July 14, 2009

Pre-Potter Release Babble

I'll admit I've mustered up all of the excitement I can for the new Harry Potter movie, which I'm seeing on Thursday. Long ago I learned to just love the films for what they are: a visually stimulating summary of the main plot line that is action packed and appealing to all ages. The transition from literature to blockbuster just can't preserve all of Rowling's genius, and some of the interesting subplots and scenes won't fit into the three hour films. I accept it.

My only objection, though futile at this point, is that the movies really should not have been made at all until all of the books had been written. The first movie was released in 2001. At that point only four of the books had even been published. Rowling has a tendency for tying together unexpected elements from her earlier books, and I fear that when certain things were left out of the earlier films it may have prevented her from tying back to them in later books.

That may not make any sense, so allow me to provide an example from the movies. In the film adaptation of Goblet of Fire, the character of Rita Skeeter was reduced to her comedic role and the subplot of her methods of spying was cut out. Consequently, in Order of the Phoenix Rita could not be blackmailed into writing an article for Harry. The resolution of Harry's fight with Seamus Finnigan in the movie seems rushed and unfitting. A minor omission in one movie effected the story in a later one.

My worry, though it cannot really be proven, is that the omission of a minor plot or subplot development in one of the movies could have made Rowling re-think her plans for later books. The movies really should not have been made before the makers had seen how the entire series turned out. They had no way of knowing what elements would be central to the books that had not yet been written.

Well, what's done is done and all there is for me to do now is to enjoy the films for what they are and hope they didn't have too much affect on the novels. Any Series of Unfortunate Events fans might get a clearer feeling for what I mean by examining how Jim Carey did a terrible job of Count Olaf, yet in the later books the Count became quite Carey-esque. The movie should be based on the book, not the other way around.

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