General Question

Lunar_Landscape's avatar

Anyone want to complain about the Harry Potter movies' inaccuracies?

Asked by Lunar_Landscape (167 points ) February 13th, 2014

I don’t need answers like “books and movies are two different mediums”, “the movies have positive qualities too”, and “it’s all subjective”, because I know all that already. I just want to hear others list their grievances, without the discussion becoming about how complaining gets us nowhere. It’d be a relief, because as much value as being unbiased and objective has, I’ve just had enough of it when it comes to Harry Potter at the moment.

I’m not asking you to be mean about the movies, just not so diplomatic. I’ll assume you’re thinking “it’s all subjective”, “they’re different mediums”, and stuff like that, so you won’t have to say those things, and can just focus on what your criticisms are.

PS: I’m not fixating on the negative, I’m just unhappy with the loss of so much positive.

PPS: Responses would be more meaningful to me if they addressed each movie individually, instead of summing up the things wrong with the whole series all at once. They’d also be more meaningful if you’d write what your criticisms are even if another user already has.

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36 Answers

keobooks's avatar

This isn’t a specific fact that was changed, but there is a definite lack of depth in the movies that the books had. People who hadn’t read the book and saw Order of the Phoenix didn’t really get that Snape was getting harassed by Harry’s dad as a kid. It was just glossed over. I think Harry had to struggle with realizing that his father might not have been this perfect heroic guy everyone told him, Harry finds out he has more in common with Snape than he thought.

There were many other inward struggles Harry went through in the book that just didn’t translate well into movie form.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Without going into detail my biggest problem is this, I understand that it’s difficult to cram everything that happens in a book into a movie. I get that. Things will surely need to be cut. What I can’t forgive is when you’re cutting some important scenes and then adding bullshit scenes (wtf is this shit?) or what annoys me even more is the changes that add absolutely nothing what so ever to the movie and that can’t even be argued as a time restraint thing(ie ascetic changes.)

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’ve read the books many times and watched the movies many times as well, and I will agree with you that the books are much better. Did you have specific thing’s in mind, it’s kind of hard to remember all of the specifics at this point.

ragingloli's avatar

Yeah sure.
It had magic in it.
Magic does not exist.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@ragingloli interesting coming from someone so obsessed with scifi.Not to mention the whole alien tentacle thing….

keobooks's avatar

I liked the movie and the books. I had different expectations. I wanted the rich story from the books and I wanted to feel the world immersion from the movies. I wasn’t really disappointed overall with either,

ragingloli's avatar

@uberbatman
Those are real.

filmfann's avatar

So many changes were made in the movies, it is hard to pick out one that made me angrier than the others, but I suppose it would be all the changes from “Goblet of Fire”.
I think the first 400 pages of the book took about 15 minutes in the movie. All that story lost.
Also, they completely changed how Harry found out about the Gillyweed. It was Dobby the House Elf that gave it to Harry, not Neville.
Another change from the same book was the final contest in the Hedge Maze. In the book, the 4 students faced Boggarts, Spiders, Magic Spells, and such in the Maze. In the movie, the hedges moved, and they had to deal with mind control. That saved a lot of money on the Special Effects budget.

Pachy's avatar

deleted by pachy

ucme's avatar

If he knows magic then he should correct his failing eyesight & lose the specs.
Also, hypnotise Hermione & lure her into bed, show her his “glowing wand”

Seek's avatar

“Inaccuracy” isn’t quite the word for it, but I mourned the absence of the Lupin/Tonks story arc. They just kind of showed them dead next to each other, and made a passing reference to their child. It’s sad, because theirs is one of the more touching side stories in the books.

Goblet of Fire – book and movie – don’t count, in my opinion. The whole story was stupid and pointless, until the last chapter.

laineybug's avatar

I don’t really have issues with specific movies/books, so sorry, but my only real issues were the lack of Peeves the poltergeist and how they portrayed Ginny. Peeves added extra comedic relief and brought out more dimension in many characters. In the books Ginny was a smart, brave, independent girl but in the movies she came off as somewhat needy and only there to be in love with Harry.

Lunar_Landscape's avatar

@KNOWITALL
The most frustrating things were the complete removal of important explanations. They also made the movies shorter than they could’ve, chose to cut important things out when no one was forcing them while simultaneously adding things, overemphasized special effects and comedy at times, characters sometimes appeared or acted drastically different than described, characters were removed, the information about the wizarding world’s history, rules, customs etc. was either ignored in the movies or outright contradicted.

