Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Harry Potter Countdown: Highs and Lows of the film series

Each Wednesday until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2 comes out I'm going to dedicate a post to an aspect of the series. Anyone who wants to join in is welcome, just let me know in the comments!

Today's topic is: Tell us your favourite and least favourite aspect of the film series.

Dear creators of the Harry Potter film series (for there are too many of you to name individually),

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that the films were a constant sore spot for me, always omitting my favourite scenes or changing events to better suit a 'movie environment'. Even so, they've always had a special place in my heart, you obviously meant well, brought HP to even more people and it was nice to see one of my favourite book settings actually created. Since the final installment is approaching I thought I'd level with you and tell you some of the bigger issues I had with the films and some of the things I thought were...magical. So first up is a biggie, don't get all offended, I'd very much appreciate if you'd read it all and perhaps answer a few of these questions for me.

Harry doesn't have green eyes... This one actually made my blood boil. I don't care about many of the other characters, change their race or hair colour or blend them with another small character whatever, Rowling generally left those sort of descriptions to the reader's imaginations, but a select few things had to be honoured. The Weasleys must all have red hair, Hermione's hair should be big and bushy (well at least you tried for a couple of movies) and Harry has to look like his father, except his eyes, he has his mothers eyes. That detail is drummed into you just about every second line in the first book, every time Harry meets a new character they exclaim that he looks so much like James, except his eyes he has his mother's GREEN eyes. Sure, maybe you don't want to stick contact lenses on an 11 year old kid, I've never worn them but I sure as hell don't want anything on my eyes thank you very much, so I appreciate it if he didn't either. But it is so easy to edit that sort of thing post-production, at least in the close ups and especially on the DVD cover! When I saw he had blue eyes I had to wonder whether you'd actually read the book or just had someone describe the main plot points, but even then surely the person would mention his eye colour since it is mentioned 1003836589602745832 times in book 1 alone!

Why did Draco need the vanishing cabinets... if you're going to go and cut the reason he fixed them? The reason he slaved over them for so long was so he'd have some backup when the inevitable battle began. He didn't need the deatheaters to kill Dumbledore, that was his job and he had Snape to rely on if he wimped out thanks to the unforgivable curse. By eliminating the presence of the Order of Phoenix and the aurors around the castle you eliminated any chance for battle and therefore made the deatheaters redundant. All the Deatheaters did was watch Dumbledore die and then break some windows and swagger across the great hall, and Draco just seemed like an angsty little wiener. If you're going to change the plot, and by all means do, you have to clean up all the plot threads, not just eliminate a scene you aren't keen on, because that's simply messy, lazy and unprofessional.

Uhhhh, where are the robes and silly attempts to dress like muggles? Because I feel like you missed a fairly significant comedic element to the books by having them all dress like muggles all the time. Way to fail at demonstrating the difference between wizards and muggles visually guys, again...did you actually read the books? I'm sure it would have been super difficult with your teeny budget to sew up the front of the Hogwarts wizard capey-graduation gowns you had them wear and surely sewn up bathrobes would have been a viable option for the adults, right? Also wizarding dress robes are not tuxedos. You're taking the magic and whimsy out of the series guys, you do realise that's part of the reason it has so many fans right? The whimsy and the freaking magic. It isn't all about fighting Voldemort to the death.

But it isn't all bad Mr/s HP film people. A few moments really shone through, even for a cynical Harry Potter traditionalist like me. For instance, Voldemort... holy crap guys well done!

Ralph Fiennes was such an amazing choice for Voldemort! I'd never have guessed it, but he perfectly portrayed the calculating and horrific nature of Voldemort and that cold sense of propriety and dry humour? Wow, a really great addition to his character, reminded me a lot of my other favourite bad guy all dressed in black, you know, the one from a galaxy far, far away? Yeah, Darth Vadar, he had that whole creepy icy politeness thing going on as well. But back to he-who-must-not-be-named, his voice, his look, his mannerisms...superb. Pat yourselves on the back because I can't really fault you guys for Voldemort, not one bit.

Oh but uh-oh, that reminds me of another negative.

What was with everyone flying in HP and the Order of the Phoenix? That was meant to be something special only Voldemort (and later Snape) could do. Sure you guys weren't to know because I think that film might have completed before the final book came out (though please don't quote me on that), but why would you add something like that? What was wrong with people duelling with their wands? Don't tell me you guys thought this was a more visually exciting way to go because personally I was really bored watching white and black smudges fly across the movie screen, so if that's the case you failed.

Right but I was trying to concentrate on the good points. So yeah, Voldemort was great.

