‘Harvey Putter’ goes to Snogwarts: first-ever Harry Potter feature film parody is absurdly entertaining
By Whitney Milam
HollywoodNews.com: You thought you knew everyone’s favorite scarred, messy-haired, bespectacled boy wizard. You thought wrong. And after watching Harvey Putter and the Ridiculous Premise, you’ll never look at Harry Potter the same way again.
The first-ever (and only) full-length feature film Potter parody, the ground-breaking Harvey Putter follows the titular punkish wizard celebrity (played to disaffected, hilarious perfection by Bryce Cone) and his friends Hernia Grunger (Sunny Williams) and Rod Cheesley (Joe Scheibelhut, whose exaggerated Rupert Grint facial expressions are likewise excellent) through their final twisted year at Snogwarts–made a little more complicated when Headmaster Alfus Mumblemore explains that they’re all just fictional characters in a mega-popular book series, and must unite all seven “Hortexts” in order to escape before the final chapter.
The ambitious film, over two years in the making and spoofing aspects from all seven books, is rife with tongue-in-cheek self-parody as much as it pokes good-natured fun at the series itself, with lines like, “If someone is writing a book about us, this idea really blows.” On the whole, however, Harvey Putter is remarkably clever. Rarely taking cheap shots or easy jokes, the film instead packs on the laugh-out-loud satire with everything from the Beaurocracy of Sorcery discussing WMDs (Warlocks of Magical Destruction), to an exaggerated self-mocking cameo by Emerson Spartz, creator of MuggleNet, to depictions of a Harveyland theme park and Harvey exploiting his ‘brand’ at every opportunity (Harry’s lightning bolt scar is now Harvey’s copyright symbol–and the spell Lord Moldymort uses in his ill-fated attempt to kill him is–what else?–copyrightus infringum). Even the great J.K. Rowling is not immune; “K.J. Bowling” makes a memorable appearance as an author harboring a burning desire to write romance novels who’s secretly a witch herself in the film’s climatic Stranger Than Fiction-esque conclusion.
Harvey Putter‘s warped re-imaginings of the characters Potter fans will know and love (or love to hate) are amusing and inventive. Highlights include Jim Hall’s spot-on caricature of Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape with Superfluous Snake, the pink-robed lotions master, and Brandon Emerson as Flako Mudfly, a lisping thespian with “superior theatrical breeding.” The sometimes lacking special effects only serve to further heighten the hilarity, and such loving detail went into the sets as a whole (the Squidditch match is spectacular, and the moving portraits are brilliant throughout) that it’s difficult to miss that this is a spoof clearly made by (and for) actual fans of the series.
It’s appropriate, then, that Harvey Putter makes his world premiere film debut this weekend at Harry Potter convention Infinitus–held this week in Orlando, Florida from July 15-18. The film will then screen at GenCon, the word’s largest gaming convention, in Indianapolis from August 5-8 before a limited theatrical release in the fall, just in time for Part One of Deathly Hallows.
Director Tim Richardson is confident that fan reception will be enthusiastically positive, saying, “As the film series comes to an end over the next year, it will be a perfect time to get our movie out there to the fans and give them something to laugh at and have fun with, as I’m sure they will be feeling rather bittersweet as the final chapter draws near.”