Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Potter and the Um of the What?

I went to see the new Harry Potter movie last night. I'm seeing it again on August 4th at the IMAX and believe me when I tell you that I enjoyed it a lot and will have no problems sitting through it a second time.

However, this was never going to be an easy adaptation. The book is ridiculously overlong and overextended. Boiling it down to two hours twenty minutes makes for some serious editing but it's been edited so much that it makes no concession for anyone unfamiliar with the source material. And while there's an argument that you shouldn't really be starting out with the fifth movie, a scooch more information here and there wouldn't have gone amiss. Two new characters are so diminished in the adaptation they should really have been written out altogether (Tonks and Luna). For the most part though, I had very little issue with the cuts and rewrites, but some of the edits will make adapting book 6 a little tricky.

Which affirms a belief I've been harbouring for a little while that the big screen is not the best medium for the novels. They should have waited until the final novel was published (five days to go!) and then the BBC, for example, should have adapted each book as a five part mini series. The later novels would have had the room to breathe that they really require instead of multiple plot strands and characters fighting for space. Also, starting the films before all the novels are published is a little tricky. How can they be sure that elements left out of the forth and fifth films aren't going to be important points in the final installment? Maybe in the due course of time, the mini series will become a reality, who knows? At least the acting in the fifth film was a massive improvement on the earlier films and the main offender for atrocious acting (Tom Felton's horrible HORRIBLE Draco Malfoy) had barely three minutes of screen time.


Eric said...

How can they be sure that elements left out of the forth and fifth films aren't going to be important points in the final installment?

Apparently, JK Rowling is acting in this regard. I Forget what I read and where I read it, but she cautioned they include something in Phoenix which was cut in the script and whch she said was necessary for the final book/film.

Now, as someone who enjoys the films MUCH more over the novels, I'm prepared to accept you don't start with what has, essentially, a serial plot (unlike, say, James Bond) at episode 5. That's shame on you if you do.
I think they did just fine introducing what they had to introduce and paring down the unecessary parts (Really, George Lucas, we didn't need another Quidditch match).
As for the pacing and tone...well, that's just to be expected in a series which, by the end of it, will have had about 5 different directors and 80-bazillion people adapting the novels.
And I can't believe they killed Hermione.

Popcultureboy said...

Yes apparently JK wouldn't let them write out Kreacher from the Phoenix movie, but one wonders why she didn't push for him to be included more in the film, as his purpose for being there was not included. Also, George Lucas? Do you mean Chris Columbus? And what's this talk of Hermione? Has it been leaked she's one of the deaths in book 7? I have been studiously avoiding any leaks and spoilers, though I have been enjoying the online theories.

Grouchbutt said...

I think the Hermione reference is a running gag on Joe.My.God. It's not a spoiler. I happen to know that the last book ends with Harry in a threesome with the Weasley twins. Oh, wait - that was a dream. And it wasn't Harry Potter. Never mind.