Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gasbag Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I have to confess that I really did enjoy this movie. But it irritates me so much, that I am compelled to use it for this week’s gasbag review. Please allow me to explain my reasoning. This movie: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets cuts out oodles of actual information that was in the book. I understand that. I really do. I may like a movie that is eight hours long, but I’m probably in the minority. The director must eliminate non-essential portions of the book. This is my beef is, why do they have to add stuff that never happened? Did they feel it wasn’t entertaining enough as is?

Well, here it goes. You will get to read my annoyingly persnickety irritations with a movie that I actually enjoyed. I think I’ll just number my list of offensive particulars.

1) Why doesn’t Harry have eyes as green as pickled toads? This fills me with rage. The cats better look out because I’m really pissed off. Dobby’s eyes are supposed to be green too. How hard is it to make the kid where contacts? It’s just plain laziness.

2) I love Aunt Petunia’s pudding. It’s really magnificent. But why does Dobby dump it on Mrs. Mason’s head? In the book Dobby smashes it in the kitchen. What drives the Mason’s out is the owl dropping a letter in Mrs. Mason’s hair. It’s not like there is any shortage of owls in the movie. I find this annoying.

3) When Ron, Fred and George come to rescue Harry from the Dursley’s, Uncle Vernon falls out of the window trying to keep Harry in the house. What’s the point of that? I’m sure they had to pay a stunt-person for that.

4) Why do they even bother having Harry ending up at Burgin and Botts (or whatever it’s called)? They ignore the point of landing in the wrong flue. You see, Harry ended up at B&B’s because he was supposed to hear Malfoy selling stuff so he doesn’t have incriminating things at home. Duh! And why did the Hand of Glory grab Harry’s hand? I’m telling you, it was just to startle the audience. And why does Hermione repair Harry’s glasses in Diagon Alley???? They’re not supposed to do magic until they’re back to school? Would it have been that hard to have Arthur do it? Is it that important that Hermione gets some more action? Why bother, it’s not like they allow movie Hermione to say book Hermione’s lines anyway.

(Side note: I think Kenneth Brannagh is a perfect Lockhart. I don’t think that’s a compliment. Jason Isaacs looks great in his Paris Hilton wig.)

5) The movie clearly shows Malfoy putting two books into the cauldron. And it’s too bad they left out the fight.

6) When Ron and Harry take the car to school, Harry almost falls out of the car. That doesn’t happen in the book. They waste precious moments on this stupidity. In the book, they dip the car below the clouds to see what direction the train is going. They could have added more actual book to the movie. This truly irritates. I know, you’ll all say that the flying car cost so much that they wanted to give it decent screen time.

7) Why do they have to give lines to different characters? I find this personally offensive. For example, when Harry and Ron get back to the castle after flying to school, they meet Filch instead of Snape coming up behind them. Even though I personally believe Allan Rickman is way too old and too strangely attractive to be Snape (hook-nosed, greasy-hair, approximately mid-thirties), there really can’t be too much Rickman/Snape on screen. And what does Rickman know that we don’t? I swear he makes Snape look kinder and gentler than he really is.

8) Why does Neville have to faint when he sees the mandrake? Instead of that, they could have introduced Justin Finch-Fletchely (or whatever his name is) and set some background for him as a muggle-born. It’s just plain stupid.

(Side note: Aren’t those Cornish pixies adorable?)

9) I know I’ve already mentioned the whole changing of Hermione’s lines and everything. I swear this movie has turned her into a…well, I don’t know what. When they’re in Hagrid’s hut, Ron is supposed to explain the whole mudblood thing. Frankly, I don’t think book Hermione would care too much about being called a mudblood. She knows she’s better than everyone else. Movie Hermione gets all weepy. Whatever. This movie makes Hermione really seem like a weepy harbinger of doom rather than the horrifying logical girl she is.

10) You know, all that time they wasted on the stupid car trauma could have established Filch as a squib and given him reason to accuse Harry of petrifying Mrs. Norris.

(I really like the actor who plays Filch. I saw him on an episode of Midsummer Murders.)

I could clearly go on and on and on and on. Seriously. I think my last beef is the basilisk. I think it’s supposed to be a vivid poisonous green. It’s not. I think it would have been cool if it had been.

I know it’s hard to make a movie from a book. I try to look at the HP movies as separate entities of the books—it’s the only way I can enjoy them. I mean, look at The Shining. Kubrick’s version is a cinema great, but it’s not the book. Stephen King had to redo it in his own style.

Frankly, I can’t remember a movie ever being as good as a book (although I’m sure there are a few examples where the movies are better than the books). I think the ultimate point of my beef is to make sure we read the books. We get a lot more out of the experience if we read.


Blogger Marymurtz said...

I'm with you on this one--you make good points about how they didn't stay true to the book. And it's a fact that movies seldom are as good as the books upon which they are based.

I have one exception to this rule, and that is "To Kill a Mockingbird." I thought it was a faithful telling of the book's story and every bit as good. So far, it's the only one I can think of with this distinction.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Sven said...

While not completely faithful to the book, I'd say that movie version of Dead Man Walking was almost as good.

7:38 PM  
Blogger omninaïf said...

It seems Hollywood tries to whip out as many 'trendy' genres as they can to make some bucks. I personally liked the HP books, I've never read them, I have some on my bookshelf. But I can relate when watching numerous book to movie films.

'High Fidelity' and 'Bridget Jone's Dairy' are the only movies (IMO) that were better then the books. 'HF' was a good book but a killer movie!

Good Review, Miss Keeks!!!

7:39 PM  
Blogger Padme' said...

I loved your comment about Jason Isaacs. I can't imagine a sexier Lucius... oh wait, I'm suposed to despise him! My daughter gets bothered by the same sort of things you mention, and I tell her, that just means someday someone else will have to do it right

3:35 AM  
Anonymous Ma Titwonky said...

What a good idea for a review! I'm not familiar with any of the HP books or movies, but I am with you completely on the assaulting of the stories very well told in books by movies that slaughter them. That annoys me too. Well done! :)

5:31 AM  
Blogger Dorky Dad said...

Rare is the movie that equals the book version but I agree: Chamber was particularly bad. Excellent review. Good idea.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous mia said...

I sort of go into the whole "watching a movie based on the book" thing with a certain amount of skepticism right from the start. I must say though in this case they certainly should have consulted you before production. Brilliant review!!!

5:28 PM  
Blogger Kevin Charnas said...

Miss Keeks, I think that you about covered it and I couldn't agree more. I hate it, HATE IT when they add shit that wasn't there.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Miss Keeks said...

Thanks everyone for the kind words!
Mary--I'm with you on "To Kill a Mockingbird." What a great movie. How come there are any actors like Gregory Peck anymore?

5:58 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Wait...Bridget Jones was better in movie form? Good god, thank heavens I never read it.

Shawshank was as good or better in movie form. Interestingly, Red was slightly different in the film. ;-)

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks your point of views on the book and the movie you helped me how to see in a diffrent prospective and it helped me on a book review i had for my class u have talent......

9:52 AM  

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