After the summer-long hype leading up to the new Harry Potter movie, I was expecting big things. This was one of my favorite books, and I was ready to see some of my favorite characters portrayed on the big screen. I even decided to dress up this year, and arranged everything to go as my favorite supporting character, Tonks. I even spray-painted my hair pink. And…
It was so…short. And sadly anti-climactic.
I made the mistake(?) of reading/listening to Order of the Phoenix again just before the movie came out. So of course I had all the details fresh in my mind, and was more inclined to realize right away when something was altered slightly/left out/spot on/way off. I didn’t remember reading the previous 4 books so close to movie time (except of course for the third, which I still maintain was the best adaptation yet), so maybe this was my problem. But I digress…
The film moved far too quickly for me. I understand that it’s hard to fit a 800-page book into a movie, but the strange part about this one is that it’s a SHORT movie – only about 2 hours long. I could have definitely sat there for another hour. And I can’t see that the short length could be attributed to the short attention span of kids – I wouldn’t take a child younger than 9 or 10 to see it. It was choppy, and I don’t think that Yates meshed the scenes together very well.
Harry’s dream sequences were skimmed over. His Occlemency lessons were vague, at best. A great part of that book was the goings-on in number 12 Grimmald Place, but all but five minutes were cut. Harry’s adolecent brooding scenes aren’t nearly as good. And the part that angered me the most (aside from Yates having Cho rat out the D.A.) was the end, where Bellatrix kills Sirius. I wanted that scene to make me cry. Instead, it made me furious.
I believe that a film adaptation should be accessible to everyone, even the people that didn’t read the book, and Tom was confused several times because of the fast pacing. Yes, a lot of the people that go see this movie will have read the book, but not everyone. What happens to a film adaptation when it only truly makes sense to those who read the novel? What has a director done when he has left out so much of a story’s soul that it has been reduced to snapshots and vague references?
I can’t believe Rowling approved this adaptation. I can only hope that Yates doesn’t slaughter The Half Blood Prince as badly, since he’s already been tapped to direct it. Only time will tell, I suppose, and now it’s time to ride the wave of hype into next weekend, for The Deathly Hallows. I’m counting on Jo to scoop me out of my Order of the Phoenix slump.