Is the title of this post a tad dramatic? Maybe, but in all honestly, the 5th and 6th films (two of the most important, foreboding, and enormous of the books) in the Harry Potter series were total failures on many levels, and I need to get it off my chest. These films are like knives in my gut.
Part 3: The Blasphemous Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix & Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Both of these books begin to unveil the labyrinthine truths behind everything that has ever happened in the series, and guess what? Said truths focus on the adult characters, their pasts, their sins, and Harry begins to discover and learn facts that change him forever. This is one of my major problems with the films once David Yates took over as director – the adult characters were relegated to the background, and their storylines trimmed to, in some cases, nothingness. For instance, Snape’s fairly prominent role in Order was somehow turned into about 4 minutes of screen time, McGonagall is almost entirely omitted, and everybody remembers what happened to her in the same book. I’m WELL AWARE that everything on the page cannot be transferred to the screen, but since Order, it has felt like the filmmakers purposely tried to diminish these vital aspects of the story, because they just wanted to focus on the main trio, apealling to the masses of youngsters who love the franchise.
Some of my many problems with the fifth film are that it’s boring as shit, terribly paced, and overall, the story is just hacked to pieces with an ax. SO many events of importance are omitted to the point where it’s just like, why the fuck did you even bother to make this movie? There were ONLY two good things featured in this installment: Umbridge (Imelda Staunton nailed the uptight, prissy terrorist), and the final, surprisingly awesome battle scene between Voldy and Dumbledore. Someone named Michael Goldberg wrote this screenplay (this is the only film without Kloves penning the script) and this may be the most unfortunate thing to happen to the franchise. He’s the first person who trimmed so much fat (that turned out to be lean meat), I honestly don’t know how Rowling didn’t go after this guy with weapons of mass destruction (I know, I know: Her hands are tied when it comes to the films, and she continues to state that she loves each one). I wondered what else Michael Goldberg had ever written and guess what I found? He’s one of the co-writers of the current Green Lantern film, which I have not seen, but is getting decimated by critics, and the poor writing is one of the main complaints. So, cheers to you Michael Goldberg.
In my opinion, Half Blood Prince was much gloomier than Order – shit gets BAD. And there’s lots of meaty information divulged. But here, inexplicably, Kloves/Yates and company have decided to make this a PG rom-com. The book’s side plot of Lavendar hearts Ron has been brought to the fore-front, and the kids hormones and teeny-bopper love issues (which were nothing of great importance in the book) are the main plot. ! What. In the. FUCK. Were they thinking? Honesty, how can they live with themselves? When Lavendar Brown has more screen time than Snape ( I apologize that my irrational Snape love colors all my posts, but he’s the most complex, interesting character in the books and if you can’t agree with that, go fly a kite – in a lightning storm) something’s definitely rotten in Denmark. The filmmakers have said that this is the darkest film, blah blah blah, you know what’s dark? The color scheme. Everything is so grey/blue/cyan-ified, unless my house is pitch-fucking-black, I can hardly see what’s happening on the screen. I give them credit for trying to make the thing look unique, but when I saw the 6th film in theaters (at this point still not having read a single page of any book), I remember being really angry that Dumbledore’s death was less poignant and intense than Cedric Diggory’s. That hurts, on a cellular level.
I’m sad the prophecy was never properly explained. I’m sad Dumbledore got the shaft; there was no funeral to honor this beloved character. I’m pissed Snape’s memory of getting terrorized by the marauders was chopped up into little pieces like it was at the mercy of Jigsaw. I’m sad they dropped a grenade on the Tom Riddle memories – which has done a massive disservice to the entire franchise by relegating Voldemort (who in the books is a much more Hitler-like, complex bad guy) to the one note “evil for no reason except he’s fucking evil” villain. Hmmmppff.
All I can say is, Half-Blood Prince is paced better, and if you don’t worry about the book, it’s a decent film. That’s why it’s a few spots higher in my personal ranking. Phoenix however, (minus Umbridge and that final action-packed ministry scene) sucks as a film, and is an abortion of an adaptation. I wonder if Goldberg had never written that film and planted the seed into the heads of the suits that you can cut most of the book out and still make tons of money, would the following two films have contained more meat of the story? Did the suits tell Kloves (who wrote faithful, decent adaptations before his one-film break) post-Goldberg – “cut this shit down?”???! I found this awesome little nugget on the interwebz, and you can see that films 1, 2, and 5 have a GINORMOUS disconnect between length of film vs. length of book. Oh wow, the ones who match up approximately are decent films (6 is not a bad movie, it’s a bad ADAPTATION), and 5 is both the longest book AND shortest movie. That is fucking warped and ass-backwards. I’ll never be able to get over this. Ever.
- Prisoner of Azkaban – the best
- TBA – although you can figure it out by now ;)
- Goblet of Fire
- Chamber of Secrets
- Half-Blood Prince
- Sorcerer’s Stone
- Order of the Phoenix – the worst
The rest of the series: The Trailer Test, Part 5, Part 4, Part 2.5, Part 2, Part 1