and that doesn’t go over well with the other residents of the garden.
With the help of his trusted team of producers, storyboard artists, animators and more, Ashbury tackled one of the most iconic stories in literary history using the most unusual characters. Not only did he recruit a top-notch cast of voice talent to bring his gnomes to life, but an impressive roster of recording artists to make the music particularly effective, too. So how do all these elements come together to make one movie? Asbury filled us in on the entire process from formulating the basic idea to getting his actors into the sound both all the way up to this very week when Gnomeo & Juliet finally hits theaters after four years of work. Check it all out in the interview below.
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