Monday 12 May 2014

Devouring Films: Harry Potter 3-8

Oh heyyy guys, remember when I watched the first two Harry Potter films, said mean things about them and then never mentioned them again? Yeah, me neither, but it happened and then I watched 6 more movies in less than a week, and then went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour and enjoyed it a lot more than, well, any of the movies, which is pretty weird, if you ask me.

But anyway- for the sake of consistency and summing things up, and because I still haven't processed the awesomeness of the Harry Potter Tour, here are some really brief thoughts on the rest of the films.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This was the first of the films that I actually kind of, well, liked. There I was, all ready to liveblog(ish) its ridiculousness, but then Aunt Marge got blown up and I was impressed and also, you know, I loled. There were a lot of things I could have complained about, but I kind of just decided to go with it and ended up enjoying it plenty. Lupin was well cast, Dumbledore was so disappointing, and the dual climaxes were great. A personal highlight was Snape standing in front of the kids when Lupin got a bit... Wolfie, but that's just because I have an Alan Rickman fetish. However- there was not enough stuff in Hogsmeade! I'm pretty sure we never get to see Honeydukes, and how amazing would that set have been? Really amazing, is the answer.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I've probably said this before, but Goblet of Fire is my favourite book of the series. I think it's the best structured, the ending is still SO good a bazillion readings in, and just yeah. It's great.
The film is not so great. It starts ridiculously, where they're AT the Quidditch World Cup but you don't actually get to see any Quidditch, and it doesn't really get any better from there. I wanted to like
it so badly, but I really just didn't. I don't even think that the three tasks of the Triwizard Tournament we done particularly well, and I feel like it should have been difficult to fuck them up since they were cinematic to start with. And apart from that... Look, I know that the House Elf subplot seems unimportant, but it's actually integral to so much that happens in the later books (ESPECIALLY The Order of the Phoenix) and, well, we kind of need it. A lot of time is spent on the Yule Ball, and that seems ridiculous, and I'm only glad they kept in the Prefects Bathroom because if they'd missed that out, I would be piiiiissed. I think, overall, I was so disappointed by it because I love it so much,
which isn't necessarily an unexpected thing (and actually I could say that about all of the films, really).

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I liked this more than the Goblet of Fire, but that's really the best I can say for it. This film is really where the House Elf omission comes into play because there's basically a glimpse of Kreacher and NOTHING ELSE, even though he's kind of instrumental in Sirius's death. That whole thing was ridiculous, and just falls apart if you really think about it, which I guess isn't expected of people who go and see blockbusters. The thing I was most pissed off about with this film, though, was being denied the chance to see Neville's parents (and, let's face it, Lockhart). So so so many characters stories are marginalised in the films, and I get it- it's all about Harry. But Arthur is still attacked, we could still have seen him in hospital, and it would have been incredibly moving to see Neville in the context of a boy who never really knew his parents either. It pissed me off, you know, a lot. And a lot more emotion is written off at the end too- without the conversation in Dumbledore's office after Sirius dies (without even having made Ron and Hermione prefects so he can go 'you see Harry, I thought you had more than enough responsibility to be going on with'), without the mirror that Sirius gave him that he could have used to check he was ok, without the conversation with Nearly Headless Nick... It's like every decision to cut something out was made to remove as much emotion from the equation as possible and I just... No. Dammit, films.
But still. At least they kept in Hermione saying Ron had the emotional range of a teaspoon. That made the cut. Oh, and Grawp. Because I'd much rather have seen FUCKING GRAWP than Neville's parents, Fucking films.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I don't hugely mind this film because I think it's a bit of a filler book, and there are
a couple of fun elements, namely luck-drunk Harry and Jim Broadbent- even though I kind of wanted him to be Fudge, he was pretty awesome as Slughorn. But. There are so many omitted Voldiememories that Dumbledore having Gaunt's ring is never actually explained, and the Voldiehistory is never fully given. A HUGE oversight is in never showing Snape's full role in the death of Harry's parents, so you never really feel the depth of his guilt (a lack of depth in these films? Never!) and never the depth of Harry's hatred. But that's ok, because I'm pretty sure we all wanted tons and tons of teenage angst that wasn't really in the books, as well as a completely invented fire at The Burrow because they couldn't be bothered to explore the rift between Percy and the rest of the Weasleys. And let's not even talk about Bill and Fleur because we'll get to that with the next film, so for now let's just be sad at how much Tonks and Lupin and their love is missed out of the films.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

