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Proper adaptations

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  • Ernest S. Tomlinson
    I m probably going to get run out the list on a rail for suggesting this, but I think that Chris Columbus s Harry Potter movies are competent film adaptations,
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 31, 2002
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      I'm probably going to get run out the list on a rail for suggesting this,
      but I think that Chris Columbus's Harry Potter movies are competent film
      adaptations, especially the second film. Extraneous scenes are skilfully
      elided, Rowling's dialogue and situations mostly preserved, and, with one
      or two exceptions, the result shows no seams.

      One may argue, of course, that the source in this case is much more
      dilute than _The Lord of Rings_, and thus easier to condense.

      Ernest.
      --
      Ernest S. Tomlinson
      thiophene@...
    • David S Bratman
      Ernest called Chris Columbus s Harry Potter movies competent film adaptations. I don t entirely agree. I liked the books; I found the first film tedious.
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 1, 2003
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        Ernest called Chris Columbus's Harry Potter movies "competent film
        adaptations."

        I don't entirely agree. I liked the books; I found the first film
        tedious. That in itself is enough to remove it from competence in my
        book. I haven't seen the sequel.

        The first HP, like Jackson's LOTR, was very faithful visually to the book.
        Harry, _unlike_ LOTR, was also faithful to the details of the plot. But
        Harry, _like_ LOTR again, was _unfaithful_ to the tone and style of the book.

        In the case of Harry Potter, what was missing was in part the anxiousness
        of the wizards over Harry's birth and development, but mostly the light
        tone and humor which so enlivens the book. Except for a couple references
        to Every Flavor Beans (and surprise, surprise, I've seen them for sale),
        every joke, light touch, and humorous incident was either deadened or
        omitted altogether, and the scenes of danger and menace were Jacksonically
        enlarged grossly out of proportion (compare Neville's flight on the first
        day of broomstick training with the same scene in the book, and you'll be
        very surprised).

        - David Bratman
      • Ernest S. Tomlinson
        On Wed, 01 Jan 2003 10:42:46 -0800, David S Bratman ... I attributed the weakness of the first film partly to the weakness of the first book; Rowling had not
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 1, 2003
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          On Wed, 01 Jan 2003 10:42:46 -0800, "David S Bratman"
          <dbratman@...> said:
          > Ernest called Chris Columbus's Harry Potter movies "competent film
          > adaptations."
          >
          > I don't entirely agree. I liked the books; I found the first film
          > tedious. That in itself is enough to remove it from competence in my
          > book. I haven't seen the sequel.

          I attributed the weakness of the first film partly to the weakness of the
          first book; Rowling had not quite found her footing yet, and the story of
          _Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone_ is less coherent than her
          later stories, more obviously a collection of episodes and set
          pieces--and, as the very title suggests, bits cribbed from mythology and
          lore--the Philosopher's Stone, unicorns, centaurs, goblins, &c. _Chamber
          of Secrets_ is more original and a better story, and its film adaptation
          reflects this.

          > In the case of Harry Potter, what was missing was in part the anxiousness
          > of the wizards over Harry's birth and development, but mostly the light
          > tone and humor which so enlivens the book.

          It has been some time since I saw the film of _Philosopher's Stone_ and
          even longer since I read the book, but I think you're right; I don't
          remember that the movie had that light touch; considering that Chris
          Columbus had previously been known chiefly as a director of light
          comedies, this is curious.

          > Except for a couple references
          > to Every Flavor Beans (and surprise, surprise, I've seen them for sale)...

          <sigh> I have occasionally defended the Harry Potter books and movies,
          but the huge mercantile empire which has grown around Harry Potter is
          indefensible. It will be hard now to avoid the thought that Rowling will
          write the books in order to sell the movies, and the movies will be
          designed to sell toys.

          > ...and the scenes of danger and menace were Jacksonically
          > enlarged grossly out of proportion (compare Neville's flight on the first
          > day of broomstick training with the same scene in the book, and you'll be
          > very surprised).

          In that case, you'll probably not care for the second movie much either.
          The Quidditch match turns into a demolition derby, as the "rogue Bludger"
          smashes its way through wooden posts and beams. The boys' flight from
          the spiders in the possessed Ford is "Jacksonically" protracted.

          Cheers,

          Ernest.
          --
          Ernest S. Tomlinson
          thiophene@...
        • David S Bratman
          ... I don t agree with any of this: I found HP1 a better novel than HP2, which mostly just repeated it with less of the interest of novelty: only with the far
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 2, 2003
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            At 11:45 AM 1/1/2003 -0800, Ernest S. Tomlinson wrote:

            >I attributed the weakness of the first film partly to the weakness of the
            >first book; Rowling had not quite found her footing yet, and the story of
            >_Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone_ is less coherent than her
            >later stories, more obviously a collection of episodes and set
            >pieces--and, as the very title suggests, bits cribbed from mythology and
            >lore--the Philosopher's Stone, unicorns, centaurs, goblins, &c. _Chamber
            >of Secrets_ is more original and a better story, and its film adaptation
            >reflects this.

            I don't agree with any of this: I found HP1 a better novel than HP2, which
            mostly just repeated it with less of the interest of novelty: only with the
            far greater length of HP4 did Rowling allow herself space to do something
            new and interesting. And it wasn't the story, but the tone, that failed in
            the HP1 movie.

            >It has been some time since I saw the film of _Philosopher's Stone_ and
            >even longer since I read the book, but I think you're right; I don't
            >remember that the movie had that light touch; considering that Chris
            >Columbus had previously been known chiefly as a director of light
            >comedies, this is curious.

            Possibly he was slightly terrified by the weight of the responsibility he'd
            undertaken. Possibly it has something to do with the unfunny leaden
            quality of the one "light comedy" of his I'd seen, "Home Alone", a film I
            found so bad that only love of Harry Potter drove me to see his HP1.

            - DB
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