Actually I think most of the casting was pretty inspired. Sure the kids were a little bit terrible in the first few movies, but they were kids and it's to be expected to an extent, and they definitely grew into their roles. The adult cast, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, David Tennant, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman...look you'll be hearing no complaints from me. I love them all for being a part of this series, and they did Rowling and the characters they played proud. Bravo film makers, bravo.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (part 1) was (almost) perfect. I know, high praise right?! But I seriously thought you did an amazing job of condensing the first half of that novel into an exciting and emotional film. To be honest I don't really enjoy the first half of Deathly Hollows in the book, it's a whole lot of waiting and walking and whinging. But you guys condensed it so we understood how much time had passed and what sort of effect it was having on Harry, Ron and Hermione without feeling like we wanted to bash our heads into the seats in front of us in boredom. I thought the slight change of the chronology of the events meant the film ended on a thrilling climax that will make the opening scenes of part 2 all the more impressive. This was the first Harry Potter film I walked away from not feeling a little disappointed, so please accept my gratitude and sincere thanks for a rollicking good flick. Also, I totally cried when Dobby died, and not just once but each of the four times I saw it in the cinema. I expect to cry far more in the next film, don't let me down guys, I'm already stockpiling tissues.

I think I might leave it there. Now you have an idea of your flaws and values, so perhaps when you decide to remake the Harry Potter series in 10 or so years time (don't pretend like you aren't already thinking about it)  you can take some of it on board.

Sincerely yours in magic and all things Harry Potter,

So....I kind of got carried away and couldn't keep it just to a favourite and least favourite aspect of the films. What did all of you love/hate about them, are my complaints really petty and ridiculous or did some of them really piss you off too? Tell me all about it in the comments, or write your own post dedicated to the wonders and horrors of the film adaptations!

Next week (22/6/11): This post will be dedicated to our favourite Potions master, Severus Snape! Do you love him or loathe him? Should he have ended up with Lily? Was he truly good, or still swayed by Voldemort to the end?


  1. Just posted the prompt for tomorrow. It's both on the left sidebar and on the "Extras" page.

    I won't forget to participate in the HP Countdown this week. It completely slipped my mind last Wednesday. Also, next week's topic makes me insanely happy. I may have to keep myself in check so that I don't end up writing a novel. LOL

  2. Novel it up if you have to, the more I read about Snape and what other people think about him the happier I am!

  3. Honestly, I wouldn't even know where to start on a topic like this. I alway ended uP re-reading the series right before a new movie release which only inspired me to pick apart the movie more. Nice work this week... Hope the future directors of the remakes are paying attention!!!

  4. I usually reread the book the movie was adapting and then after watching the film I'd go back and read all the others. It just made the movies pale so much in comparison!

  5. Ohhhh I love this post!! We already have our tickets for the midnight showing!


    XOXO Angela's Anxious Life

  6. Great post! I agree with you about the adult casting, they are amazing in these movies. My favorites are Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, and Gary Oldman. The thing that I really didn't like about the movies was that they left out Peeves. I always loved his parts in the books.

  7. I know what you mean Anne, I had been eager to see how they'd make Peeves look since he never had a particularly clear form in my imagination. I was beyond disappointed when he wasn't included.

  8. @My Anxious Life, I haven't got mine yet, I would have gone with my sisters (since they're suitably potter mad) but they're both going to be away so I've been trying to convince my boyfriend to join me, without much luck so far!

  9. This is an awesome review that I'm sure you spent a lot of time researching! Thanks for posting it, because I only read the first two books and saw the first three movies, mostly because my son was the one so into Harry! I immensely enjoyed the first book the most of anything I am familiar with. Rae

  10. Thanks Best O' Books, most of it was stuff I just know/obsess over. Harry Potter has been my life for over a decade now!

  11. Sorry, Rae. I didn't notice your name at the end of your message!

  12. It's so awesome to see someone who loves Harry as much as me, LOL.

  13. Just stopping by to say hello and take a look around.

    I am having a Father's Day giveaway on my blog if you would like to stop by.

    Hope you can visit.


  14. I am sorry I missed this week's post, but I already have my answers all set up for next week! Next week's question is awesomee, and I had to stop myself from writing too much, as Snape is obviously a topic of much controversy throughout HP.

    Thanks again for this fun opportunity to talk about HP, which is one of my favorite passtimes. :)


  15. Hi Amanda, I can't wait to read your Snape post! I think it'll be a good week, I know Gabe will most likely be writing a huge post since Snape's his favourite character!



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