Are those enough specifics, or would it be best to list individual things movie by movie?

Lunar_Landscape's avatar

@uberbatman
Seeing them cutting things out that the movie doesn’t make sense without while at the same time adding irrelevant things was always one of the most difficult things about the movies for me. Movie 3 in particular does an awful lot of it, and I feel they have the least excuse of any movie to cut so much out. Would you mind listing the times they did that in movie 3 that you can think of and what your reactions to those times were? I’d like to hear another fan do it besides just me, because I’ve been alone with these thoughts for so long and it’d be a relief.

Haleth's avatar

My biggest gripe with the Harry Potter movies is that splitting the last one in half started a Thing. Now every blockbuster series has to milk the franchise for all the money it can.

In theory, one of the best things about storytelling (especially movies) is that it forces the writers to be economical. The audience’s attention might wander off, so they can’t waste time with inane bullshit. The plot needs to be engaging and punchy, or you risk losing people’s interest. Details need to either build character, move the plot forward, or add to our overall understanding, or they shouldn’t be there.

Now we have blockbuster book series and movie tie-ins, and the audience’s interest is a given, no matter the quality of the writing. You get stuff like two Twilight movies from one novel, and three Hobbit movies. That leads to time wasted and lots of filler. (And I’m someone who loves a long, meandering plot. The Silmarillion and the Gormenghast novels are some of my favorites.) Like, the first Hobbit movie started with a long monologue about all the background events in middle-earth. The novel started with, “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.”

With the Harry Potter movies, the books covered so much ground that they had trouble getting everything into the movies. So I guess they had the opposite problem.

glacial's avatar

@Haleth I’m glad you brought up the Lord of the Rings saga, because although I had difficulty coming up with examples of irritating scene substitutions in the Harry Potter series (even though I did notice them at the time), I immediately thought of the “deleted scenes” in LOTR – which were almost entirely made up by the scriptwriters, and I thought would have seriously detracted from the story.

Like you, @Lunar_Landscape, I can forgive cutting scenes for length, but not if new scenes are added just for the sake of the scriptwriters’ vanity. Especially if those scriptwriters don’t seem to understand the characters or the world they inhabit, outside of the actual film they’re working on.

Actually, I can think of one scene in HP that was added pointlessly – that camping scene between Harry and Hermione in Deathly Hallows, which seemed to have been created to fulfill viewers’ “what if” fantasies. Honestly, that’s not what their relationship was. Why do we have to pretend it was?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Lunar_Landscape Honestly, I don’t really remember, I watched the first three movies and hated them. Didn’t even bother to watch the rest, a couple years later I figured fuck it, I should make an attempt to at least see the rest of the movies since I like HP so much, I can’t say I really enjoyed them, but I watched them all at least once.

Kardamom's avatar

I’m just bummed that Snape (aka Alan Rickman) wasn’t in every scene. Other than that, I’m OK.

Movies and books are different. For different reasons.

Think about the book and movie Fried Green Tomatoes. The movie was really good and a big hit, but the main theme, the homosexuality of the 2 girls wasn’t really mentioned in the movie, where as in the book it’s the main theme. Back in those days, you couldn’t have had a movie that had homosexuality as its main theme, so they used the other themes. That’s OK, 2 different things, the movie and the book.

Symbeline's avatar

Hm, I have all the books, they’re great, but I’ve never seen any of the movies. Are they any good? I should probably get around to it some day.

Not sure if this counts as an answer, but one of the things that made the books weird was all the black and white shit. Like Gryffindor being the apostle of good, while Slytherin was the mark of evil. Slytherin was located in the basement, while Gryffindor is in the tower? Seriously? Might as well just write a book about white supremacy and the enslavement of the blacks, for fuck sakes. The whole time, Draco’s just an asshole, while Potter is good. No accentuating anyone’s personality to go beyond such a simple concept. (alhtough in the earlier books, my guess is, that was the point) And Harry’s an asshole. Someone fucking enlighten me, but why did he dump Cho? Because she cried too much? And he’s always brushing his friends away and not giving a crap about them. At least Draco always had his faithful buddies with him. But that’s because he’s a coward, I suppose.

Before I am corrected about this, the series and character development went much deeper in the later books, but by then nothing made sense anymore and it seemed all rushed together, so whatever was attempted in the name of maturity completely failed, at least for me. And then three quarters of everyone you ever loved just dies, kaput, finis, no more. Wow, nice.

I love Harry Potter, don’t get me wrong, they’re great books and I like them a lot, but seriously, I’ve read better shit.

