Harry Potter – Reading Vs. Watching

Posted in books, Movies on January 20th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Now that I’ve read the first installment in the Harry Potter series, I decided to watch the movie make the story come to life.  I wasn’t disappointed, but I much prefer the book – the movie leaves out a lot of details.  It was obvious that was going to happen otherwise the movie would be about 12 hours long, but the excluded details were enough to make me prefer the book to the movie.  Here is a run-down of thoughts I had while enjoying the movie last night:

•  Did the beginning of the movie portray Professor McGonagall as a cat as she is in the book?  I didn’t notice it, but I also came into the movie a minute or two late due to an unplanned (though pleasant!) phone conversation.  I would have liked to see her as a cat.

•  I really liked seeing how the train station came to life, and especially how exactly they found platform 9¾!

•  Did the movie explain the resident ghosts of Hogwarts?  I noticed lack of explanation for other characters as well – especially Neville! – but as stated before, it’s a long movie, so maybe it was out of necessity that they had to cut some descriptions that were present in the book.

•  The movie is well cast and directed.  Everything is just like I pictured from the book, and that’s a good thing.  I had considered waiting to watch any of the Potter movies until I was finished reading the series for fear that movie would ruin my vision of Hogwarts, but I’m glad I didn’t wait; the movie was very enjoyable.  I was pleased to see  that creatures like the Gringotts bank goblins, for example, looked just like the sketches in the book which also helped to make my expectations match the movie.

•  Visually, the invading troll was cool, although its extreme smelliness was completely downplayed in the movie – one of the things I wish was not.

•  This movie would be so cool in 3D!!

•  The charcer Hagrid gained about 50 IQ points for the movie.  He was likable, but reads dumber than he acted in the movie.  I think I would have liked to see him more like he was in the book.

•  The movie is a good representation of the book brought to life, but how is it to watch it on its own if you haven’t read the book?  I will talk to my husband about this because he did just that.  And for me – the movie almost went too fast for me.  I saw events happen in minutes that in real time, took me weeks to read about!  But then again, there are over 300 pages being shown in under 3 hours.

•  The character Severus Snape stood out as being very well cast – I’m not remembering a very vivid depiction of him in the book, and the movie did not disappoint in this regard.

FOLLOWING MIGHT BE SPOILERS – YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN OR READ HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE

•  Quirrell didn’t seem to be stuttering much in the movie, which brings me to a minor complaint that I have about both the book and the movie.   I felt that Professor’s Quirrell’s character was not elaborated upon enough to fully give the audience the big surprise ending.  Sometimes I would even get Quirrell mixed up with Filch (while reading the book anyway), but I guess that could also be a side effect of reading while falling asleep!

•  Did I miss something, or does neither the book nor the movie elaborate upon why Harry’s scar hurts when he see Snape?

Overall, a very enjoyable movie-watching experience!  Fun for everyone – the kids weren’t scared by it and enjoyed it, and my husband liked it so much that he’s been asking me when I’m going to finish the 2nd book because he wants to see the 2nd movie!