Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Fun Harry Potter Film Survey

With the end in sight of the Harry Potter film franchise, I thought it might be fun to do a brief survey comparing the films to the books.  I'll list the questions below and then answer them myself.  You can answer in the comment section, and please forward to any of your friends who are Harry Potter fanatics as well!

1) What did you discover first, book or movies?

Me: the books!

2) What moment did you most enjoy seeing come to life on the big screen?

Me:  So many to choose from!  I think the ice imagery for the Yule Ball was spectacular and was deeply moved by Mr. Diggory's grief in Goblet of Fire.

3) What aspect of the movies looked the most different than your imagination had pictured it?

Me:  Lupin.  I think David Thewlis is a wonderful actor and characterized Lupin well, but he just didn't look at all like I'd imagined Lupin.

4) Which actor did you think best embodied the character?

Me:  It will be hard for me to choose just one.  I loved Emma Watson as Hermione and, of course, Alan Rickman as Snape.  But I also think Miranda Richardson as Rita Skeeter was fabulous as well as Gary Oldman as Sirius.  Really, so many!

5) Which movie-only element did you like the best? (meaning something added to the movies which was not present in the books)

Me:  I know Prisoner of Azkaban the movie was really a bit weird, but I loved it.  It's one of my favorite movies.  I loved the added elements with the shrunken heads.  In Order of the Phoenix, it was really cool to see them Order whizzing by various London landmarks.

6) Which element from the books that did not make it to the movies did you most miss?

Me:  All the stuff with the Marauders.  There was just so much to this backstory which had to be cut to fit into the shorter movie.  But I missed it, and I think it left non-book fans confused.  I know this goes a bit against my answer to five, but there you have it.

7) What surprised you the most about the movies?

Me: that all the major actors, really, even the minor ones, made it through all 8 movies!  Except for the death of Richard Harris (the first Dumbledore), I don't know of any significant actor change mid-stream.  Incredible.

***
I'm stopping at 7 as that's the most magical number. :-) I'm sure I'm forgetting many tidbits, and will probably be doing a lot of me-too'ing with your answers!

One question I have for anyone who might know:  The pacing of the movies, especially near the beginning, have always seemed a bit odd to me.  I don't know how to explain it, but it seems like the pacing of a person's response to an action is always just a beat off.  And, for me, this is not just one movie but several.

For a good example, in Prisoner of Azkaban, after Harry has blown up Aunt Marge, he lingers, watching her for a few seconds longer than I think is necessary so that his running away seems almost late, an after-thought.

I'm wondering if this pacing thing is something that's just different with British pictures rather than American, or if it's just me! ;-)

Photo credit

13 comments:

  1. Oops! Forgot to hit publish when I finished typing this up late last night.

    I've copied below the questions w/out my answers to make responding easier:

    1) What did you discover first, book or movies?

    2) What moment did you most enjoy see come to life on the big screen?

    3) What aspect of the movies looked the most different than your imagination had pictured it?

    4) Which actor did you think best embodied the character?

    5) Which movie-only element did you like the best?

    6) Which element from the books that did not make it to the movies did you most miss?

    7) What surprised you the most about the movies?

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1) What did you discover first, book or movies? Books
    2) What moment did you most enjoy see come to life on the big screen?
    There were so many great moments, but I absolutely loved in #1 when Harry and Hagrid step through the Leaky Cauldron wall and there's Diagon Alley, spread out like a fairytale. I could just FEEL the wonder of it.
    3) What aspect of the movies looked the most different than your imagination had pictured it?
    I think the films have created the world in a really wonderful way. I might say that, while I love Gary Oldman as Sirius, I expected Sirius to be more dashing--he was supposed to be VERY handsome.
    4) Which actor did you think best embodied the character?
    Alan Rickman as Snape is incredible. The casting is fabulous all round, but he is exquisite.
    5) Which movie-only element did you like the best?
    Ron's dance with McGonagall is classic in #4. I don't remember it being in the book.
    6) Which element from the books that did not make it to the movies did you most miss?
    There are several. The films simply can't live up to the complexity of the books. #5 left out a lot, especially I think the growing sense of danger and control the Ministry was wielding. In the book when McGonagall was struck down, my heart was in my mouth! And Kreacher's role in tricking Harry was left out. I felt that was important too. Another thing: It's never explained in the movies why Snape and Sirius hate each other. Sirius's prank nearly got Snape killed in school, and Harry's dad saved Snape's life, so he hates both Sirius and James. That's also important info.
    7) What surprised you the most about the movies?
    Despite my grumbling, I think what's surprised me most is how well done they are given the enormous job of adapting this epic. That this much care went into the acting, directing, and sets gives me some hope that there is some honor even in Tinseltown.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1) What did you discover first, book or movies?
    I was late to the Harry Potter craze, there were already four books out and one or two of the movies. But I read the books first.

