Monday, April 10, 2006

Harry Potter And the Goblet of Fire By J.K. Rowlings

 (Book Review)

Again, I’m a bit behind the times, but I’m still slowly working my way through the audio discs of the Harry Potter series (as I mentioned here). And, because I’m so slow, I’m one of those people who saw the movies first (as mentioned here).

I don’t know if it is fair to bring this up years later, but when we were children my sister and I used to debate whether books are better than movies. My sister argued that books are always better than the movie, no matter what, even if it is the crappy “novelization based on the screenplay”. I argued that people have a fondness for whatever medium they first encountered the story in. If you see the book first you like the book, if you see the movie first you often like the movie better.

I’m going to get myself in trouble with a lot of Harry Potter fans (or at least I would, if they read this blog), but I think in a lot of ways the movies are better than the books.

Both the characters of Snape and Malfoy come off better and more 3 dimensional in the movies. In the books, they’re just jerks. Flat stock characters, as if J.K. Rowlings had said to herself, “Now I need to insert an antagonist to Harry here. Someone who just wants to just make his life miserable for no apparent reason, and can always be counted on to act like a jerk no matter what the circumstances.”

Alan Rickman is one of the greatest under-rated actors, and he does an excellent job with the character that makes the movie Snape a lot more appealing than the book Snape. Even Malfoy seems more real in the movies, if for no other reason than having a real face on the character makes him seem human.

Obviously the movie can’t compare to the book in terms of length. But given the time limitations of the movie, I think they did an excellent job of fitting all the important stuff in. And I actually liked a lot of the cuts. I know the whole “House-Elf” sub-plot got cut from the movie, but those House-Elves were pretty annoying characters anyway. They were annoying in the books and they were annoying in second movie, and I thought it was a good move to give those parts to Neville Longbottom because he otherwise wouldn’t get a lot of face time in this story.

So, that’s my little rant. You can send your hate mail to the address on the side of the blog, or comment below. (My sister's already taken issue with me on her blog here).

Of course in the end, the movie doesn’t have as much time to get into detail as the book. And in this way I guess maybe the book is always superior. After all in the movie you get only the smallest of glimpses of the Quiddich world cup, or the wizard’s consul, or many of the minor characters like Karkaroff. I didn’t even realize who Karkaroff was the first time I watched the movie, nor caught on to all his significance to the plot. It just goes to fast. As with the sub-plot about Barney Crouch and his son. It’s mentioned so briefly in the movie, the significance of it doesn’t sink in. In the book you get to know the whole history of the family, and understand what’s happening a lot better. So I’ll concede those points. In those respects, the book is vastly superior.

But I still have a fondness in my hearts for the movies.

Link of the Day
Media Mouse interviews Cole Dorsey of the Grand Rapids Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Also a brief shout out to my favorite Oita Band: Nanbanjin, who's new website can be found here.

Video Version HERE


Anonymous said...

Kingdom Hearts is amazing, a good mix of disney fun and Final Fantasy fighting. I think that i beat the game in like 35 hrs, so it takes a little bit of time, but its well worth the fun.

Anonymous said...

Ok Joel, maybe Snape is cool in the movie. And I like Malfoy too. But Sirius is not what I pictured at all... oh well. What can ya do?

Otherside said...

*enter hate mail here* Nah, I'm kidding. I suppose I'm one of those fans that think the books are almost always better than the movie...

but you know what, I do give you the whole three dimentional(excuse spelling errors) characters in the movies vs. one dimentional in the book. Man that is so true...for where you're at....that may or may not change. Keep reading aspiring Harry Potter fan. ;P