Harry Potter – movie adaptations

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Well, the title of this blog post speaks for itself doesn’t it? Get ready for an overview of every Harry Potter movie that’s come out so far. As most of you know, the 7 Harry Potter books were turned into 8 movies. Here are the movie posters.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, or Sorcerer’s Stone as it’s called in America, is the movie adaptation of the first book by the same name. It was released in 2001 and features Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. The producer of the first film, Chris Columbus, said the hardest part was to cast the three main characters. I’m not going to talk about the differences between the novels and the books, or all the mistakes that were made, because quite frankly then I’d never stop. And I couldn’t do it any better than the Harry Potter Wikia anyways. I’ll just say that I liked the movie. Nowadays I think it’s a little childish, but at the time I was quite happy with how the story was portrayed. I did have trouble accepting Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. He didn’t look like the boy with black shaggy hair that I conjured up in my mind. I’ve already said this is my favourite story of the series, if you want to know why, read my book review.

The second movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, came out a year later in 2002 and was also directed by Chris Columbus. It was rated PG and has a running time of 161 minutes. It was made with a 100 million dollar budget and Steven Spielberg was consulted for the scenes with the Basilisk. First and foremost: I was in love with Dobby! He was perfect! It’s like he stepped out of my imagination and on the screen, I absolutely loved it. There were no major changes between the first and second movie. The actors were the same, the director was the same and the atmosphere was also similar. I liked it, but I was very frustrated with Gilderoy Lockhart. However, that means that it was a good depiction of the book, since I experienced similar feelings there. Take a look at the Wikia for a list of mistakes and differences between the book and the film. And read my book review to find out if I liked the book or not.

Next up is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book and movie. Chris Columbus produced this movie, under the direction of Alfonso Cuaron and it was released mid 2004. This movie also sees the first major cast change. Richard Harris who played Dumbledore in the first two movies died, and his role was taken over by Michael Gambon for the remainder of the movies. I wasn’t a big fan of the new Dumbledore, he really took the role to a whole new, different level. Richard was the Dumbledore straight out of my imagination: a modest, dignified man who thought before he spoke and always put his students first. But then Michael came in, who had a lot more energy, whose emotions and thoughts showed on his face, and who didn’t always put everyone else first. Nevertheless, this was one of my favourite Harry Potter movies because it stayed true to the books. If you want to know about the mistakes that were made, check out the Wikia. To find out what I thought about the story, read my book review.

I was really excited about the fourth movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which came out in November 2005. It was directed by Mike Newell and Patrick Doyle composed the music. He also composed for Pixar’s Brave and Eragon. The fourth book was one of the first really big books I read as a kid. It’s also one of the first movies of the series that’s really scary. I read the book when I was young, and the end was creepy, but I got through it without a lot of problems. If I’d seen the movie at that time, I’d have been scared out of my mind. They completely changed up the maze scenes, which I wasn’t too happy about. But. But. The ending. I mean, let’s talk about Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort. He nailed it! I mean, WOW. His performance made the movie for me. If you want more info on the plot, the mistakes, the actors, … check the Wikia, or check my book review.

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Did you notice that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was the last movie that featured Robert Hardy as minister of magic Cornelius Fudge? He appeared in movies 2 to 5 and was then cut from the movie. According to the actor himself, it was because insuring him would have gotten too expensive. Also, the character of Mundungus Fletcher was completely omitted from the movie, so his contribution to the story was completely cut. The movie was released in July 2007, under the direction of David Yates. The film was originally 3 hours long, but they had to cut 45 minutes out during the final editing. This movie, along with The Chamber of Secrets, were the only two movies of the series that were not nominated for an Oscar. Check out the Wikia for more fun facts and figures. This story was one of my least favourite ones, the book as well as you can see in my book review. It was an important chapter to understand the entire Harry Potter story, but I thought it lacked the thrills and tension from the other chapters.

The penultimate book was turned into a movie in 2009: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. David Yates, who also directed The Order of the Phoenix, was responsible for it. Filming for the 2 hours and 33 minutes began in September 2007 and ended May 2008. Helen McCrory played Narcisssa Malfoy in this film, though she was first cast as Bellatrix Lestrange. She got pregnant unexpectedly and had to back out, so they ended up giving her the role of Narcissa. More information, as always, on the Harry Potter Wikia. I preferred this movie over the previous one. You can read what I thought about the book itself in my book review. This is the one movie where I really loved the new Dumbledore actor. He portrayed the relationship with Harry perfectly, I loved it! Also, Jennifer Smith (photo left) was replaced by Jessie Cave (photo right) in the role of Lavender Brown, when this character struck up a relationship with Ron Weasley.

The final Harry Potter book (my book review) was split into two movies, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was the first one. A plot overview and everything you’ve ever wanted to know, can be found on the Wikia. David Yates continued as director for this movie and Part 1 was released in November 2010, exactly one year after the previous one. It had a runtime of 2 hours and 27 minutes and the movie ended right when Voldemort took the elder wand from Dumbledore’s grave. Filming for this movie (along with part 2, since they were filmed at the same time) began in February 2009 and lasted until June 2010. The DVD that came out in April 2011 included almost an hour of deleted scenes and other extras. And did you notice the easter egg? In the diner where Harry, Hermione and Ron are attacked, there’s a poster up on the wall for “Equus”, a play that Daniel Radcliffe starred in. I liked the movie and I think they stayed as true to the book as was possible given the limited time. Another plus about having the same director as the previous two films, is that they were able to create a lot of continuity and I didn’t feel a break with the earlier films as I did between 4 and 5 for example.

The last film of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, came out in July 2011. The story picks up right where the previous movie left off and we see Harry, Hermione and Ron planning to break into Gringott’s. The film experienced immediate commercial success and set many box office records, including biggest opening day in the US, the UK and 13 other countries. It was the highest-grossing film of 2011, and as of September 2011, the 3rd highest-grossing film of all time. Fun fact: this is the only film where you can see Hermione flying a broom. I loved this movie and I thought it really summed up the Harry Potter franchise quite well. For me, it answered all of my questions. However, some of my friends who hadn’t read the books, had trouble understanding some of the events in the movie, so I think things weren’t always as neatly wrapped up as they could’ve been. And of course, this last movie also has a very extensive Wikia, where you can find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about it, and more.

That is it for my Harry Potter movie review! In general, I liked the movies quite a lot. I agreed with most of the casting choices and appreciated the effort that went into it staying close to the books. It was an excellent idea of J. K. Rowling to stay involved in writing the scripts, so that she could keep an eye out on the story. For example, one early movie script featured Dumbledore reminiscing about a former girlfriend. J. K. Rowling immediately made it clear that they couldn’t use it, since Dumbledore was gay (something she hadn’t yet revealed to the public). She was able to keep a close guard on the world she created, and kept on adding to the Harry Potter universe. Good thinking, J. K.!

By the way, if you are like me and don’t want to finish with Rowling’s magical world, keep a look-out for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them!

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Did you love the movies, or were you more disappointed than pleased? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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