By Adam Tuck
A PARALLEL UNIVERSE
How many times have you denied reading a book in favour of seeing the movie instead? Not all of us are avid readers, so it is often relieving to see filmed versions of more lengthy works of fiction like THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, recommended stories that we never got around to reading like THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, or maybe newer stories that we never noticed before its film was introduced like ERAGON. Most notably, readers and non-readers alike can easily appreciate the HARRY POTTER series and its film adaptations.
LOST IN TRANSLATION
Film translations are most often criticized for what has been left out. This is an unfair judgment because a book and a successful Hollywood-scale movie adaptation are very different things. A book has the luxury of space to detail as many events as it likes. A film must meet many constraints like scene length, length of the entire film and simplification of the plot. Also, people often have their own ideas of what the film should be like after reading the book. For example, in the HARRY POTTER series, the reader is given a sense of what the twisting halls of Hogwarts look like, how Quidditch is played, right down to how Harry’s hair flies out of place when he runs too fast. Sometimes movie adaptations get something very right and gain wide audience acceptance, like Alan Rickman’s masterful portrayal of the slippery Severus Snape. However, because everyone has a different idea from the story, and enjoys different parts of the plot, it is impossible to please everyone.
Changes from books to movies can make people want to skip the films, but would the availability of a movie translation make people less likely to read the book when they can “just see the movie”? Well, not really. Releasing a film adaptation usually increases the amount of readers of the book. It doesn’t work for every book, but it certainly worked for HARRY POTTER. When HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE was first released in theatres, bringing in $90.3 million in its first three days alone, the sales of the first book doubled its previous week’s sales. It also went up to the #1 spot on USA TODAY’S best-seller list. This is nearly four years after the first book itself was published. Harry’s popularity has since gone nowhere but up, knocking expectations for each film higher and higher.
WHAT’S TO COME
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX is set to be released in North America on July 13th. If you notice some differences in the dialogue and general plot, then congratulations, you’ve got a VERY sharp eye. The film’s screenplay is being written by Michael Goldenberg, who is replacing Steve Kloves, the writer of the first four films. Sequences that are confirmed to have been filmed include the attack on Professor McGonagall, the struggle in Umbridge’s office with the Inquisitorial Squad and Harry’s kiss with Cho. There are many characters that are already confirmed to be cut, including Dobby, Rita Skeeter and even Professor Sprout. Regardless of what will and will not been included, the same incredible world and story that Rowling dreamed up will still be there for us to enjoy. Whether you prefer reading the books and dreaming the world up yourself or watching the film’s massive budgets construct the world for you, if you fully immerse yourself in that world, there is nothing that can compete with that kind of magic.
TOP 5 BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATIONS
1. THE WIZARD OF OZ
2. CASINO ROYALE (2006)
3. HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
4. JURASSIC PARK
5. ANNE OF GREEN GABLES