Posted by: mzbitca | May 22, 2009

I finally figured it out

I’m home from work today due to massive headaches due to my period coming sometime next week.  I’ve been cuddling on the couch with my doggies and have been watching the fifth Harry Potter movie.  This has always been my least favorite but I never could pinpoint why and I think I’ve finally found it.

The key element to the fifth book is rebellion and coming into your own as the kids start to recognize and flex their own power.  Meanwhile, the ministry is trying to over control Hogwarts and pushing the kids to the point of extreme frustration.  The best part of the book was they way Rowling created a situation where the reader’s frustration and indignation builds with the characters.  By the time the kids start fighting back, the reader is at a point where they’re reading to scream and punch Umbridge in the face.  The Moment when the Weasley twins take their revenge and fly off in success is one of the most uplifting moments in the book,  as well as when Ginny and the others outsmart the Inquisitorial Squad.  

However the movie picks the wrong moments to show and dresses them up in silliness and campyness.  We do not get to see the Twins and Harry kicked off the Quidditch team.  We do not see them attempt to fire Hagrid and attack professors.  We see Umbridge make kids tuck in their shirts and prevent them from kissing.  By the time the Weasley’s respond it just seems like fun silliness and you don’t have the moment of “sticking it to the man” that you feel in the book.  You don’t hear their directive to “Give her Hell for us, Peeves” as a way to show a very deliberate  offensive.  We don’t see the the show down between Umbridge and Minerva over Potter becoming an Auror.  Instead we see Filtch nailing up Decrees as if we need to see the words to understand her tyranny instead of watching her in action.

It almost feels like they were purposelly avoiding the rebellion and anarchy themes of the book and focusing more and Voldemort when he is truly not the focus until the end of the book.

They also specfically avoid the relationship between Harry and Sirius and completely ignore the emotional upheaval harry goes through when he dies.  The defining moment in Harry’s journey occurs in Dumbledore’s office where he screams about not wanting to care anymore and wanting to die.  I absolutely believe Radcliffe was up to the scene, considering how well he handled the one in Four when he returned with Diggory’s body.  

Harry Potter lends itself to visual impressiveness but it is the relationship and development of the characters that make the story and I feel that the fifth movie did not do the book justice in setting up our characters, especially going into the sixth movie/book.

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Responses

  1. Ahh! You’re right! Now I know why that movie bugged me so much. :)

  2. Nailed it.

    They also changed the way the OWLs were handled, and that one scene that I felt was a major moment for Harry when he is asked to demonstrate his knack for Defense Against the Dark Arts by the administrator. It is a huge indicator that Umbridge is about to fall. Also, I think that they downplayed the emotional toll of Neville parents in the hospital and Harry putting the connection b/t him and Neville together for the first time. All the little details that pile up one after the other make that book what it is. I think the movies lean too hard on the Good Guy/Bad Guy meme.

    I understand that movies have to make cuts for time, but the emotional circumstances, the tension, the rebellion (where it becomes obvious just how powerful Ginny really is) are all swept over so quickly.

    I think the whole book sets us up to experience why Harry reacts as he does to Dumbledore’s death in the next book/movie (everybody here knows that by now, yes?).

    I wish my household goods were here so I could re-read the books b/f the new movie comes out (something I always do b/f a new movie, I read all the books up to the current movie to keep it fresh).

    • I understand that movies have to make cuts for time, but the emotional circumstances, the tension, the rebellion (where it becomes obvious just how powerful Ginny really is) are all swept over so quickly.

      I KNOW. I love Ginny and this is the one where she really comes into her own. The thing that pissed me off in the movie is that they have Ron figure out how to get away from Malfoy and them when Harry and Hermoine are in the forest when in the book it’s Ginny!

  3. wow. i never thought of that. it had been a while since reading the fifth book vs. when the movie was released (my books are all currently in boxes in my scary basement, so i haven’t read them lately). i just remember how angry i was as i read along with harry’s frustration and anger, and i didn’t feel that mirroring response as i viewed the movie. i still hated umbridge, but not the same way as i hated her in the book.

  4. My kids and I also came away frustrated when we first walked out of this movie. There was so much frustration left out and I really hated McGonagall stepping down the staircase instead of standing up to Umbridge, especially when it came to Harry’s future. The true test was my husband…he doesn’t read the books but usually follows the movies well, especially with the kids filling him in. He was totally lost with this movie, realizing there must have been so many mini-stories missing that he could not follow the plot properly.

  5. I am angry that we do not see Minerva McGonagall stunned four times!! I think it’s a really important moment for her character. I also agree with everything else that has been posted, the fifth film is the worst so far in my opinion. I followed the film but felt there were small parts missing, this was confirmed when I read the book. I believe the fifth film was so poor as the screen play was written by Michael Goldenberg were as 1,2,3,4,6,7 and 8 were written by Steve Kloves. Fingers crossed the future adaptations will not be as disappointing as the fifth.

  6. I am angry that we do not see Minerva McGonagall stunned four times!! I think it’s a really important moment for her character. I also agree with everything else that has been posted, the fifth film is the worst so far in my opinion. I followed the film but felt there were small parts missing, this was confirmed when I read the book. I believe the fifth film was so poor as the screen play was written by Michael Goldenberg were as 1,2,3,4,6,7 and 8 were written by Steve Kloves. Fingers crossed the future adaptations will not be as disappointing as the fifth.


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