I’ve just been to see the latest Harry Potter movie and thought it was excellent. All the fun, action and adventure of the first one carried on in the second and I’d see it again. It’s strange though, because the whole Harry Potter phenomenon nearly passed me by.
The first I heard of him was when I found out that my girlfriend was reading the books. I thought it was ridiculous as they were children’s novels and she’s an adult. I then saw on the news that she wasn’t alone. Parents all over the country (and later the world) were reading the stories to their children and then continuing to read the stories themselves after the kids had fallen asleep. J.K. Rowling was earning millions and everybody was snapping up her latest work. Being a well-educated adult I’d never dream of reading a children’s novel so I stuck to Tom Clancy and Brett Easton Ellis. But when the first Potter film came out I went to see it and loved it.
The storylines are nothing that children’s novels like “A wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula Le Guin haven’t done before. There’s nothing clever about the characters and the plots are simple, like all children’s novels and Star Wars films are. But the appeal to both adults and children is quite something. Children love to use their imagination and the Potter books allow them to explore that imagination (I certainly used to when I was a kid). Adults love the books because they transport them back to their childhood days when they had such wonder for the world and dreams of wizardry, spells and adventure. Everyone’s a winner.
So I went to see the first film when it came out and I loved it. I also saw the “Lord of the Rings” film at about the same time which I found extremely disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great rendition of the book, but as a film I didn’t feel it stood up well on it’s own. Films are always somewhat different to books and that’s mainly because the narrative in books cannot always be directly converted into a visual format. So filmmakers need to change things around and pad things out a bit so that they make more sense to the viewer. This didn’t happen in “Lord of the Rings”, it was a very accurate representation of the book. Unfortunately some of the subtleties of the book, for example the background of the characters, didn’t translate well onto the big screen and I found myself really struggling to care about the players. I also found the story incredibly slow and tedious. I’ve seen a lot of films over the years and I’ve never found myself in such a state of disagreement with most people, who happen to think it was great.
Still, at least we agree about one thing. Harry Potter Rules!