Movies 15~22: Harry Potter and the Magical Memories

July 17, 2015

After reading the last Harry Potter book, there was a void. No more Hogwarts, no more patronuses, no more Harry, Hermione and Ron. What was I supposed to do now? Suddenly it hit me. How could I better fill that void than watching all the Harry Potter movies? So that’s exactly what I did. Obviously though, a movie is not at all the same as reading a book. Are you curious which I liked best? Then read on!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
(Seen on April 26th, 2015)

I had actually seen this movie before. But it was such a long time ago, I couldn’t remember much. The best part of this movie is seeing the wizarding world come to life. The set is so beautiful. I could have never imagined Hogwarts as beautiful as Warner Bros has depicted it. This was so amazing. Also seeing the characters come to life was really great. I had seen the movie long before I read the first book, so to me, these characters actually were exactly how I imagined them to be in my head.

And the music… Oh, the music adds so much to the story. What can you expect otherwise from legend John Williams? He’s a music master. He really knows how to compose music that will bring the story to life.

What I liked better about the book though, is that it focuses more on the inner world of the characters, especially of Harry. The movie is more about action. But I loved reading about Harry’s insecurities, about his doubts and about his thoughts. It made me feel more connected to him than it did in the movie. Although I must say that the movie captured me as well.

I found it hard that certain elements were left out, but I could very much understand the choices made, so I got over it. It’s just, seeing the movie so shortly after reading the book made me see all the small details missing. Maybe I should have waited a bit longer. Although I doubt I would have forgotten about these details then.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
(Seen on May 7th, 2015)

Ah, the movie where we get to meet Dobby. I was so excited to see him! And I must say he was so cute! I wondered if I had ever seen a picture of him before somewhere, because he was looking just as I imagined him.

Again, elements were left out in the movie. Again, maybe not the most important details, but still, I missed them. In my mind, Harry, Hermione and Ron had spent much more time in the public toilet and with Moaning Mirtle. I found her quite irritating actually, which is perfect in a way, because she’s supposed to be. Still, in my mind I had made her slightly more sympathetic. But this is all very understandable if you read a book first and then watch the movie.

What I found very surprising though, is that I found the fight between Harry and the basilisk so much more exciting in the book! Yes, despite of all the special effects and music they added in the movie! I don’t know why… Maybe because in the book I could truly not see the basilisk. I was feeling the same fear Harry felt, while in the movie I felt more like a spectator. I thought this was disappointing and awesome at the same time. Disappointing, because I had hoped the movie would make it even more exciting. But come on, how awesome is it, that a writer can give you chills that the best special effects and film music cannot beat?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 
(Seen on May 14th, 2015)

I couldn’t wait to see this movie. It is the story where Harry collapses because he meets dementors and the story where he casts his first Patronus. The collapsing was so intense when I read it and the patronus so beautiful. Imagine how this could be brought to life in a movie. I was also most afraid to see this movie though, because what if the dementors and the patronuses weren’t at all what I had imagined them to be? What if my imagination got shattered?

The dementors did look different than in my imagination to be honest. But that’s not too bad. What was disappointing though, was the way they portrayed Harry’s collapsing. In the book, his mind gets torn, he hears the most terrible screaming and he cannot bare listening to it. In the movie the screaming was not that bad, I didn’t find the experience very frightening at all. In the book I got chills, in the movie I just thought: ‘Oh. Okay’.

The patronus though was very beautiful. Much like I had imagined it to be. So I was completely satisfied there.

Two characters disappointed me a bit though. At first there was Lupin, who is one of my favorite Hogwarts teachers. In my mind he looked shabby but cheerful at the same time and also a bit handsome. In the movie, he looked much older and a bit dull… I don’t know. It’s hard to describe. Objectively I even think he has been casted well and he played the role well. But he was just not the person I had in my head all this time. Nobody’s fault, just the consequences of seeing a movie after reading the book.

But then there was Dumbledore. They changed Dumbledore. I mean, they had to, because the first Dumbledore had died (the actor, not the character). But the first one was so perfect! He was wise, but kind at the same time. He had this eternal calm and peace over him, no matter what chaos was happening around him. He was the perfect Dumbledore. The new Dumbledore however, was much less kind. He raises his voice when addressing the Great Hall full of students, for example. Why? Dumbledore doesn’t need to do that! He has the power of creating instant silence as soon as he opens his mouth to breathe. This Dumbledore missed that overpowering quality, the inner calm, the twinkling eyes even. I know the old Dumbledore was not easy to replace, but I think they could have done a better job here.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
(Seen on May 17th, 2015)

This was also a movie I was very much looking forward to. A story where special effects can really add a lot to the story. I mean, there are fights with dragons here, mermaids swimming around you, Veelas singing. And Dobby would be back! And Winnie, the other house elf!

Except… they were not. No Dobby, no Winnie. That confused me terribly. How could there be no Winnie? I mean, I could totally relate to the fact the screen writers had to delete certain elements of the books to make it more suitable for screen (for time as well as excitement purposes). But Winnie was crucial for the story! Plus house elves are totally awesome. How can you discard the opportunity to have a bunch of house elves jumping around in your movie? I really couldn’t understand this. They found a way to solve the story without Winnie, but still… Why?

And again this Dumbledore. In this movie it became very apparent what I don’t like about this Dumbledore. When Harry gets chosen as a finalist, Movie Dumbledore acts angry. I got even scared of him. This is so not the way it is described in the book. Dumbledore is the only one who stays calm, the only one who shows an unconditional trust in Harry, while everyone else accuses him of betrayal. Why did Movie Dumbledore get angry? Why didn’t he stay calm and show his trust and kindness? This was the point where I decided I could not get used to this Dumbledore.

