“The movies don’t do the books any justice!”
It’s okay to think that, but in the movies’ defense, there’s a lot more to think about in regards to how they were made and perceived than how the books were made and perceived. There are plenty of reasons to like both the books and movies equally. Countdown, anyone?
7. Movies have a budget.
This isn’t as much of an issue in the later films, but the earlier films definitely have a CGI-esque air to it. Some of it can maybe even be seen in the later films. CGI is the closest we can get to magic, so what we imagine in our heads perhaps cannot translate very well onto the screen. The filmmakers did their best and slaved over making it more and more believable as the movies went on and technology improved.
6. Movies have a time limit.
I mean, not really, but do you really want Harry Potter to pull a Titanic, Gone with the Wind, or Wolf of Wall Street? Granted, there are things the moviemakers should have kept in the movies directly from the books that they didn’t—such as Dobby’s presence (it really wouldn’t have been that hard for him to even have one or two scenes every movie leading up to Deathly Hallows – Part 1)—but they did what they thought was right so as to keep the watchers’ interest. If the movie were any longer, you can bet there would be moments when we would lose interest. There are even moments in the movie now that make me lose interest, personally. Two and a half hours may not be enough time to translate an entire book, but it’s a good time to keep attention spans still working.
5. Movies aren’t bound to recreating the book exactly.
It’d be so cool if they were, but they have a different contract. JKR certainly had her input, but ultimately the movies are going to take their own route (like, for example, when David Yates had the idea of Harry and Voldemort jumping off the tower together). If they keep the basic plot of the books, then they’re doing their job.
4. Movies hire good-looking people to play characters.
It isn’t ideal, but it’s a part of the business in order to appeal to a wider audience. In all honesty, though Dan, Rupert, and Emma did a fabulous job as the trio, they all are very attractive and especially in later years, can’t pull off the pimply, awkward teenage look anymore. However, because of their looks, they do attract more audience.
3. Movies take out a lot of sub-plots from a book.
This sort of relates back to the time deal. Remember when they were talking about splitting Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix into two movies as well? What they did instead was take out the majority of the plots that don’t relate to Harry’s main narrative (this is also evident as early as Prisoner of Azkaban).
Another reason they do this is for shooting needs—it’s impractical to shoot that much material, especially when the kids were still younger—and the fact that the actors would age even more quickly for their roles. Who wanted to see the main trio replaced just because they looked old? Yeah, me neither.
Sub-plots also weigh down the story, and there are plenty of them in the movies (Viktor/Hermione in Goblet, the thestral scene between Harry and Luna in Order, etc.), so why were we urging for them to squeeze in more material in the short time they had to shoot these movies?
2. Movies are designed to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Even outside the decisions of what actors to cast, the movie itself needs to be pleasing to the eye. That’s why each movie has its own color scheme: the first and second movies are much brighter in colors with vibrant reds, greens, and yellows. As the series goes on, the darker hues come out: navy, forest green, maroon, gray, black. These tonal colors work together to create an eye-pleasing image the audience enjoys looking at. The shifts should be subtle and work in their favor. If that means not coloring something as it was in the books, they change it to make it better-looking for their audience and quality in filmmaking. (Example: Ravenclaw colors in the book are blue and bronze, but in the movie they are blue and silver. It’s likely they did this so as to juxtapose the red/gold of Gryffindor and black/yellow of Hufflepuff with the green/silver of Slytherin and the new blue/silver of Ravenclaw.)
Outside of colors, the settings also had to be pleasing to the eye, which may be a major reason they uprooted Hogwarts from the first two movies and set it elsewhere starting in the third movie and why Hogwarts continues to have certain areas relocated (most notably Hagrid’s hut, potentially Hogsmeade , and even certain rooms inside the castle itself). They took out the moving staircases in Deathly Hallows – Part 2, potentially to make it easier to stage combat for the Battle of Hogwarts and also maybe to make a point that Dark magic and evil have infiltrated Hogwarts, so the stairs are no longer moving. Filmmakers aim to make an attractive film, and beyond the actors are the color schemes and sets.
1. Movies are not the books.
It’s as simple as that. It’s not fair to expect it to be an exact replica of the book. Yes, there are things that should have been kept or eliminated from the books to the movies, but what it comes down to is that the filmmakers did their best to try to make it a unique experience. The books and the movies are based off the same world, but they are completely different entities, and it’s important to recognize that fact when you sit down to watch them. Enjoy what they did instead of constantly lamenting on what they didn’t.