Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Books at the movies: Coraline and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Coraline was released on DVD yesterday, and I picked up my 2-Disc Special Edition, which also includes a special sneak-peek at 9 (could I be anymore excited about that movie?). I saw Coraline with S & B when it was released into theaters in February. We are all huge Gaiman fans and all went into the theater with high expectations. I think I was the only one who left the theater without their expectations tarnished. The movie does deviate enormously from the book almost from the very beginning, but it retained the basic feel and creepiness of the original story. S didn't like it because the characters didn't match the original Dave McKean illustrations as much as she would have liked, and B didn't like it because it deviated too far from the book for his liking. I think what helped me most was when I realized from the very beginning that it was departing so far from the text, I decided to look at it as a separate creature; both the book and the movie arrive at the same point, they just decide to take different avenues to get there. The stop-motion animation is astounding and the music is perfectly suited to the feel of the movie. Overall, I find it to be a fine film and one that does an admirable job of translating the book to film, if in a roundabout way.

The DVD release also includes the 3-D version of the film and four pairs of glasses to watch it with, but I haven't given that a try yet.

In contrast to that, I cannot describe how disappointed I am in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. My friend K described it perfectly when she said, "I was expecting to be blown away by Harry Potter, but was met with a slight breeze instead..." There was so much potential to be had with this film, and they just squandered that potential. Now, to be honest, I have not read the book since the night before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, so my memory could be a little fuzzy on some matters, but I just couldn't help but feel that they left some very important bits out of the movie. I almost wonder if this book wouldn't have benefited from being split into two films, like Deathly Hallows will be. The biggest disappoint for me came at the end, at the crucial moment of the film (and I won't spoil the moment just in case the one person who doesn't know how Half-Blood Prince ends happens to be reading my blog). I just can't believe how underwhelming the entire moment and follow up is in the film. The special effects are quite amazing, but that was the only thing that I was able to say that I found done really well in the movie. I think this is a fine example of how you can take a great book, and muddle around with it too much and create something that is so disappointing. Oh well. Hopefully the split-in-two Deathly Hallows will live up to its own expectations.

1 comment:

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

I agree that the big scene at then end of the book lacked a lot of the emotion that the book had. I was expecting to weep like I have each time I read the book, but nothing. However, I thought that they left out a lot less important stuff than some of the other movies. The failure in "Prisoner of Azkaban" to adequately explain how James, Sirius, and Peter transformed into animals STILL drives me crazy. Sirius is a dog, Peter a rat, but the stag Patronus is just sort of there and not explained.