Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

Tuesday was David's birthday. To celebrate, we took the family to see a matinee of the new Harry Potter movie. I give the movie a 4 star rating, while David said he would only give it 3 stars. Overall, I liked the movie. Yes there were some things I didn't like, but as a movie, I liked it.

One thing I really liked is that the students seemed to be wearing their Hogwarts robes more than not. In previous movies, it drove me a bit batty that robes seemed to be optional, which isn't the case in the books. That shouldn't be so hard to get wrong as a movie director.

I liked the characters of Luna and Neville and Hermione. Luna in the book gave me the impression of a weird, superstitious, sort of girl. In the movie, she came across more of a loving, caring, yet ditsy sort of gal. Neville is coming into his own is he not? It has been a joy to read about him growing up in the books, the movie just seemed to speed up the process more so. But I like Neville and Luna both, I see them as good friends. Hermione's character was better in the movie. In at least one other movie, both David and I felt that the director was trying to make her into a pin-up symbol; or as David put it, "Her-hottie, not Hermione." This time, she was simply the good, thoughtful, caring friend that comes through so well in the books.

I liked the character of Dolores Umbridge and the portrayal of going after complete power. The sort of innocent demeanor, platitudes, and then using ones authority to change the rules to give oneself more power still amazes me. Rowling did an excellent job of capturing what this is, and the movie did a decent job of showing it. Whether it is a political party in history or currently, or even in a church body, this is the way it happens. Newspapers aren't necessarily reliable, yet the masses believe what is written and attitudes change even from day to day. It never is good for the "little guy" who must endure whatever educational decree, or synodical decree, or law of the land, which almost always takes away more freedoms than it is said to be giving. Those wanting complete power continue making laws to guarantee that power and always see actions of others as wanting to take over their power.

I liked the DA meetings and found it interesting how the movie director chose to end those, not at all like the book was it? But that is the way all movies based on a book will be won't it? Two completely different genres can't communicate in the same way. Although, I do agree with David that maybe to enjoy the movies more, don't read the books. Yet we can't understand how someone who hasn't read the books will understand what is happening on the screen. On the screen things jump around and having read the books, we knew what leaps were being taken and could connect the dots. For example what exactly is "The Order of the Phoenix?" If someone hadn't read the book yet watched the movie, I'm not sure they would not know what it was except the title of the movie. Another example would be Harry's dreams. I don't think without reading the book, those dreams make a lot of sense.

I also don't think that Harry's anger came through in the movie like it did in the book. I remember reading this aloud to the family and felt many times uncomfortable reading this to my children as I didn't want them to imitate Harry's behavior. But it did provide many opportunities for David and I to discuss with the kids what happens when you only look at yourself and don't consider how other people around you are feeling and how the devil uses this again and again and again.

Another thing that a book can do that the movie couldn't is explain without using the exact words a moral or theme. But how nice I thought it was that the last part of the movie we are left with the words of how friendship is worth fighting for.

Again, overall I liked the movie even though I think the books are much, much better.


Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Nice post. I appreciate your thoughtful comments and insightful analysis. I offered my thoughts on the movie after I saw it last week (on my little blog). I'm anxious to get my hands on the book when it comes out this Saturday.

Jen Schurman said...

Great analysis. I however, will wait til its on DVD as I am MORE of a book fan than the movie. ALSO, I got the 7th book on Saturday and have read the WHOLE thing. It is jammed pack with action and is by far the best in the series. I couldn't put it down! I am excited to know the ending yet bummed to know it is the last :(