So i finally saw the Harry Potter movie last night, with my family. Not an experience i’m eager to repeat.
The casting was generally good. Draco, Snape, Filch, McGonagall, and Hagrid were all well cast. (I’m glad i wasn’t familiar with any of the actors except Maggie Smith because that was distracting enough.) Draco is oh-so-fuckable. Oliver Wood is cute. No wonder i remember seeing “Sean Biggerstaff” (the actor who plays him) a lot when i was reading about the movie. (Though i happened to open the book to a page which contains the sentence “But Wood turned out to be a person, a burly fifth-year boy who came out of Flitwick’s class looking confused.” Cute as Sean Biggerstaff is, “burly” he is not.)
I’ve complained about the casting of Hermione from the beginning. She’s supposed to have big frizzy hair. The way her hair was essentially achieved the same effect, but i was disappointed. In the book she has buck-teeth, but i can forgive that omission. They certainly achieved the effect of having her look unattractive. This annoyed me because i don’t visualize her as unattractive, but that’s just me. Mostly i didn’t like that she looked bitchy. Her character came across as know-it-all and bossy but still vulnerable, but i really didn’t like how she looked.
Dumbledore just didn’t do it for me. In the book he’s this amazing mixture of being slightly mad, somehow knowing everything, being in a position of great authority and power but still bending the rules somehow. In the movie he’s just there.
I found this to be the main failing of the movie, the insufficient character development.
I definitely understand why i heard so many people complain that the bit with Neville getting the final ten points for Gryffindor to win the House Cup at the end means little because we haven’t seen him have trouble standing up to people, have only seen him botch some spells at the beginning. If you’re paying attention you know he’s a bit of a bumbler, but that’s all. That was my favorite scene in the book, but in the movie it really doesn’t mean much.
I know the movie was two and a half hours already, but it should have been about an hour longer. If you’re not willing to make it three and half hours to make it great, don’t make it.
I definitely understand why Ally hated the movie. I was very glad it had been a few years since i had read the books. A lot of stuff at the beginning i was complaining that it wasn’t true to the book.
- Draco and Harry meet at one of the shops in Diagon Alley. They dislike each other from the first, even before they know who each other is. Okay, this is a nitpicky omission.
- They cut the Sorting Hat song. Boo.
- The Sorting Hat is supposed to go in alphabetical order. Why was that changed?
- I found it problematic that the Sorting Hat says everything aloud. In Harry’s case there was debate. Why did that have to be broadcast to all the first-years? Yes the computer graphics on the hat were cool, and i did even like them, but they could still be utilized when the Hat announces each person’s house. The exchange between Hat and Harry is verbatim from the book, except that in the book it’s “said a small voice in his ear.”
- In the book, Dumbledore addresses the Great Hall to say a few words he says, “Welcome! Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” I was annoyed that this was changed because i really liked it in the book, but also because it adds a playful aspect to Dumbledore’s character, something which was largely missing from his characterization in the movie.
- They don’t have the bit where Harry asks Dumbledore what he sees in the Mirror of Erised and Dumbledore say, “I see myself hold in a pair of thick, woolen socks.” I loved that part!
- I understand why they changed the plot regarding Norbert. It would have taken an additional half an hour to have the plot with the kids sneaking Norbert to Charlie.
- Doesn’t Neville get a Screamer at some point, or is that in another book?
And a last few bits.
- I thought Harry’s scar was supposed to be in the middle of his forehead. That’s how I’ve seen it in pictures in the books. Is this specified anywhere in the text itself?
- It was interesting to hear some of the names like Hagrid and Slytherin, which were pronounced differently than i say them. Sometimes the British accent actually meant i didn’t know what was being said except that i knew it from the books.
- Still annoyed of course at the Americanization of “sorcerer’s” for “philosopher’s” stone.
- Yes, it’s a shame that the Peeves scenes didn’t look right and were therefore cut, but i really didn’t miss them.
- Some of the Christmas scenes reminded me of the end of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Later i learned Chris Columbus directed both this movie and Home Alone 2. I wonder if that had anything to do with it.
- I was annoyed that i already knew how a lot of the scenes looked from seeing ads or whatever (even though i really tried to avoid seeing any). No wonder Allison hid from all LoTR ads.
- Filch’s cat (Mrs. Norris) is never named, and we only hear Hedwig’s name in passing at the very end.
I want to reread the book now -- if for no other reason than to cement in my head the “right” way it is. I’m sure i’ll notice a hundred other little things that were changed.
Does the DVD have more cut scenes? I would be interested in seeing the supposed “hours and hours” of footage that got cut. The video only has 2 cut scenes. The couple minutes that were cut from the Potions scene were okay to be cut, but the cut scene with Neville would have helped lead up to his act of bravery at the end.
I have no real desire to see the future movies now.
Recently i’ve been finding that once i read a book i have no desire to see the movie. Like, i read The Virgin Suicides and it was good (though i wasn’t blown away) but having read it i had no desire to see the movie. I found out The Cider House Rules is a movie, but having read the book i have no desire to see the movie. Only if i have no desire to read the book would i be willing to watch the movie. Snow Falling on Cedars, for example. I looked at the book and was had no desire to read it. If someone really wanted to watch it with me i would be willing to give up a couple hours of my time, though.