    2) What moment did you most enjoy see come to life on the big screen?
    I thought Quidditch was great to see on the big screen. Any of the big action scenes really, were great to see brought to life.

    3) What aspect of the movies looked the most different than your imagination had pictured it?
    Mad-eye Moody looks nothing like how I imagined him from the books. Also, I think this is safe to say without being a spoiler, in book 7 I pictured Runcorn (who Harry changes into to sneak into Ministry) as a huge black guy, but in the movie he's this average sized white guy. Shell cottage, too, is nothing like I pictured it.

    4) Which actor did you think best embodied the character?
    I actually think Daniel Radcliffe does a great job as Harry. In fact all three of the trio are played well. Hagrid and McGonagall are both very true to character too.

    5) Which movie-only element did you like the best?
    There were a lot of little funny moments added in that I liked, like the dance scene with McGonagall or Cormac throwing up on Snape's shoes.

    6) Which element from the books that did not make it to the movies did you most miss?
    I agree with the Marauders storyline. I really think that needed to be included. I also missed Dobby in some of the later films, like GoF.

    7) What surprised you the most about the movies?
    Just how brilliantly they were made, with all the great special effects that really brought the world to life and how the characters could so easily have stepped out of the pages of the books, the actors in the series have done a fantastic job.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Claire and Jo. Thanks so much for taking my survey!

    I'm already feeling a lot of me-too'ing coming on! I totally agree about the missing McGonagall wounded scene. But LOVED her dance with Ron (as well as Fred and George's reaction)!

    And Claire, you're right, that first discovery of Diagon Alley as well as the first entry into the Great Hall were just, well, magical!

    Jo - I'm especially looking forward to seeing Shell Cottage. And now you have me more curious.

    Plus, gotta agree with you on the trio and Hagrid and McGonagall. Really, it's hard to chose favorites of the actors as they all present the characters so wonderfully.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 1) What did you discover first, book or movies?
    Books

    2) What moment did you most enjoy see come to life on the big screen?
    The maze in the goblet of fire felt just like the book for me.

    3) What aspect of the movies looked the most different than your imagination had pictured it?
    The ministry of magic, but I'm not sure why.

    4) Which actor did you think best embodied the character?
    Snape!

    5) Which movie-only element did you like the best?
    I can't remember what wasn't in the books! Loved Harry and Hermione's dance though

    6) Which element from the books that did not make it to the movies did you most miss?
    I don't think Dobby was included enough. I'm sure he had a bigger part in the books. Creature too.

    7) What surprised you the most about the movies?
    Nothing in particular, but when I rewatched the first movies I was surprised at how little (and cute!) the trio were (awwww).

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi WritersBlock/JJ - thanks for taking the survey!

    I totally agree with you about watching the older movies and how cute the kids were. I'm sure when the last movie is released there'll be tons of collages showing them growing up through the whole series.

    I also loved seeing the maze come to life. I think the movie envisioned it darker and scarier than I did in my mind.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 1) What did you discover first, book or movies?

    Well, the books. My father bought them for me before I was born, because he expected me to be an avid reader, which I did turn out to be!

    2) What moment did you most enjoy see come to life on the big screen?

    Hmm, not sure. When I was reading, I didn't really think about which moment I'd like to see. But I'd say that I didn't enjoy any specific moment, but loved seeing how the characters and the places turned out to look like instead.

    3) What aspect of the movies looked the most different than your imagination had pictured it?

    Draco Malfoy? I expected him to look much more hostile, and have stronger "bully-like-aura", if you get what I mean.

    4) Which actor did you think best embodied the character?

    Hmm.. Emma Watson? She is exactly how I would've imagined Hermione to look, and she acted pretty well.

    5) Which movie-only element did you like the best?

    I have no idea! I don't really remember what wasn't in the books, since it's been ages since I read them, and even if I re-read them now, I won't be able to remember what's in the movies!

    6) Which element from the books that did not make it to the movies did you most miss?

