Friday, April 8, 2011

Book/Movie Comparison: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1)

This is long, just so you know. Deathly Hallows is my second favorite book in the series, and it is currently my favorite movie of the series. I had to cut a lot of gushing out and remind myself what this post is actually about - analyzing how well the film version carried out the story of the book. I'll look at: Setting, Characters, Theme, What was Gained from Film Adaptation, and What was Lost from Film Adaptation.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and last book in the Harry Potter series. Published in 2007, it follows Harry, Ron and Hermione’s quest to find the four remaining Horcruxes, which are magical artifacts which hold pieces of Voldemort’s soul. It also chronicles the final battle between Voldemort and Harry.

The movie came out in 2010, and it is the first of two parts, the second coming out in July (oh, happy day!). Adapted to screen by Steve Kloves and directed by David Yates, it stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, Rupert Grint as Ron, and Emma Watson as Hermione.

Obviously, the first movie only covers the first part of the book: their search for the locket and its subsequent destruction, the falling out between Ron and Harry, the beginning of the discovery of the Deathly Hallows and Dumbledore’s involvement with them, and the confrontation with the Snatchers, who take them to Malfoy Manor when they realize they might have Harry Potter.

(Many, many spoilers ahead, for both the movie and book!)

Setting

In the book, the trio returns to 15 Grimmauld Place and they also infiltrate the Ministry under Polyjuice Potion. They visit Godric’s Hollow for the first time, but much of the rest of the book is set during their camping trips as they try to stay under the radar and search for Horcruxes.

I thought the semi-apocalyptic setting was great for the story. The destroyed motor homes, the snowy forest after Godric’s Hollow, the stretching fields. Malfoy Manor was so intimidating, and I can’t wait to see more of Shell Cottage.

It’s too bad we couldn’t see the trio shacking it up in Grimmauld Place with Kreacher waiting on them. I just think that would have been so cool to see Kreacher making them dinner and stuff. Definitely not necessary, though, so I’m glad they took that out instead of something else.

Great way to tell the Deathly Hallows legend. I was wondering how they were going to do that - just have her read it? Summarize it? Beautiful imagery!

I think it was a good idea to focus solely on the trio instead of trying to also squeeze in everything that was happening at Hogwarts. Rowling can juggle multiple story lines flawlessly (well, mostly) in her writing, but that’s a book. A movie needs to be a little more focused, and it was a good decision to stick with the trio and their problems. I think we’ll hear more later about what happened at Hogwarts. Maybe leading up to the battle.

Characters
I needed more Kreacher and more Regulus. They both really redeemed themselves in this book, but we get two sentences about Regulus. Kreacher was pretty cool, though, retrieving Mundungus Fletcher.

It’s also weird how the movies try to squeeze stuff in, but it comes off kind of half-assed. Like Bill’s scars, or Tonks about to make the announcement that they were going to get married and/or they were pregnant. It’s like they do it just to throw the readers a bone, but people who haven’t read the books probably have no idea what’s going on. Same thing happened with Fenrir Greyback in the sixth movie. I don’t know what to think, like part of me is “All or nothing!” and part of me is like, “Well, at least they referenced it!”

As for the more major characters, I LOVE RON. I feel like they are finally getting him right. I hated, hated, hated when they gave Hermione Ron’s line in Prisoner of Azkaban - “You’re going to have to kill us first.” But I wasn’t really mad when Ron was the one who noticed RAB haha, I think I’m biased. But seriously Rupert Grint is amazing, and I think he played Ron brilliantly in this film. Talking Harry out of leaving, getting angry, seeing his insecurities, and then fighting for Hermione at Malfoy Manor. I did want to see some screaming and bellowing in the cellar when Hermione was being tortured.

Speaking of which, that torture scene was amazing! I really feel like the three of them are growing as actors. The other movies I can’t even take seriously because Emma and Dan botch up the serious lines (and Rupert hardly ever had serious lines, he just pouts). But they have really improved, and I think the torture scene was proof of that. I cried all three times I saw it! I love Harry and Hermione’s friendship, and I think the screenwriters and directors are finally not trying to shove them on us (even with the Horcrux kissing scene). The dancing scene was awkward at first, but now it’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie.

Emma Watson was great as Hermione: her romance with Ron, her cleverness, etc. And Daniel Radcliffe. . .oh, my goodness, he’s really becoming how I picture Harry. Like sometimes when I read the books, I still have my own pictures of Hermione and Ron, but I almost always picture Dan when reading about Harry. Plus his acting was brilliant in the scene with seven Harrys. He was playing eight different characters in that one scene! Loved it.

The Ron and Hermione romance is great, but the Ginny and Harry stuff - not so much. That kiss in the kitchen was so stiff, but George dropping in makes me laugh every time.

What I’m really looking forward to, though, is Harry finding out more about Dumbledore. His family, his involvement with Grindelwald, his quest for the Deathly Hallows. That was a big plot point in DH, and I want to see more of it. I want to see Harry doubting Dumbledore and I want to see him considering the Hallows instead of the Horcruxes.

And of course, it will be interesting to see how they reveal Snape’s true allegiance. The Pensieve scene in the fifth movie was underwhelming, so I’m hoping they do a good job with that.

Theme
The movies usually do a great job with the themes of Harry Potter: love, friendship, courage, good versus evil. At the same time, I think since this is the first part, they didn’t have a chance to have a big “lesson” like the last movies. It’s just building up the story; it’s getting us ready for the finale. We still saw a lot of love (Ron and Hermione!) and good (the wedding, Neville sticking up to the Death Eaters) and evil (Voldemort killing Charity Burbage), but I think the second part will be way more intense.

What was Gained from Adaptation
I love seeing these scenes visually. Some people complained that the seventh book dragged, that the camping parts were too long, and this film condenses it. I hear some people complaining that the movie dragged, too, but I thought it balanced a fast pace and the hopeless feeling that the trio felt while realizing they don’t know where to find the Horcuxes.

What was Lost
I really wanted to see the sign at Godric’s Hollow. I know it’s such a small thing, but it really encouraged Harry when he needed it. You know that Remus had to have been the one to put it up, and the one to bury James and Lily. (Remus! I don’t want more people to die!)

Summary
I’m going to be a complete wreck the next movie. I’m going to bring a box of tissues and I won’t even be ashamed of sobbing when all my favorite characters die. Oh, JK Rowling, what you do to me. . .

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