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Author Topic: The Harry Potter Marathon  (Read 35497 times)

Junior

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Re: The Harry Potter Marathon
« Reply #40 on: July 13, 2010, 01:40:03 AM »
Good idea! Here's mine, inspired by you.

I got the first book from my grandmother. I had no idea what it was, but it was (and still is) a paperback edition. From there on I got the next two, also before they got super huge. From book 4 on I remember reading them all in a 24 hour period, usually a Friday into Saturday or Saturday into Sunday. I do remember one book (four, I think) being released while I was at summer camp. I had to avoid spoilers as those around me read and I played tennis or whatever. It was horrible. I've read all of them at least three times with 1, 3, 4, and 5 being the most read. I have an idea of which ones I like better now, but that might change this time around. And that, as a good person once said, is the baggage I bring to this endeavor.
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Corndog

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Re: The Harry Potter Marathon
« Reply #41 on: July 13, 2010, 07:25:28 AM »
For me, when Harry Potter started becoming big and popular I hated it. I was one of those kids that if it was popular I didn't want a part of it. So one of the kids in my neighborhood started talking about it and I just told him he was crazy, whatever. Then I was spending the night at my grandpa's one night and I saw that he had the first three books in paperback I believe. So as I was going to be I grabbed the first one and started to red, just to see what they hype was all about. And to my astonishment I was hooked immediately. The next morning I asked if I could take them with me and he said yes and told me where he got them. They were my late grandma's who had gotten them from a friend of hers in Kansas, who had sent them to her as recommendations.

I read through those first three so fast as they were so good. Then I also got my mother and one of my brothers hooked on them as well. I can remember vividly the day 4 came out. I was in the front yard, playing after school and my mom pulls up the driveway, gets out and shows me the 4th book. I didn't stop reading until it was over. Now all three of us were like that the rest of the series and have all enjoyed the films as well. The only time I went to a midnight showing of the movies was last year for the 6th. I also plan on going to the midnight showings of both parts of the 7th as well.
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Corndog

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Re: The Harry Potter Marathon
« Reply #42 on: July 13, 2010, 08:12:25 AM »
Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone (J.K. Rowling, 1998)

The first book will always hold a special place in my heart. Fact of the matter, however, is that every book in this series will. As such, some of these reviews may or may not be somewhat biased, somewhat slanted, and in the favorable realm, but that is just the way it is, and it all starts with book, and year, number one. Nobody knew who J.K. Rowling was before Harry Potter. She was just a single mom in Scotland. Then she created this world, this cast of characters that changed her life and mine.

Harry Potter is a great character, and the world he lives in may be greater. I like to compare the idea of this world to that of Toy Story. Itís something that is imagined that we donít know about. Like the toys come to life when we arenít around, there are magical people fighting evil right under our noses. It is fascinating what Rowling is able to achieve. Her writing is simple, as can be expected from a non-career author, but that is part of the beauty of it all. It reads like a big stick of butta this book. As unnatural as the story is, the reading of it and the unfolding of the story seems so natural to me.

How something like this can be such an easy read I cannot analyze, and I will not attempt to. Let me say this, I am not a great reader. I have not read about 99% of the ďclassicsĒ and am not an avid reader, though I am trying to remedy that, but this book was different. It was never a struggle to flip to the next page, the next chapter, and eventually the next book. Rowling is a godsend in the fact that she has harbored the imagination of millions of children, not to mention adults too. And in addition she has taken this imagination and expanded it. It is weird to me going back and reading this again after having seen the movies because I imagine in my head what I have seen in the movies now, but I wonder what I imagined it like back before the movies. What did Hogwarts look like? What did the characters look like?

I havenít really touched on the book yet at all other than to say it is awesome. Well, I donít know how much I really have to say about the book. The story is amazing, the characters are amazing, and the world is amazing. What about Quiddich?! What an invention!? And the different classes and the world of Hogwarts!? Rowling had such an imagination and does a perfect job of expressing it in this book. Like I said, I hold this book in special regard simply because it created the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The other books already had this established before them, in context and in the mind of the readers. This one has to build a foundation from scratch and what Rowling does is cast a spell Iím not even sure Hermione could conjure. Well, letís be honest, she probably could, butÖ

Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone (Chris Columbus, 2001)

I was in full Harry Potter mode when the first movie did come out and I can remember it well. I went with my whole family and my dad, the only one who had not read the book, fell asleep like he always does and we had to bump him awake to keep him from snoring. I can remember I was transfixed by what I was watching, but not so much because the movies was amazing, I mean I was still only 13 at the time, but more because all that I had read was now before my eyes, on a giant screen, and it was amazing to see. In this regard my first comment is on special effects, something that will probably come up a lot in this marathon, but I thought the effects were great in this movie.

