Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Harry Potter and the Theatre of Never Ending Sadness

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This week, the last Harry Potter movie makes its debut.

Seven books.  Eight movies.  Now, millions of fans finally get to see what will become of Harry.

And I can finally put my "this-movie-is-not-an-accurate-depiction-of-a-completely-magical-series-and-carries-none-of-the-same-wonderful-qualities-of-the-book" argument.

I'd like to say I fell in love with the books from the very beginning, but I actually didn't discover them until three volumes were already printed and popular.  By then, I just wanted to see what the fuss was about.

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When Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire made its appearance via a Barnes and Noble celebration, I was there.  I made a repeat performance for books five, six, and seven.  And, like any good friend, I forced Sheena and Kate to join me for a butterbeer in the lobby while we waited amid throngs of elementary aged people.  (Not to mention Big Bro who was an employee at B&N at the time and always made sure my name got on the reserved list.  In case you wanted to know, I would totally beat a fourth grader to get my copy of the book.)

I also stayed up all night to read each purchase.  Because I'm actually 12 years old.  Or I have the literary taste of a sixth grader.  Whichever you prefer.

I did, however, feel connected to the characters.  If Rowling can be commended for anything, it should be for her ability to draw readers into a story and get them to commit to the imaginary people she fleshed out over the course of a couple thousand pages.  I felt for Harry.  I cheered for Neville.  I wanted to be admirable like Luna (though, a little less weird).  Smart like Hermione.  Accepting like Ron.  Farsighted like Dumbledore.  (We'll stop here before I list every single character from the book. I would TOTALLY be willing to do that.  Every.  Single.  One.)

It's my commitment to those characters that makes me despise the movies with everything in me.  Three of the major actors have admitted they've never read the books.  If you read the article, you'll note that the actors who play Dumbledore, Snape and Voldemort haven't read the books because they feel it's enough to follow the screenplay.  Unfortunately, there is a personality that has been created and sustained--and that personality will be clearly played out in the books, guys.  You know.  The ones you refuse to read because you don't see it as necessary.

I waited in line to see the very first Harry Potter movie.  I almost wet myself in anticipation of seeing the mesmerizing words play out on the big screen.  Thirty yawns in, I realized the film misses something--and I don't just mean actors who don't capture the characters and scenes that don't quite match up to their literary counterparts.  There's just something that isn't quite right.

Now, I just reread the books almost every year.  Every time I put them down I feel a little sad that it's all over again...but I find the result of the fight between good and evil exhilirating--and that's a feeling I never got sitting in the theatre (Which was totally not the case with Lord of the Rings.  But that's another topic for another day.)

I'm just asking...because I need to offer my two cents... please, don't make your judgments on the movies.  I'm afraid they are a sad substitute for the real deal.

1 comment:

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

You put this so much better than I did. I love the way Hogwarts looks in my head, Emma Watson looks nothing like Hermione and I shudder to think what movie people might do with my beloved Dobby!