Review: ‘We Are Wizards’

Josh Koury's shapeless docu "We Are Wizards" looks at the Harry Potter books' ability to send its fans into paroxysms of dorky self-expression.

Josh Koury’s shapeless docu “We Are Wizards” looks at the Harry Potter books’ ability to send its fans into paroxysms of dorky self-expression — and Potter detractors into lamentations of imminent doom. Lopsided pic deals with three areas of reactive empowerment — Potter-inspired “wizard rock” music, copyright infringement battles and right-wing religious crusades. Among movies about fans’ obsessive fixations on fictional universes, the film registers neither as bemusedly distanced as “Trekkies” nor as dramatically engaged as “King of Kong.” Meandering mindlessly, “Wizards” comes off as yet another humdrum Pottery artifact summoning the faithful to its Nov. 14 Gotham bow.

For chronically ill teen Heather Lawver, who successfully organized a boycott against Warner Bros. to counter their persecution of fan websites, Potter activism kept a life-threatening disease at bay. Mostly, though, pic gives short shrift to struggles with corporate giants and infinite space to fifth-rate spinoff bands. The music of the vaguely competent brotherly duo Harry and the Potters turns into a cottage industry, while tone-deaf 7-year-old Darious Wilkins wows auds with his juve punk rock. Meanwhile, evangelical Caryl Matrisciana combats sinister Hogwarts-bred mainstreaming of the occult, which threatens to “destroy society.”

We Are Wizards

Production

A Brooklyn Underground Films production. Produced by Gerald Lewis. Directed by Josh Koury.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Koury, Myles Kane, Gerald Lewis, Josh Walinski, Cris Moris; editor, Kane; music, Stan Oh. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Nov. 7, 2008. (In SXSW Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 79 MIN.

With

Heather Lawver, Melissa Anelli, Paul De George, Joe De George, Melissa Anelli, Darious Wilkins, Holden Wilkins, Ian Wilkins, Caryl Matrisciana, Brad Neely.
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