Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This was an enjoyable film, certainly of the quality of all of the ones that preceded it, if not better simply because a lot of the younger actors have gotten better at acting. I can understand why some reviewers criticized it as choppy. Had I not been familiar with the book, I'd have felt forced uncomfortably from one event to the next in at least the first half or two-thirds of the film. The last section, starting from the scene with the fireworks, I think, hung together very well.

I've read an article from that is a Q&A with Michael Goldenberg, the writer who adapted this book for the screen. I can certainly sympathize with the problems of adapting the story from the page (a medium which is nearly limitless for story telling) to the screen (a medium which is primarily visual and therefore has certain limitations for story telling). I don't think he was as successful with the last few minutes of this film, however. Harry is merely walking with his friends to catch the Hogwarts Express back to London and he remarks that the friendship he has with Ron, Hermione, et al., is what makes him different from Voldemort. I think this story needed that little bit of a twinkle-in-the-eye ending, the kind that the book gave us when Mad-Eye Moody, Tonks, and Lupin (with the Weasleys and the Grangers standing nearby, no doubt) told the Dursleys that they (the Dursleys) had better treat Harry well. I was looking forward to Mad-Eye tipping his hat so that his funky eye would wink at Uncle Vernon. To me, that would have been the ultimate show of friendship -- we'll stand up for you against the people who should love you but don't.

I sincerely hope there are extended versions of these films offered eventually on DVD. I'm talking about the kind where the deleted scenes are fully integrated with the film. It would be nice to see a fuller story.

And, as I've often said, it would be nice to see these books adapted into a more detailed form such as a television mini-series. I'm thinking of the great work that was done with the 6-hour Pride & Prejudice, which told that story and conveyed the manners of the period in great depth. Yes, it would be a huge undertaking, but I'm sure it would pay billions in revenues!

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