The Film of the Book

10 Dec

Okay, so now that I’m less distracted by other Snuff… er… stuff, back to Harry Potter. *Le sigh*. The remaining books of the series (aka the doorstops) are weighing on my mind (and on my desk), so what I think I will do is intersperse them with other books. After polishing off Prisoner of Azkaban, I’ll probably go through The Little Prince over Christmas, then start To Kill a Mockingbird in the new year.

Meandering back in the general direction of the topic, PoA is the first book that differs significantly from the film it is based on*, sadly to the film’s detriment. It’s also the first with Gambon!Dumbledore after the untimely passing of Richard Harris (who personally I feel was more Dumbledoreish).

While people seem to have appreciated the increase in style – the feeling that who is directing the film actually makes a difference – several relevant plot details have been left out that could have been covered in a few lines of dialogue. It marks the point at which people who haven’t read the books are going to start being a bit lost when watching the films. Does that matter? I mean, it’s generally considered okay for a sequel to assume people have seen/read the previous work (indeed, it may even have spoilers for earlier works – which is why prequels can be awkward, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish that I may cook up when I get to Narnia…), but should a movie assume people have read the book it is based on?

Although perhaps I’m being a little unfair. This is Harry Potter, after all; one of the biggest, most popular series in recent memory. It’s a unique phenomenon (*doot do de do doo*). That doesn’t mean it’s immune to criticism, just that it’s managed to get away with things that other productions may not.

I found it very interesting that one of the reviews of the last film talked about the idea that the current films probably won’t be the only versions ever made (think of how many Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes films there have been), and speculated on what other versions may result in 20, 30, 50 years time. What would they do differently? Obviously, adaptation decisions have to be made as things that work in a book don’t necessarily work on screen, but what other way could things have been done? Could it become a mini-series rather than films, thus allowing them to include more of the sub-plots (although that may hinder rather than help *coughOrderOfThePhoenixcough*). Interesting to ponder about.

* Heh.

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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Harry Potter


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