Seven ‘Harry Potter’ Moviemaking Justifications

Seven ‘Harry Potter’ Moviemaking Justifications

“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.

  • DawnB

    I do like the movies and i agree that you have to accept some liscence when books are transferred to film. However, the only thing I wish they would have added was in ‘Azkaban’ at the end…when Lupin gives Harry the map back…that they would have taken the 5min and had Lupin explain HOW he knew how to use the map…that he and the Maurauders made it and what the nicknames meant. I knew some people who didn’t read the books before they saw the mobies and they were lost because of that missing bit. It’s the only real thing that bugged me about the movies..

  • luinloriel

    I understand that movies are not books, but with series like Harry Potter, and especially the later books, if you are going to take out “unnecessary sub-plot” then take anything having to do with the sub-plot out as well.
    I went with a group of friends to see Order of the Phoenix in theaters, and I was the only one of the group that had read the books. Throughout the entire movie my friends were asking me what was going on and why things were happening the way they were, because they were lost; too much text had been pulled.
    The part in particular that irks me is after winter break when Seamus randomly comes up to Harry and say’s me and my mom believe you, I’m sorry. While I’m glad Seamus is back on Harry’s side, there’s no explaination as to why. There’s no mention of the Quibbler article.
    I also think the series should have been done by one director instead of four, but that’s my personal preference.

  • GRRRRRR

    So in number 3 they use the example of Luna and Harry talking about Thestrals as a subplot that weighs down the movie and “do we really want more of that?” Considering it is not part of the book it is easy to say no. The kids learned about Thestrals in their care of magical creatures class which would have made much more sense considering they are at school and all.

    • Learn your books!

      Harry and Luna discuss the Thestrals at the beginning of OoTP after Harry first sees them in the book.

  • Stitch

    i want to add that I really would’ve been boring to see an exact replica if you know what’s going to happen. The subtle differences also made the movies an experience for the readers.

  • Maegan

    I definitely agree with this article. I think my biggest issues with the movies were the adding in of things that definitely did not happen in the books, such as the burning of The Burrow in Half-Blood Prince. I mean, why put that in the movies? Use something that actually happened in the books rather than just making something up completely. The burning down of the house is never mentioned again in the movies, either, though it’s completely fine for Bill and Fleur’s wedding. Also, I hate that Ron and Lavender had a better first kiss than Harry and Ginny.

    • Lisa

      As far as I can remember, they burned down The Burrow in HBP to represent all the smaller things that happen to lesser known characters in the books, especially for those who haven’t read the books. It basically makes you feel bad for Harry and the Weasleys instead of going, ‘who’s Susan Bones?’ I still don’t agree with it, but that’s why. And the Ron Lavender first kiss v the Harry and Ginny first kiss bugged me so so much, but they ruined Ginny in the movies anyways.

      • Sonya M

        Yes, let’s not talk about film-Ginny, or every Potter fan out there will dissolve into incensed spitting and frothing at the mouth before spiralling into a pool of despair. That’s what thinking about film-Ginny does to me.

      • Maegan

        That makes a lot of sense. I never thought of it like that. And yes, film-Ginny is absolutely the blandest character ever created, which is so sad in comparison to sassy book-Ginny.

      • Nikki

        It’s too bad about film-Ginny. Because I think Bonnie Wright has the chops to play fiery – she just wasn’t given a chance to.

  • jennifer

    I feel that movies based on books should be true to the heart of the books and charaters and make you want to read the books. I watched the movies out of order starting with the third movie at the drive in then went home bought the first two movies loved them and then went out to get the books and see what I was missing. This is what I felt when watching the first Lord of the Rings films that if the movie is this good what am I missing so, I got the book and a new world was open to me series.

  • Hufflepuff

    I love this article so much.

    The “missing” parts of the movies never bothered me. Never.

    The movies are not the books. They tell the same story in a different way. They never promised a replica. The movies in their own rights were fantastic. Many fans never get a movie series; we did. If people wanted replicas they should have made their owned damned movies. Every single movies was fantastic and told the story well – not perfectly, no, not word for word – but very, very well