Sunday, July 17, 2011
'arry Potter and the Zany Crackhead
Like Jeff, I'm a Harry Potter nerd and have read all of the books.
Brandon, I enjoyed reading your review; I found it both interesting and hilarious, and like Jeff said, it's fun to hear the perspective of someone who hasn't read the books. And running with that thought - I want to say that I can't understand why anyone who hasn't read the books could ever be emotionally invested in the films or enjoy them. And by that, I aim to be critical of the movies, and not of those who haven't read the books. Hell, a small part of me wanted to shrug my shoulders when Dobby, the elf, died - not because I'm a heartless bastard, but mainly because he only has like four scenes in the entire franchise! I also feel like every bit of magic - be it spells, potions, or magical means of transportation - was explained with a wink in the movies. It was almost as if the script and direction wanted to point out to the audience how ridiculous it all seems. I'm not sure if anyone else found this to be true...but I feel it's a valid, minor criticism.
Like Jeff said (and what seems to be the main criticism of most book-to-film adaptations), too many details are omitted and the story moves too fast. A common problem was that you had British actors trying to explain something quickly. At times, important details seemed mumbled to me. Jeff and I constantly joke about the fact that in each movie there seems to be exposition from the books that are mumbled in the background by a secondary character. For example: In beginning of the Goblet of Fire, no one ever says, "Hey, we're going to the Qudditch World Cup" (not that it should be worded like that because that's terrible writing). So those in the audience who haven't read the books don't know that that's what they're going until they arrive at the stadium and there's a offhand, mumbled VO line from one of Ron's brother saying something to the effect of: "Wow! I can't believe Dad brought us to the Qudditch World Cup." Sorry if that sounds like a rant - but the point is that while the readers of the book know where they're going, those who haven't read them are caught up to speed by poor writing and delivery. So again, I don't blame those who aren't invested by solely relying on the movie versions.
I've been very pleased with every adult actor's performance in the franchise - all great, especially Alan Rickman. Another criticism I have of the movies is that kids have been pretty poor (the exception being Emma Watson). Though I will say that everyone improved. Daniel Radcliffe is a better actor than he was five years ago, but he still struggles with the emotional scenes. I've really grown to like both Rupert Grint and the character of Ron over the years. Emma was great since the first film, and it will be interesting to see what kind of post-Potter career she has.
(Spoilers) I liked parts of The Deathly Hallows: Part 2. From the point where Snape is killed to when Harry comes back to life - I really loved...the best scenes in the franchise by far. Everything else - meh. However, I will agree that this is the best film out of all of them. I liked the pacing of it - never seemed to to contain too many dull moments and it just kept moving forward, which was nice.
And yes, totally agree with Jeff on the ending. Apparently Harry applied an anti-aging spell to himself after killing Voldemort. Or perhaps Ginny gave birth to a ten-year-old the following month. It was weird, though, because it looked like they applied wrinkles to Malfoy but they didn't bother with anyone else. Hmm...
Agreed Jeff - finishing the books is a moment I'll never forget. It was emotional; it was a hell of a lot of fun. Those feelings were never going to replicated while watching the movies, so really, I don't care about them too much. I don't feel forced to like them just because they're they only screen adaptations we have.
Definitely agree with Brandon that it's the director's/studios'/screenwriter's job to sell a film like this to those who haven't read the books. Had it not been for my ninth grade English teacher, I'd probably be in the same boat as you (we read the first book in class and I got hooked on them).
Anyways, it's all over now. Yes, it was mostly enjoyable - despite my embitterment.