It is strange also to think that the filmmakers had to go through literally thousands of auditions to find these untrained children for the roles of the Hogwarts students. And what is more is that they had to pick them for the series, otherwise the following films would be just weird. So in that regard they had a huge task, one that I would not soon want. But I must say that they did a decent job. I will only comment on their performances here, but I also want to applaud the filmmakers for landing so many veteran actors to fill out the cast as well. Working with greats like Alan Rickman, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith and Robbie Coltrane could only but help these young actors. And it is a joy to see all of them together. These veterans were all perfect choices in their respective roles. I can honestly say I could never imagine anyone else in their roles.

From the start of the series my two favorite characters on screen were always Hermione and Draco. Emma Watson and Tom Felton were great in their own little ways. Watson plays the know-it-all all too well and Draco has the sneer and bad temperament that is perfect for an eleven year old who thinks he runs the place. In addition, two of my favorite characters in the book, Neville and Seamus, are represented very well here too. Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville, is delightfully unaware just how out of it he is. You feel for him and am glad he makes the strides he does. The other two main kids, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Ron (Rupert Grint) are decent here. You can tell early on that Grint has a great sense of comedic timing and that Radcliffe, while maybe forcing it here, has the potential to be a decent dramatic actor. It was so strange going back and watching this one just for the simple fact that they were all so young back then.

The telling of the story by Columbus, an American director, is somewhat standard I have always felt. What makes this movie fun and so immensely watchable is, again, the world in which it takes place. This I credit to Rowling and the special effects team more so than to Columbus and his other collaborators. He adds very little style to the proceedings and runs through it like the popularity of it will carry it through to the end. And in effect it does. But I cannot say I was all that disappointed with it all. Unlike the book, the movie had the books to ground itself in. Without those it may have struggled with me. But I have talked to some friends of mine who never read the books, but said they greatly enjoyed the movie, so there is that. A decent start to a remarkable series if you ask me.

Adaptation:
There is always going to be the issue, when a book is made into a movie, the problem of adaptation. The saying goes the book is always better than the movie. Here I would agree, but it wasnít for lack of trying on the filmmakers part. For the most part they remain pretty faithful to the original source material. Something that is difficult here, and will be compounded in later, longer books, is the length of the material. The film itself is nearly 2 Ĺ hours long. They included as much as they could in that span while not making it unbearable to have to sit through. That being said, I cannot recall too much that they actually left out. They did change some things, but not too drastically. The only thing I can think that they left out that I was disappointed they did was the potions section of the protection for the stone. Snapeís logic puzzle was one of the best parts of the maze for me in the book but I didnít get to see it in the movie. As I said, all of what was changed or left out was done for reasons of time and I can totally understand that. And for that reason I can say that the adaptation of the first novel into movie form succeeds and I hold no grudges against the filmmakers in that regard.
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Bondo

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Re: The Harry Potter Marathon
« Reply #43 on: July 13, 2010, 09:50:15 AM »
Haven't gotten back to the film but I figure I'll do my introductory post.

Curiously, I started my Harry Potter experience with Prizoner of Azkaban. The first three books were being advertised in the audiobook club I was part of at that time (probably 1999, when I was 16) but it didn't seem to make clear which order they were. For whatever reason, I got confused and ordered PoA first before eventually going back to the first two and listening to each multiple times before GoF came out. My entire "book" experience is with the dulcet tones of Jim Dale...path dependence and what not, though I don't regret it because he does such a great job. I remember a lot of experiences with first listenings to books involving me staying up all night, though this was less true of the first and second books because their climaxes are both less drawn out and a little less intense.

I will say that starting with the third book, I think I have a greater appreciation for the school year convention; the comfort that every year will start and end with the Dursleys and take place at Hogwarts within the confines of the school house competition. The lack of this is is something that alienated me the first time I went through the seventh book. Anyway, I saw all the films in the theatre having listened to the book 2-3 times at a minimum.

As to the first book? I certainly appreciate the end set of puzzles protecting the stone. It has the linear structure of a video game that rather works with how my mind does. There is a good bit of character building that works in the first book, but I can't really claim that it holds a special place for me. I rather think it a fortunate turn that I started with book three, still one of my favorites, and got hooked because I'm not sure if the first two would have.

smirnoff

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Re: The Harry Potter Marathon
« Reply #44 on: July 13, 2010, 09:58:53 AM »
Happy Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (J. K. Rowling, 1997)

I came into this without any strong feelings about Harry Potter either way, which is weird for me. When something gets this popular this quickly I tend to react with cynicism (see vampires, Coldplay, soy milk and Apple). And somehow I didnít get the feeling that the books were over-hyped. No, with Harry Potter it was more just a matter of time. 

