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Re: [mythsoc] Proper adaptations

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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