The ramblings of a freelance writer, novelist and avid reader.

Monday, March 1, 2010

HP Monday – Late Movie Notes

I don’t know why I though I’d write a blog post last week or the week before. I mean it was my birthday, my husband’s birthday, and the Olympics were on. Really, I should know better by now. I promise I finished the book and watched the movie; I just didn’t get around to writing my thoughts down. Mostly I’m just really lazy.

At this moment I’m listening to the soundtrack of the fifth movie to get myself back into the swing here. A quick overview – I really like the 5th movie. As far as the second read of book 5 went – well, it kicked me hard – the length and the deep reading. I’ll hearken back to my reading of the Twilight series, because it will prove my point and because any mention of the books just bug those silly Coreys so (go ahead, start talking about them during English class and see what happens). Anyway, the before mentioned books are really long and yet I’m pretty certain I read them all in a week. This is good and bad I guess. I mean I read them all and they kept me entertained long enough to finish them (I can’t say the same thing for authors like Dan Brown for instance – EDIT!) but my second read of HP book 5 took me almost an entire month. Why? Well because I had to read it so closely. I promise JK holds my interest just as much, and much more, than Stephanie. But Stephanie throws many words away – right out the window. JK makes every word count – and not just in this book but back and forth from book 1 all the way through book 7. I’m a great multi-tasker (If you don’t believe me, check my resume. It’s my number one “hire me” quality. I’ve sent so many resumes out this year, I’m sure a copy will be easy to find on-line if you are a savvy cyber stalker.) I can usually read and watch TV and carry on at least one conversation at the same time. Not so with JK and book 5, it took all of my concentration and analytical skills (also a “hire me” quality I excel at) to get through. I’m not complaining; I feel like my brain got a decent workout this last month. I thought about plot development, braiding plot and foreshadowing so much, I think reading book 5 a second, close read time through may have actually made me a better writer. So yes, book 5 kicked me but in a good, please kick me again, sort of way.

I sidetracked myself from the movie though. Yes, I do like it. No, they are not as close with their writing, but how could they be. I mentioned before that I might like movie 5 more than I like book 5. Well, now that I’ve finished the book, I guess that’s not true, but the movie holds up well in its own right. The words in the book really got to me on this read. So precisely placed and thought out. Each sentence of dialogue fitting in place like a piece of a giant puzzle – this is self-editing (I’m sure Bloomsbury and some others had a hand in editing the final copy, but still) at its finest. This is painstakingly close, at least 10 drafts worth of self-editing. And before I go off on a book tangent again, I have to hand it to Steve Kloves (the screenwriter) for taking all of Rowling’s words and then managing to cut them down further. Yes, the end result is something more superficial than book 5, but the overall flavor is remarkably the same.

There are a few standouts in the movie. Please feel free to discuss these or others you may have. And as always, if someone disagrees with me, please comment and tell us why. My movie standouts include – Luna and Umbridge (and those damn kitten plates!)¸both characters are brilliantly portrayed and where Umbridge is concerned I think possibly even better than in the novel (or maybe I should say, better than my imagination did her justice). The overall look of the movie – and by this I mean all of the blues and grays and especially the lighting – wow…mostly though, my very favorite part of book 5 the movie would have to be the musical score!

Did I mention I’m listening to it right now? Each movie has a different musical score which are all variations on a Harry Potter theme really. Music says so much in a movie; character themes, time and setting to name just a few. I think each aspect blends so smoothly into one complete score for movie 5, I’m blown away by it. I’m actually having trouble finding words here. I’m an aural learner, so music is a big part of my writing life and I pretty much listen to anything and everything, so for music to rock me this much means a lot. When characters don’t have the words, this music takes over and fills out the scene. You don’t just know when something suspenseful is about to happen, you know what it’s like to fly on the back of a thestral, or cringe at the footsteps of Umbridge (I really love her reoccurring theme music. You know she’s coming before she appears on screen each time.), or loose all happiness when the dementors arrive. You get the fun of the Weasley twins setting off magical fireworks and chasing Umbridge with a giant dragon firework because there’s an electric guitar riff placed giftedly into the orchestra pieces – and don’t even get me started on the drums and chants in the Department of Mysteries falling away into a few soft yet eerie strings as Sirius falls. Pure dead brilliant.

Thoughts, comments, favorite movie moments or not-so-great movie moments – write them here. Next week we will wrap up book 5 and move onto book 6. And yes, I had to go and flip through the first part of book 6 already to find out what everyone got on their O.W.L.s, because I’m just that much of a test-worrier!


  1. First of all, any time you mention TWILIGHT in the same blog as HARRY POTTER, another nail is driven into your coffin. Secondly, as the biggest fan of book 5, I have to say I much prefer it to the movie, and I prefer my image of Umbridge to the woman they chose to play her in the movie, though she was quite good. My Umbridge was a bit darker around the edges.

    What I didn't like about the movie was the hint of humor they added to Umbridge by having Filch put up all the new decrees and rules, the bit of slapstick with the ladder. I understand why they did it, but I thought that it took away from the overall Nazi quality Umbridge had. Sure, as an audience we need some comic relief when things get so serious; but as the author of such a maginificently orchestrated character, I would have been disappointed in the slashs the makes to her power, the humorous digs at such a nonhumorous persona.

    As much as I don't like the opening of the movie (I'm not sure why, but I always want to fast forward it), I love that Harry saves Dudley despite who Dudley is/how Dudley treats him. A true hero is the type of person who saves others, no matter who they are and what they've done. Harry, though he is not always my ultimate favorite hero, is fabulous in this scene. Self-sacrificing in a way he hasn't been toward his family before. (Not that they've ever deserved it...)

    Happy movie moment: less Quidditch than ever before!! Oh, and of course Dubledor's Army. Again, Harry is really stepping up into his hero shoes by becoming a leader. He's almost graduating into the wise man role by inspiring others to become their best. Yay for Harry and his maturation.

  2. Oh, and subject-verb agreement when you were insulting us. Sorry, my English teacher persona cannot let it pass by unnoted.

    "any mention of the books just bug those silly Coreys so"

    Since "of the books" is a prepositional phrase, the subject of the sentence is "mention" which is sigular and therefore takes the singular verb "bugs."

    Sorry. I can't help it. And it doesn't help to live with another English teacher. You're our only friend; please don't be angry :-)

  3. Silly Corey, I'm not angry. I'm still laughing. Thanks for putting me in my grammar place - blogging and grammar don't mix as well as I would like them to! I'm SO not your only friend either...have you seen your facebook page?

    I don't agree with all of your HP movie comments but I'm SO GLAD you left them. This blog/book club needs to have more of its feathers ruffled. I'm not always right (although I am this time) and actually really want that to be pointed out on my blog.