Well now Iím on board. Iím in. All the way. And thatís a great thing because getting on board with it so early, I know Iím in for great things. I mean thereís six more books! I canít wait. Every page is a complete mystery now. Iím not asking myself ďam I going to like itĒ Iím asking myself ďhow muchĒ.

Rowling does it all, mystery, excitement, humour, heart-warming bits. Itís all completely satisfying and whatís more you feel like youíve only just scratched the surface of the characters and of Hogwarts. Oh and does it get any better than Neville getting those extra points at the end and Dumbledore saying ďIt takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friendsĒ? Itís kind of cheesy I guess, but it earned it. I didnít remember that part from the movie, but Iím sure itís there. Maybe my favourite moment, though neither are my favourite characters.

Thatís it. Loved it. Will watch the movie soonish.

Junior

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Re: The Harry Potter Marathon
« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2010, 11:00:19 AM »
The only thing I can think that they left out that I was disappointed they did was the potions section of the protection for the stone. Snapeís logic puzzle was one of the best parts of the maze for me in the book but I didnít get to see it in the movie.

Completely agree on this part. It's hard, I guess, to do a person just figuring things out looking at a table of potions on film when it's supposed to be the last guardian of the Stone. I'm sure somebody could have done it, but I don't think Columbus was that guy. Or he wasn't interested in it.

Oh and does it get any better than Neville getting those extra points at the end and Dumbledore saying ďIt takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friendsĒ? Itís kind of cheesy I guess, but it earned it.

No, it really doesn't get much better than that part. I always tear up a bit.
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smirnoff

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Re: The Harry Potter Marathon
« Reply #46 on: July 13, 2010, 11:02:37 AM »
Oh and does it get any better than Neville getting those extra points at the end and Dumbledore saying ďIt takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friendsĒ? Itís kind of cheesy I guess, but it earned it.

No, it really doesn't get much better than that part. I always tear up a bit.

I did also. I guess it just sounds cheesy out of context. When you read it in the book it's incredibly moving.

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Re: The Harry Potter Marathon
« Reply #47 on: July 13, 2010, 12:45:11 PM »
I don't think Chris Columbus gets enough credit for these films.  I think that he is brilliant in stepping out of the way and letting the story do the work for him.  And it worked.  Sure, others came along with more atmosphere, more imagination but Columbus is a workhorse.  He is the one who made the set up for others to build on.  Just as the first book isn't the best book, but there is plenty there to enjoy, so the first film.  There isn't a better choice of director to begin this series, because he's solid, and he may not come up with something great, but at least he won't screw it up from the very beginning.  See: The Golden Compass, which was not a bad film, but wasn't compelling like the book.  Columbus worked to put the book on film, and in this he was very successful.
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dheaton

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Re: The Harry Potter Marathon
« Reply #48 on: July 13, 2010, 01:06:31 PM »
I don't think Chris Columbus gets enough credit for these films.  I think that he is brilliant in stepping out of the way and letting the story do the work for him.  And it worked.

That's an interesting point about Columbus.  He did a solid job, and without his straightforward work, more talented directors wouldn't have been able to take chances.  I'm not a big fan of how he tried to cram so much story from the book into the movie, but that also helped to address concerns of readers who worried it would be chopped apart.   He's also not an expert on shooting action sequence, but those aren't really the focus of the first picture anyway.  It's more about creating the world and its key components.  With some major assistance from talented art directors and visual effects artists, Columbus did okay.

On a related note, I recently saw Columbus' work on the Percy Jackson adaptation, which was not so successful.  He tries really hard to make an accessible mainstream picture and ends up diluting the story into a pretty dull action tale.
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Re: The Harry Potter Marathon
« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2010, 01:23:06 PM »
I don't think Chris Columbus gets enough credit for these films.  I think that he is brilliant in stepping out of the way and letting the story do the work for him.  And it worked.  Sure, others came along with more atmosphere, more imagination but Columbus is a workhorse.  He is the one who made the set up for others to build on.  Just as the first book isn't the best book, but there is plenty there to enjoy, so the first film.  There isn't a better choice of director to begin this series, because he's solid, and he may not come up with something great, but at least he won't screw it up from the very beginning.  See: The Golden Compass, which was not a bad film, but wasn't compelling like the book.  Columbus worked to put the book on film, and in this he was very successful.

Couldn't agree more. Glad he started the series off so well.