Several people have been asking for my opinion on the new Harry Potter flick. I’m sorry to admit that I haven’t actually got round to seeing it yet, but I would also be lying if I suggested it was top of my list of priorities. Then again, Jane hasn’t seen it yet either and she is (allegedly) a fan. I’m told she reads the books and everything. On that note I’ve found myself around far too many groups — nay, covens — of people who prattle on about how no one should see the film until they have made sure they have read the book first else they will never be able to follow it. Bollocks to that. I’m sorry to shatter your delusions but that book is 636 pages of J.K. Rowling’s meticulously marketed rambling and not all of us have time to waste reading it. I’m perfectly satisfied with the idea that I may not understand the relevence of several shots and images in the film if it saves days of my life.
The honest truth is that I don’t enjoy the books: I don’t like the writing style. I have only read the first two in any great depth, and am told the second was particularly bad by most fans (who, if I recall, seemed to think it was the greatest thing since sliced Quidditch when they first read it). Nevertheless upon flicking through any of the weightier subsequent tomes I find that the author rambles more than Anne Rice. And that’s saying something. It’s true that most modern literature is overlong and poorly edited down, but its forgivable where the style is so flamboyant or captivatingly beautiful that they get away with it. For me, Potter is not one of those examples. Do not misunderstand me. This is not an exercise in Potter-bashing (wait, that just sounds wrong). Far from it: I quite understand them being read by those who enjoy that sort of thing. I merely wish to point out how presumptuous it is to expect every filmgoer to read the damn thing before daring to set foot inside the cinema. That’s like ordering every Lord of the Rings fan to read the virtually unreadable Silmarillion* before being allowed to watch Peter Jackson’s movies so that they have a full understanding of the backstory to Middle Earth. No thank you. I’m perfectly content to miss out and just enjoy myself when the time comes.
*I knew someone who voluntarily gouged out their own eyes after a few dozen pages, although I’ve never made it that far in myself.
6 December 2005 at 4:14 pm
P! You weren’t supposed to blow my cover!
To all you Potter fans out there, Priyan was just KIDDING. *cough* I really have seen the film, I promise. Saw it TWICE, actually. *looks shifty* It was particularly cool when, umm, Harry, like, used magic and stuff…Yeah.
And correction: The Silmarillion is not “virtually unreadable”…it’s punishment in a book. If I was locked in a cell with only the Silmarillion to read, I would also voluntarily gouge my eyes out, as they would be useless anyway.
Oh God. I’m proud to say I braved 10 pages before I ran screaming from the room, and the book went on to serve as a shelf for the enjoyment of slinkies after that. *shudders*
6 December 2005 at 4:18 pm
And if anyone else has their own Silmarillic horror story, please feel free to share…
6 December 2005 at 9:26 pm
I’ve read the whole of the Silmarillion…twice…
And I really don’t think you need to read the books to get the film. I reckon the film makes *less* sense if you read the books.
7 December 2005 at 1:16 am
Oh, Mr Fancy Pants over here.
…*runs off to find the slinky again*
7 December 2005 at 2:42 pm
I don’t know about the film making less sense if you’ve read the book. I think there were bits that you needed to have read the book for to understand the relevance of certain bits.
I’d also like to apologise to the people that I went to see the film with for correcting every single deviation from the text in an exasperated voice.
7 December 2005 at 3:27 pm
Yeah you can follow the story fine alone, I just imagine it would seem a but flat. Don’t go read the book if you can’t be bothered, but other ppl’s excited ranting may seem a bit odd, ‘coz it’s just way nicer when u have! 😉
*is glad didn’t go to film with adman*
7 December 2005 at 8:52 pm
If you don’t know the plot don’t read this, spoilers abound.
When you read the book then watch the film certain bits of the film don’t make any sense, like:
How did Barty Crouch…JUNIOR!…escape from Azkaban? And how the hell did no one notice?
How did Voldemort find out about the tournament?
What’s the dillio with Neville and the cruciatus curse?
Plus Fleur Delacour was meant to be hot…what happened!? And also, there are a bunch of things that are going to have to be cut from the next movie, because non-readers won’t ‘get’ them.
10 December 2005 at 12:01 pm
Totally agree with Rob. Is exactly what I tell everyone. Though I think the criticism of Fleur was a bit on the harsh side.
Definatly see a lot being cut for example the fact that Fleur marries Bill. Bill gets his face mauled. Oh and Bill completly (well probably).
Why can’t they just make the films 4 hours long and have an interval like the good old days.