Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I can't help but compare.

I finally saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on Sunday (on IMAX, no less, but the 3D part actually gave me sort of a headache). I happened to also have finished the book up on Saturday evening, so I was completely refreshed in order to make a comparison. Yes, movie buffs would say this isn't the purpose, and I'm trying really hard these days to understand that films should not be direct copies of the books. But of course as a reader, it's hard not to make the comparison...

Anyway, some thoughts on both the book and movie.

Overall. Just overall, I appreciated book 5 a LOT more this time I read it, maybe because I'm older (ironic huh? Considering it's a children's book), and I understand more fully the lessons Dumbledore is trying to teach. As for the movie, sure it's a good movie, but I'm not sure how I felt about it. I liked it because it's HP, but if I weren't so biased, I don't know how I'd feel about it. Or, maybe, it's because I'm so married to the books that I didn't like it as much. I don't know.

Dumbledore. I miss the original Dumbledore in the first couple of movies. The new Dumbledore never struck me as what Dumbledore is all about. He doesn't give me that powerful yet gentle wizard feel. I always kinda felt like Dumbledore should be like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings. Wonderful but terrible. That sort of thing. When I re-read book 5 this time around, the chapter towards the end where he's explaining to HP about everything, well, that just made me cry for some reason. It didn't last time, but this time, it really hit home to me, from Dumbledore's point of view, how difficult it was for him, to watch this boy he really cared for have to go through everything, so much that he wanted to distance him and protect him as much as possible. Again, it's a testament to my age that I'm starting to sympathize more with the adults in the book (oh, Rowling, you give us ALL something in these books!), but I see so clearly Dumbledore's difficult position. This is why he is my favorite character in the entire series. I believe in so much that he believes in, and he is so powerful, so GOOD of a person, and yet in the end, he is also a human, with human emotions. And that's what makes him such a great wizard. The current guy who plays him just doesn't get all of this across.

Where's the sadness? Somewhat related - I wish they had kinda toned down the cheese. I mean, yeah, this whole episode is about Harry learning that what he has that old Voldy does not is emotions and empathy and care for other people. But in the book, he doesn't figure it out so cheesily. In fact, I don't think it even sinks in completely, Dumbledore tells him and it kinda bounces off of him, he's so blinded by grief. I actually think that's a really powerful scene in the book, when Harry is all screaming and throwing things and saying that he'd rather he didn't feel anything at all, and how no one understands and how he doesn't care, and Dumbledore just sits there and says, "You do, you care so much you feel like you're going to burst, it hurts so much," all quiet-like. I like that it never fully bounces off of him, but he's demonstrating exactly what Dumbledore is telling him. And I wish the movie had shown him more grief-stricken, instead of all quiet. Because you never really get how hard it hits home that Sirius is dead. You don't get that anguish that consumes the end of book 5. That sense of having lost a parent all over again. Which is what makes it so hard for an orphan like Harry. I'm sorry, but as a psych major, that's what interests me in these stories is the character development. Understanding these characters as humans is what is so extraordinary to me about this series, the place it all has despite it being a completely fictional world.

Cho. I didn't like at first that she was the snitch (not the golden one, unless you're talking about her complexion), but okay, fine veritaserum. Um, but I don't care what anyone says, I think she's super cute. And that was SOME KISS. Man I'll be sorry to see her go.

Umbridge. Was deliciously evil. Though, where can I get me some of those kitten plates??? Hahaha. But seriously. This was a strong point of the movie. She captured the essence of Umbridge's sugary evilness, but still somehow made it completely her own. I think that's what a translation to film should be. Retaining the essence of something but making it fresh.

No Quidditch?? Somehow I feel like that's terribly wrong. I sorta miss Ron doing his funny comic relief. No comic relief from him this time, and I think the movie really missed that. The guy who plays him (what's his name again? Too lazy to look it up) is so funny in his different expressions and reactions, that it's a shame they couldn't stick him in it a bit more.

Grawp. He was much more adorable in the movie than I pictured him in the book. Which I thought was a pleasant surprise. How lovable. I wanted to give his big toe a big squishy hug.

Voldy's possession of Harry. I couldn't stop thinking Star Wars when this scene was playing (well in the book too but the movie especially, since in the book Bellatrix is the one who goads him but here, Voldy comes into his head and does it). "She killed Sirius... she deserves it.. come to the dark side, Luke..." I guess these battles of good and evil are always about how giving into hate will consume you. I'm not saying I don't agree, but one can't help but feel it to be a bit repetitive. Oh, also on similarities, doesn't Kreacher make you think of Golum?

Snape's memory. I'm okay with the fact that he didn't chance upon it in the Pensieve, but I wish that they had done something with it. In the movie, he saw the memory, got his Occlumency lessons ended, and that was it. No mention of it ever again. Which is just sort of odd, because it totally leaves this loose thread hanging. No reaction to it or anything!!!

Ginny. If she's eventually to become Harry's true love in the next one, I would think they should have shown her evidence of becoming popular and outgoing this movie already. But all she did was be the Ginny we're used to, all quiet and gazing at Harry and stuff. No! Stop mooning after him! Guys pay attention to girls who don't pay attention to them !! (or so I've been told, as I've never managed to successfully test this theory myself...)

Rowling's use of words. Dorky thing I really need to mention - I LOVE Rowling's made up words (I'm assuming they're mostly made up) and the names she gives people. What makes her so good is that she's consistent and thoughtful down to the last detail. She makes up words consistent with etimological thinking. Even the spells themselves. I really think that's pretty effing great.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie, though I couldn't help comparing and wished for more, or wished they hadn't changed certain things.

Okay. Now that I've nerded myself out, all I can say is CAN THE SEVENTH BOOK COME YET PLEASE????

1 drops:

moonrat said...

i totally cried (like, hysterical sniffling) on the TRAIN on the way to work when i read the "Weasley is our king" scene in the book. wow, i'm tearing up just thinking about it now.

and YES!! that kiss was DIRTY!!

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