There's a lot to be said for having split the last book into two films. It means that I get to moan less about the things they've missed out which is good because it means I can moan more about other stupid shit. Like let's try this: oh hi Bill, nice to meet you, it's very important that we know you've been mauled by a werewolf and Fleur still loves you for it, even though that was a storyline from book six that isn't even important anymore. But, I guess we still need your wedding for, like plot. And hey Tonks and Lupin, nice to see you except oh, yep, you're gone again. Ok. SO. The whole bit in the Ministry of Magic was really good. The bit in Godric's Hollow was especially creepy, and Ron stabbing the Horcrux was great. The set pieces, basically, were really good, and Dobby's reappearance to die was, you know, accurate but slightly odd because we're supposed to care about Dobby why at this point? If this film didn't have so much Bellatrix, I would be even more pissed.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two

There are a few things I hate about this film. I hate that weird flying bit with Harry and Voldie near the end, I hate that we don't get to see Fred's death, I hate that Luna's role as the one who really protects and sees what Harry needs is taken away, and I hate that Neville's moment of glory is taken away by a scrabbling chase of the snake. But the rest of it? It's kind of not that bad, I guess. I'm down with Snape's memories, even though I don't think the films as a whole do enough to make you hate Snape, so there isn't as much to be redeemed. The scene in Kings Cross with Dumbledore is pretty good, and the bit in the woods definitely made me teary. If there's one thing the films do do well, it's showing how deeply the loss of is parents affects Harry and everything he does, so there's plenty to get teary about. The end though, on the bridge? That was fucking ridiculous, right?

So. I think. I probably did, in the end, kind of enjoy the films more than these mini reviews let on (as in, more than not at all) but I just feel like they could have been so much better- I'm not asking for them to be as good as the books, because how could they be, but still, I wanted them to be better. What I'm kind of looking forward to is a complete reimagining of the films- maybe with one director taking her vision of the books the whole way, maybe putting a little COLOUR into them, and maybe just doing them... Differently. Harry Potter is just such an enduring story that I can bear these films better if I think of them as the first attempt of an imagining of the books, rather than the definitive one. If they can remake Spiderman and Batman all the damn time, then why not this?

Harry Potter TV show ftw, anybody?


  1. Saying you have an Alan Rickman fetish is redundant because EVERYONE has a Rickman fetish, it's just part of life. And if they don't, well, they're probably not actually real people at all so it doesn't matter what they say.

    I have a soft spot for the films because I love that they were made, but I used to rant and rave after seeing each one at the cinema because of all the things they missed out or changed. But now that enough time has passed I basically turn to them as a source of comfort when I can't be bothered to actually read the books but need some HP nourishment in my life.

    1. I only have an Alan Rickman as Snape fetish though, Kayleigh! Any other time, I don't really think about him, but with these films I'm like 'where's Snape? What's Snape doing? I LOVE YOU AR!'

      I can definitely see myself turning to these films for a bit of HP comfort, even if they're not perfect. Because Snape is perfect, and Daniel Radcliffe is actually a pretty good Harry and yeah. They're bad, but they're still weirdly comforting.

  2. I would say we should do a HP watch-along although doesn't sound like you'd be too into that. Unless of course it involved us collectively bitching about all the missing stuff. But maaaan, if they were to do a TV show, I would be 100% for that.

    1. IMAGINE HOW GOOD A TV SHOW WOULD BE!! The things they could include! The subplots! ALL OF THE STUFF!! Come on, HBO, get it together.

    2. Now that you mentioned HBO I just picture some weird Harry Potter/Game of Thrones hybrid

    3. One of the things that really made me sad about the films was that because they had to cut so much from the books to make the films a decent length you mostly missed all the fun school/non-danger stuff. They'd throw in a few scenes but mostly it was the ramped up action/mystery which is totally not even my favourite parts of the books. 7 seasons, 12 episodes in each, you could fit in so much brilliance and character development and FUN.