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Re: [mythsoc] Proper adaptations

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  • 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 1 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 2 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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