Once upon a time, an author named J.K. Rowling wrote a series of books about a young wizard named Harry Potter. After a few of her books sold an insane number of copies, some movie companies thought they would make wonderful movies. (READ: Would sell tons of tickets, DVDs, movie tie-in toys, etc.) So movies were made and released.
B, having read the books, begged me to see the movies. I watched them initially because it was important to her, but quickly grew interested in the stories I saw on-screen. However, for whatever reason, my love of the screen adventures didn’t translate to me reading the books. We had all 7 books sitting in a box, but I didn’t read a single page.
Fast forward a bit and we introduced NHL to the first movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He fell in love with it instantly and soon we had also shown him Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as well. At this point, we made a decision. He would see no more Harry Potter movies! Not until he had read the book that the movie was based on. Every night, NHL and I would sit down and read a few pages of a Harry Potter book.
As we got through the first two books, we would often stop and discuss how the book was different than the movie. What scenes were longer in the book or omitted entirely in the movie? What characters were left out? How were events altered to fit the big screen?
NHL and I recently finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, so we’ve 1) started reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and 2) watched the Goblet of Fire movie. I remember really liking this movie and sensing the peril that Harry is put through. However, upon re-watching it after reading the book, I felt that it was rushed.
Harry and his friends go to see the Quidditch World Cup. The players fly out onto the field and then… we flash back to their camp site post-game. This was just fine when I didn’t know that the book described the entire game. There were wondrous sights in the pages of the book that I’d have loved to have seen on the screen.
In addition, whole subplots were chopped out. In the book, Rita Skeeter is a major thorn in the side of Harry and his friends. Her stories, and how she obtains them, puts Harry through a lot of grief. In the movie, however, she’s regulated to one major appearance, two minor appearances, and a mention or two.
Now that I’ve read the book, the movie feels like a faithful rendition… were half of the book ripped out and tossed away. I still like the movie, don’t get me wrong and I understand that you can’t make the movie 100% like the book. (Otherwise, Goblet of Fire would be a 10 hour long movie and who would sit through that?!!!) Still, I can’t help but miss the discarded sections, subplots, and characters when the movie skips by them.
Curse you Harry Potter books! You’ve totally ruined the Harry Potter movies for me!
Have you ever read a book after seeing a movie based on it? How did the movie hold up after you read the book?
Note: The "book/movie" image above was created by combining the "Book" image from CrazyTerabyte and the "Cinema" image from Merlin2525. Both of these images are available from OpenClipArt.com.