Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Why the Differences?

Let me start out by saying that I am both an avid reader of books, and a movie watcher ofbooks[1] great enthusiasm.  Strengths are individualistic to both, and both are good forms of entertainment and instruction.

Furthermore, I sincerely enjoy watching movies based on books.  The Lord of the Rings is my favorite film trilogy of all time, just as The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book.

My only question is why do the Hollywood film makers feel that they need to differentiate movies from the books they’re based on?  So many unnecessary changes that benefit no one.  Seriously?

First off, what are some book adaptions that were successful, and why were they so well received? Instantly, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter film series and the Hunger Games spring to mind.

Obviously, on those series in particular, the production budget wasn’t exactly sparing, a critical factor in adapting large scale stories to the big screen.  But also an adherence that bordered on fascination to the exact wording of the books they were based on.  Praise and critical acclaim were lauded upon them not for creating original material, but for bringing the inspired books they were based on accurately to the silver screen.

However, some changes were made.  With the possible exception of Harry Potter, practically all of the unnecessary major changes to the books weren’t given a single, positive reason for their existence.  Instead they were disliked, and well nigh declared against by avid fans of the series and new comers alike.409702_1270102481369_full

Who enjoys watching the darkened character of Faramir, or the petty, weak-minded Denethor of Jackson’s films?  The Elves at Helm’s Deep are simply too cool to complain against, but what about Gandalf appearing weak and being defeated by the Witch-King of Angmar?  Frankly, I always skip the part in RotK when Gollum convinces Frodo to send Sam away.  That particular change sickens me.

Regardless as to how much each of the changes were in and of themselves disliked, the films above were for the most part quite true to the text and spirit of the books.  What about those films that deviated much further?

An interesting study on the subject comes from the film series The Chronicles of Narnia.  Look no further than the movie review Rotten Tomatoes site for a prime example of what deviations can cost the film companies.

chronicles-of-narnia-desktop-wallpaper-free-10The first movie, deviating very little scored a 76% approval rating, a high number from time tested critics.  Prince Caspian, deviating a little more, scored a lower rating of 69%.  And the one that deviated most, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, just happens to be the one with a “rotten” rating of 49%.  Coincidence? I think not!

The more the movies deviate, the less they are enjoyed, because no matter how creative the filmmakers are, they can’t equal the brilliance of such authors as Lewis and Tolkien.

Which leads me to my last topic.  You all saw it coming.  The Hobbit trilogy.  WHY GOD, WHY?!!!

I love the book it’s based on, and I was no less than ecstatic when I heard they were making a film of it, and better yet they were going to flesh out what happened in the appendices of the Lord of the Rings during the time period of The Hobbit.

Is that what they did?!  Did they stay true to the book?!  Did they even attempt it?!  Did they even try?! HBT2-fs-140204.DNG

NO!!  They deviated like crazy and what did it accomplish?  A second-rate trilogy, lacking in character, realism, depth and greatness.  They made up entire plot lines, flung the appendices to the wind, gave Saruman a side of the ridiculous, and reduced the dwarves to a ramble of wandering clowns.  Worst of all they added in…a love story between dwarf and elf!!  AAUUGGHH!!!

And what did these changes accomplish?  A better film that could, due solely to the director’s vision, take its place alongside masterpieces such as LotR?  Not hardly.  Instead they made a pretty little film that had moviegoers nodding and smiling dumbly, “Yeah, that was alright, I guess.”

When will filmmakers learn?  Certain changes may be necessary in any type of adaption, but be warned! The further you deviate, the lower the quality of the film.


Book Review: Harry Potter

Way back when, before the all powerful book 7 had been released, a problem faced Christian families throughout America and even the world.  This problem was so severe that women locked themselves in their homes, while children fled in terror.  Nukes were nearly launched, the national guard was called out, and America was in such a state of stupidity, due to panic, it elected Obama.

The problem I’m talking about is the dilemma of whether or not parents would allow their children to read Harry Potter.  Some didn’t, and found themselves regretting it at the moment (“Why can’t I, everybody else does!)  Others did and found themselves regretting it later.  It may not be as pressing of question right now, since all the books are already out, but it should still be asked.

Basically, the problem most people faced was whether or not Harry Potter glorified witchcraft.  The series had been nigh shunned in the Christian community for it blatant naming of Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  So parents naturally asked, should their sweet innocent children be exposed to such wickedness?

Let me set your mind at ease about that point.  “Witchcraft” in the series is treated squarely as magic you might find in any other fantasy setting, albeit with many more rules. Potion brewing is treated more like high end cooking classes, the mixtures produced simply having magical qualities.

Undoubtedly, there are the share of violent spells.  Wizards battle it out with myriads of strange magics, while thousands are said to be killed throughout the series.  Still, the violence when it comes is not so hard hitting as you might have been led to believe.

So far, so good right?

Unfortunately, witchcraft and violence aren’t the problems you should be worried about in this series.  Language may range on the American scale from mild to bad, but on the British scale it’s indubitably worse.

Not quite as prevalent in he first three books as the last four is the inclusion of practically all teenage dream lovey stuff.  For some odd reason, it’s considered perfectly normal for fifteen or sixteen year-old’s to be lounging about and “snogging” with alarming frequency.  Students seem to be constantly egging each other on to “do it” with the opposite sex.  For all of us upright (and somewhat lonely) bloggers let me say, “Ugh!”

But frankly, that’s not the worst of it.  The worst part is Harry Potter himself.

Putting in simply, Harry Potter is a brat.  He breaks rules without caring, makes fun of others without though to their feelings, and basically goes about doing whatever he likes with the admiration of his peers and the blessings of his mentors.  And he’s considered the nice guy.  True, he does have some redeeming qualities, but not half enough to make up for the near worship of his faults.

His behavior is so encouraged that it literally will begin to affect the reader, especially if the reader happens to be a ten through sixteen year-old boy.  This isn’t an exaggeration, but what actually happened in several families I know, including my own.

As a consolation, let me say that if you choose not to read the popular series, you’re actually not missing all that much.   J. R. Rowling is a horrible writer.  Some of her ideas may be fresh, and occasionally her dialogue is pretty fun, but beyond that it”s very low quality.

And now the consolation prize goes to…the Geek community!

Also, if you feel the desperate urge to get involved in Harry Potter in spite of this life changing review, I heartily recommend the movie series instead.  Swearing is dumbed down, as well as the majority of innuendos (movie six being the exception should best be viewed as a comedy soap opera) while the violence is upped.  Awesome!index

Additionally, the character of Harry seems o have been given an upgrade.  The glorifying of his shortcomings seems to have disappeared mostly, while a distinctly noble side is added on.  Besides, they are very well made films (always a plus). For a full rundown of most of the movies, visit PluggedIn, and no, I am not getting paid for saying that.  I wish I was, but let’s not go there.

My final word of advice.  When it comes to reading the harry Potter books: don’t…it’s a waste of time.  When it comes to watching the movies: do, but viewer maturity should be taken into account.  And if America goes into crisis once more, and people start screaming bloody murder, well then, that’s just proof that more people need to read this blog!