I went to see the Harry Potter movie yesterday. Nutshell verdict: very pretty, but hollow.
I haven’t read the book so I don’t know whether the things that bothered me were Rowling’s fault from the book or the movie director’s fault — omitting important stuff or inserting non-important stuff from the book into the movie.
It simply has no heart. For a movie with such a potential emotional bomb – DUMBLEDORE, for heaven’s sake, one of the lynchpins of the entire exercise! – it comes across as a series of set-pieces which tell you what you are supposed to feel rather than allowing you inside the story to make you actually FEEL it.
The scene of the school gathered around Dumbledore’s body – that should have been a place where your heart got torn out. It didn’t happen. And while I still want to take Alan Rickman home and make him read all the books in my library out loud to me, he seemed to be going through the motions her.
The whole movie screams “placeholder” to me. It takes more than pretty CGI to hold me. This didn’t.
And then we came home, and sat down before the TV to watch “Torchwood: Children of Earth, Day Four” –and got TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY. THIS IS POWERFUL STUFF. This is emotional drama. This is how you do a death scene. This is how you do a betrayal.
And yes, I know that Harry Potter is technically YA and Torchwood is, well, not – but that shouldn’t matter. Emotional involvement should be an equal part of the reading/watching experience, whether you’re thirteen or ninety three, and frankly the Harry Potter movie is no longer aimed at kiddies any more anyway.
And older kids, teens, are quite capable of becoming involved in a story, and assuming that they need to be “protected” from certain realities is probably doing everyone a disservice. A given teenager is probably going through more rugged emotional country than any two adults, because the latter have learned coping mechanisms and the former is only just beginning to come to grips with theirs.
If you are going to make the movie showing a major character’s shuffling off the mortal coil, *make the audience cry!*. Because you *can*. The HP movie got handed the opportunity – and, for whatever reasons, blew it.