    A lot of the explaining. I mean, if you are a book fan like me, you'd understand the story. But for those who went movies-first would get a bit confused on the plot, and in Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore was supposed to reveal everything, whereas he didn't in the Part II movie.

    7) What surprised you the most about the movies?

    How well the effects were done. They seem real, as if there really is such a place in the world, and that they just went there to film it. I expected that the movies might have slightly off effects, since it must be hard to make people seem like they are really flying, and with light shooting out of their wands.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Anna, thanks so much for commenting! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the movies. And I totally agree with you about Emma Watson. She just IS Hermione. And I loved seeing that world coming to life on the big screen! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. 1) What did you discover first, book or movies? Books

    2) What moment did you most enjoy see come to life on the big screen? In Deathly Hallows Part 2 when Mcgonagall brings all the suits of armor and statues to life.

    3) What aspect of the movies looked the most different than your imagination had pictured it?
    Definitely the basilisk. In the movie it looked more like a dinosaur than a snake.

    4) Which actor did you think best embodied the character? Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid

    5) Which movie-only element did you like the best? I thought it was very interesting when Bellatrix carved "mudblood" in Hermione's arm. It really gives you a feel for who Bellatrix is.

    6) Which element from the books that did not make it to the movies did you most miss?
    I missed the logic problem Snape created to protect the Sorcerer's Stone
    7) What surprised you the most about the movies?
    How much Voldemort really looked like a snake.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi TJ! Thanks so much for your comments. :-)

    I've been really impressed too with how they created Voldemort's face. The artists really did a good job with him.

    I hope this film will finally win an Oscar!

    ReplyDelete
  12. 1)What did you discover first, book or movies?
    I was super late on become a HP fan (sometime just before the DH part 1 DVD came out) but I still read the books first.

    2)What moment did you most enjoy see come to life on the big screen?
    I agree with TJ on this one, the suits of armor coming to life were amazing. I liked that you finally saw a different side of Mcgonagall than what we have seen throughout the rest of the series.

    3)What aspect of the movies looked the most different than your imagination had pictured it?
    A lot of the places were very different than I have pictured them, in particular Gringotts. Also, Hagrid is a very wonderful character, but at first I pictured him more as a beast than a human (this changed quickly though)

    4) Which actor did you think best embodied the character?
    Too many to name... but Alan Rickman as Snape was one of the best characters; watching the movies again really shows how much insight he had into his character. I also really loved Helena Bonham-Carter as Bellatrix- her personality was exactly what this role needed! Tom Felton as Draco was excellent too, but I might just be saying that because I have a crush :p

    5) Which movie-only element did you like the best?
    Along with many others, I loved the dance scene with Ron and Mcgonagall in GoF. It seems very real (reminds me of dancing at my school) and it is just so hilarious (especially with Fred and George's reactions)

    6) Which element from the books that did not make it to the movies did you most miss?
    All of the details that JKR put into her writing (like the little things and background info that you can find on this blog :D ) I also missed Dobby and Winky! And one final thing is Percy and the Weasley family drama in the last few books. I think it made the books a bit more real, because everyone has some drama at their house, and it showed more the type of person Percy is.

    7) What surprised you the most about the movies?
    Since I watched movies 1-7 for the first time one after the other, I agree with a few others when I say that just seeing the actors grow up was neat. The movies were produced at just the right times for their ages to still be realistic. I also love all the special effects which make the movies even more magical!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm new to your blog and love the analysis of our fav books! Thanks alot.

    1. Books

    2. Hogwarts and the Great Hall

    3. the Quidditch pitch

    4. Alan Rickman, Miranda Richardson, and of course, Dan.

    5. My most beloved scene is when Harry is trying to get Slughorn's memory and
    Horace tells the story of Frances the goldfish from Lily. It's so
    beautifully portrayed by Jim Broadbent and the music is heartbreaking.
    Then, as he is trying to put the memory into a vial, with very shaking
    hands, the music swells and we see Harry's hand reach out to steady his.
    I still choke up when I see it. It's beautifully done and says alot about
    our Harry.

    6. I missed Harry's rant in DD's office after the disaster at the Ministry
    with greater explanations from DD. Likewise, the conversation between
    Harry and DD at Kings Cross should have been much more in depth. In DH
    they really didn't talk about the Deathly Hallows much.

    7. I was surprised that fans/fanatics of the books could love and be okay
    with the films as much as we do. I think of them like snapshots taken on a
    holiday...they're not really the entire story, but really lovely to look
    at anyhow.

    ReplyDelete

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