Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Never tell a bookworm the film is better

So, went and saw James Russell's talk on Harry Potter. Sold out. Understandably, he is a rather engaging speaker. You can actually understand what he's talking about and he just generally gives off the vibe of a good guy. So the talk had James himself going for it.

Next point, Harry Potter. I have to admit that I am a Potter nerd. I'm in love with the franchise. Granted, the books needed more editing and the acting was rather under-developed here and there; but the world Rowling made and the characters and the lessons they taught us... I'm a sucker for it all. So, Potter was another thing this talk had going for it.

I did learn a lot about the films I never knew before. I never realised that there were four different directors, although it seems pretty obvious now. I didn't realise that it wasn't purely Warner Bros that had exclusive rights to it - that actually it was through a smaller company owned by Heyman. These little facts were interesting for me, as any Potter info tends to be. Hey, I'm biased.

However, the warning at the start by Russell should have made me realise straight away that I would disagree with some of his views. He does not like the books as much as the films. Blasphemy in the house of Potterheads.

But I listened, I was fair and I gave the talk a chance.

The first two films were most definitely more products than films. That I agreed with. However, that just supported the books which were also over-edited and really just exposition for the rest of the series itself. Russell made sarcastic comments at the wonder and joy and random magic of the first film, which made me laugh but really they were the point. Harry was new to this world of magic and he was young; the cinematography and Hollywood style enhance Harry's own wonder and joy at this new fantastical world as any magic at that age must be wonderful. It worked well for these films.

The books themselves became less edited, with longer descriptions and expositions (that I quite honestly skipped over - I'm a bad fan) So it makes sense for the films to reflect that. The characters are growing up, becoming adults, so obviously the films would do the same in style to reflect the content. Yes, the changing directors cause the change but the books also contribute hugely to these changes. Making the first book a dark art film would have been an idiotic move just as much as making the final book into a happy Hollywood. You cannot disregard the material being used when it effected the films so greatly.

So, I am sorry, James. You had good points, but the books' influence can't really be ignored in the case of Mr Potter.

Elise Cook

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