What I did like though was the dragon’s fight. The dragon looked so real and in the movie they even fight outside of the arena. This is so awesomely done. I was in awe when I saw them flying around Hogwarts, through the mountains, over the lake. It was beautiful. At this point I could really see how a movie can add a lot to the experience of the book.

I also loved Voldemorts appearance. In the book I had a hard time depicting him as someone who actually had been human once. But in the movie they managed to show the human past and the beast-like appearance at the same time.

But all in all, this movie kind of disappointed me. If you never read the book though, I promise you will like it. But if you did, you will miss a lot.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
(Seen on May 20th, 2015)

Another consequence of reading a book and watching the movie after happened here. I had imagined Grimmauld Place as a small square with a handfull of houses. 12 Grimmauld Place would be an old, crooked house between two of the others. In the movie though, the houses in this street were build tightly together and they were very high. I had the feeling of standing in the middle of the city, instead of a suburb or a small town. I can’t even remember how J.K. Rowling had described it, I just know how I invisioned it to be in my head. It was so incredibly different… This didn’t annoy me though, I actually found it quite amusing.

I thought it was a pity that we didn’t get to see a lot of the house. In the book, a lot of time is spent there. We also didn’t get to know all the new characters well. Too bad, but I could see why, considering this is the thickest book of them all. If you would describe everything in the movie as well, you’d have to shoot a twenty-hour movie. I would love that, to be honest! I’d watch days of Harry Potter, no problem at all! But I understand why Warner Bros chose to make the movie appealing to a somewhat bigger audience than myself and a handful of other Harry Potter nerds.

I loved that Harry and Ron were a lot less clumsy in the girl department, than described in the book. How they acted in the movie was a lot more believable I think. I loved how the tension is build in the movies. We see a lot more of these swift glances than we see in the book. This is definitely a strength of the screen as opposed to a written story, which Warner Bros put to good use.

What I was very much looking forward to, was the battle in the Department of Mysteries. So many opportunities for kick-ass special effects, for magical surroundings. I wanted to see all these rooms come to life. However, Warner Bros chose to describe just a few of the many rooms. That was such a shame! It could have been so awesome… On top of that, the same happened as with the Basilisk in the second movie. The fight just wasn’t that exciting as in the book.

I also didn’t like Bellatrix very much. In the book she is one of the most terrifying Death Eaters. But in the movie she is more of a classic witch, randomly cackling just to sound creepy. I liked the Harry Potter books so much because all the characters were so real, instead of the caricatures they often are in other fantasy stories. It made the book fantasy instead of fairy-tale. Movie Bellatrix was more of a fairy-tale witch.

And for everyone who’s already seen it: the thing that happens with Sirius and the curtain, I was so shocked by that in the book! I held my breath and everything! But here, in the movie, it was over in an instant. I was very disappointed by that. For me this was such an important moment. On the other hand, what did give me goosebumps was the fact that all sound stopped at that point. So in a way they tried to give me the same feeling as in the book, but I still missed something there.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
(Seen on May 27th, 2015)

I think Dumbledore may have gotten some feedback from either fans or Queen Rowling herself. Because in this movie, he was a much softer and kinder man. Suddenly I saw the inner calm I had missed since the third movie. I was so glad Dumbledore finally changed for the better, because in this book he is very important. Harry Potter and him spend a lot of time together.

In a way it even seemed that lesser details were skipped. I didn’t miss as much as in the previous two stories. I don’t know why, because it’s still a thick book and just one movie, but somehow Warner Bros managed. You may have noticed that I liked the movies in the beginning, but slightly got more disappointed with every movie. This movie was the turning point. I liked this one very much!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (1) 
(Seen on June 10th, 2015)

Finally my prayers had been heard! The last Harry Potter book was split into two movies! Hurray! This means that the story actually kept a lot of its original details. For me this meant I could enjoy this movie to the fullest. It’s also my favorite book of the seven, I believe, so this couldn’t have been better. I loved everything about this movie. Okay, maybe one small thing that was way better in my head: All the dementors and patronuses in the Ministry of Magic. That could have been so much more awesome. But besides that, I loved it. I also think there couldn’t have been a better moment to end the movie. Perfect cliffhanger.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2) 
(Seen on June 17th, 2015)

Ah, the final Harry Potter movie. After this movie, it would definitely be over. Warner Bros put so much effort into this last movie. Splitting the final book into two movies was the best thing they could have done. I enjoyed every moment of the movie, just like the previous one. I cannot say a lot about this movie without giving you huge spoilers, so I will not. I know I probably I’m the last person on earth who had not seen this movie yet, but just in case I’m not, I’ll let you discover all of it yourself. If you haven’t seen the movies yet, I strongly recommend you will in the very near future. Like now.

Yes, I had some disappointments throughout the movies, but majorly that was because I had read the books such a short time before. If you can step into these movies with a clear mind, you’ll probably think they are all super awesome. And yes, I did like most if not all books better than the movies. But that’s not a bad thing. It encourages me to keep reading books and to keep creating my own imaginary worlds. These movies added to the experience though, which was so awesome. They made Hogwarts even more beautiful then it already was in my head. And the things that were better in my head, Ill cherish them forever as my own unique, precious memories.

Have you also seen the movies and read the books? I would love to hear which ones you preferred!

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  • Reply journalsallcrazy July 17, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Great writing keep up the writing

  • Reply Sarah August 30, 2015 at 3:05 am

    I am 30 years old and I still cannot get over Harry Potter. I still have that 11-year old child in me waiting for that Hogwarts letter. Haha

    • Tanya de Kruijff
      Reply Tanya de Kruijff August 30, 2015 at 7:59 am

      Yes, if only it came… 🙂 Well, I guess we can always cross our fingers for our muggle-born children… 😉

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