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Blog For A Beer: Not Down With A Brown Harry Potter (Or Prince of Persia)?

Warner Brothers is suing a Bollywood film company because the title of their film is ‘Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors’ and Warner Bros. thinks that name is too much like Harry Potter.

Seriously.

Yet the film has nothing to do with wizards or magic. It is a Home Alone-style story. And according to the article, Hari is a common Indian name, and “puttar” means son.

Meanwhile, a quick search of the ethernet (purely as research for this article, I assure you) reveals that there are a number of porn movies that are actually based on the Harry Potter films:

Hairy Pooter and the Sorcerer’s Bone

Harry Potter in Hermione’s Chamber of Secrets

Etcetera. Or perhaps these are proposals for porn movies. Either way, I’m certain that Harry Potter-esque porn exists out there someplace.

Yet I have not heard anything about Warner Brothers going after them . Which made me wonder to what degree this is also because they object (consciously or unconsciously) to Bollywood applying ethnicity to their white character and English character name? Perhaps some racial prioritization process in their unconscious, kind of like the difference between people’s reaction to the Russian invasion of Georgia (aka Russian defense of South Ossetia ) versus the ongoing genocide in Darfur ?

Well, Warner Bros. and Rowling did, in fact, go after a Russian knock-off of Harry Potter (Tanya Grotter). So arguably not. On the other hand, a book series featuring a female heroine who wears round spectacles, flies a magic musical instrument, and attends a school for young witches is one thing. Suing over a vague resemblance to a name is another.

On a side note, there’s the fact that Rowling herself “arguably” borrowed from many sources to create her series. Two notable ones are Gaiman’s ” The Books of Magic ” comic series, and the 1986 move Troll. Yet she is not being sued for plagiarism — probably because she made a lot of people a lot of money. There is, I suppose, the argument that no idea is truly original, it is just how well and cleverly you use the idea that counts. But in fact, I suspect it has more to do with how much money you make than with quality or similarity, etcetera. After all, Rowling has graciously chosen not to sue fanfic writers, as long as they don’t try to publish their work for profit.

In fact, I’m sure it really all does just come down to money, like everything else in Hollywood. That is, everything except the excellent Star Wars: Clone Wars, of course. Obviously, they released that because it was a much needed and well-done addition to the Star Wars saga, right?

Basically, Harry Potter porn movies don’t compete for the same box office money as the real Harry Potter movies, and aren’t likely to be marketed to the same audiences in competition with actual Warner Bros. movies, so no real impact to Warner Bros.’ bottom line.

And possibly some of the producers quite enjoy them.

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Movie News: No Catwoman Cher, “The Fly” Opera, SF Summer Movie Roundup

And More

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No Objectivity: Copperhead

Well, the time has come for me to face another battle with the Sci-Fi Channel. This time, their weapon is an army of horrible CGI copperhead snakes speeding across the open West. My weapon is the candlestick, in the library.

We open with a man on a horse! This is a good sign; forty-five seconds into the movie without something stupid happening. Just a man on a horse. Maybe this will be a really minimalist Western that brings forth ideas of the individual versus nature!

Oh, nope, that was a fleeting dream. Our Hero comes across some overturned wagons and their hella-dead former occupants. (They’re brown people! We won’t be seeing them again, so you should just get excited about it right now.)

“La serpienta,” one croaks upon seeing Our Hero.

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Blog For A Beer: Star Wars

Let’s talk about Star Wars for a little bit. Last week The Clone Wars opened to almost universally bad reviews from critics and some fans. But as it’s meant to be the lead-in for a TV show, we can expect more of the same every week (yay?).

I keep wondering why this movie (and show) is needed, considering the high quality of the Clone Wars mini series that Genndy Tartakovsky did for the Cartoon Network. Of course, those were short action pieces — reminiscent of Samurai Jack, a show I loved — and not a full-length series. Still, how much more can Lucas eke out of this period of Star Wars history, especially considering that we already know how it all ends?

What do you think, Fantasy readers — has The Clone Wars driven a stake into the already weak heart of the Star Wars franchise? Or is there still more life left? Should it be left alone for another 20 years? Maybe we’ll have all forgotten how bad The Phantom Menace was by then.

Or maybe not.

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Behind the Scenes of Coraline

Months and months ago, some early footage of the Coraline stop-motion movie was released online to much cheering from Coraline and Neil Gaiman fans:

Now Focus Features has just released new behind-the-scenes featurettes (thanks SciFi Wire!) about the movie, which just serves to make us want to watch it even more. Sheesh! The premiere is still many months away. Until then, we’ll just have to watch these over and over.

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Movie News: Coraline Almost Done; Watchmen Images Released; Fantasy Movie Bands

And More

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Blog For A Beer: Nice Guy Vampires?

This week we’re interested in hearing your thoughts on vampires — specifically your feelings on how the popular conception of vampires has changed down the years, from folklore to Dracula to Lestat to Angel to the newest, hottest vampire to grace the shelves: Mr. Sparklypants himself, Edward (of the Twilight series). If you’re not familiar with the Twilight series (the fourth book just came out a couple of weeks ago), you can get the overview from Wikipedia or in-depth summaries and discussion on LiveJournal (where else?).

Obviously the vampire as Nice Guy (or even Nice Guy™) resonates with a lot of readers and viewers — Angel (on Buffy), Nick from Forever Knight, Edward, Louis. Vampire as Nice but Slightly Dangerous Guy also resonates — Angel (on Angel), Spike, Lestat.

But where do you think this trend is going? What will vampires be like in another 10 years? Still sparkling in the sun? And, more pointedly, is the current trend a good thing? Or have we already de-fanged the vampire too much in order to indulge in the sexy danger that is a hot guy with a lust for blood (and heaving bosoms)?

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Half Blood Prince Trailer

I’m sure most die-hard fans have already noticed that the official trailer for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is out. For those of you less keyed in to these things, check it out here.

What I love about this trailer is that it’s more like a horror movie teaser than a kids movie one. Obviously the books and films grew up with Harry, but this thing is actively creepy and scary. That kid playing young Tom? Ack. If they can sustain that level of creepy and wrong throughout the scene I will be very impressed.

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The Jeremiads: Twenty Things I Learned From Bad 80s Genre Films

When I was a kid growing up in the 1980s, my father had an obsession with taping bad movies off of HBO and Showtime. Let me explain for the young among us–we used to have these things called VCRs. Think of them as a primitive form of TIVO. When you wanted to record something, you had to put in a tape, which might hold a pathetic six hours on the lowest quality. You had to program the time by hand and pray that it would come on and record what you wanted to watch. And then when you went to watch whatever you recorded, you spent the first thirty minutes adjusting something called “tracking,” which you never got quite right no matter how hard you tried. Also, we had to walk to school, uphill, in six feet of snow. Get off my lawn.

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Movie News: Flash Gordon; Dorian Gray; The Mummy