Also, the Gryffindor Sword is totally ripped off of Excalibur. And dementors are a complete rip off of the nazgul. Deal with it.

but house elves were awesome Sorry, just gave an opinion, didn’t actually answer anything. Now let’s get wasted and hatch us some Norwegian dragons. (or Romanian, I forget) Cuz that’s where the shit is azz.

Seek's avatar

@Symbeline And that’s why I’m a Ravenclaw.

Intelligent and clever, and Chaotic Neutral.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Symbeline “Also, the Gryffindor Sword is totally ripped off of Excalibur. And dementors are a complete rip off of the nazgul. Deal with it.”
Well yea, pretty much everything in that book draws from other mythology. It was part of the reason I enjoyed it actually.

keobooks's avatar

@uberbatman There are a few books—the most recent I can think of was “The Sorcerer’s Companion” that give you almost a page by page analysis of all of the historic and mythological references in the book. Rowling REALLY did her homework.

filmfann's avatar

@Symbeline Harry really became a jerk in “Order of the Phoenix”, and I think that was because of the unintended Horcrux he had in his head. Certainly that cause him to have a lot of the anger and attiitude he suffered at that point.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@keobooks Awesome, I’ll definitely have to check that out.

glacial's avatar

@Symbeline “The whole time, Draco’s just an asshole, while Potter is good.”

I disagree with this! A lot of time is spent in the books with Harry (and sometimes the reader) doubting his “goodness”. It is spelled out pretty early on that Harry and Voldemort are intimately linked – Harry carries some of his darkness around with him. He has the potential for great evil, as Ollivander points out when his wand chooses him. I think this was done deliberately, to show that good and evil are choices, and not predestined.

“but seriously, I’ve read better shit.”

Yeah, I do agree with this. These are not deep books, for all the depth of the source material Rowling draws on. But, they are, after all, for children. ;)

Lunar_Landscape's avatar

@Symbeline
If you think the books are great, you’re unlikely to think the movies are good. Spoiler alert:

They cut out the most essential information even though they could easily leave it in, like why Voldemort wanted to kill Harry, or who made the Marauder’s Map (and those are just a few examples).
Certain characters will also be completely different than their book selves (Bellatrix, Sirius, Dumbledore, Fleur and Voldemort, to name a few).

Symbeline's avatar

@glacial Yeah Harry has the whole inner struggle thing going on, but he clearly is not evil, nor does he ever succumb to the dark side of the force.

@uberbatman Maybe, thing is you don’t learn about those until the last two books. It reminds me of the bag of holding; ’‘so hmm, how can I explain this…aw fuck it, I’ll just create a pouch that can hold a whole buncha crap.’’

Also isn’t there a book that talks about all the creatures in the series? Like a bit of a dictionary?

@Seek I’m in Hufflepuff, because the name sounds funny.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Symbeline I think you may have confused my post with someone else

Symbeline's avatar

Ooops, I did. Sorreh. That was meant for @filmfann.

filmfann's avatar

@Symbeline Yes, there is a book of Magical Monsters written by JKR. It came out just before Book Four.
For those of us who really got into the books, we understood Harry’s anger long before the Big Reveal in Book 7. I recognized what was happening in Book 4.

Symbeline's avatar

Well let’s get something out of the way here, I already said that I recognized his inner conflicts, saw them very early on myself. Initially I was talking about the alinement of good and evil, not his anger. But if you did understand it, explain? What I got out of it is a lot of individual things in the books pissing him off; living with that family that mistreats him, having Voldermort after him constantly, Snape picking on him…how exactly was I supposed to just guess; oh hey, horcrux?

Seek's avatar

I should totally re-read this series.

I’m the same age as Harry, that is, when the book came out, I was 11. I read them as they showed up. After Goblet of Fire I was more interested in D&D and renewing my obsession with Lord of the Rings, so I stopped. Then, years later, I finished the series by reading eBooks on my desktop at about a book a day.

So, it’s been about 17 years since I read Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Wow sounds exactly like me, aside from D&D, I just happened to get into other stuff when GoF came out and didn’t end up reading the books till years later.

Recently however I listened to the audiobook versions. They’re all narrated by Stephen Fry so ya can’t really go wrong there :P

El_Cadejo's avatar

Ya know, I was just thinking about the movies again, I think my favorite part of them is the music. Once again showing that John Williams is fuckin amazing.

filmfann's avatar

@uberbatman He is much maligned, yet he does his job very, very well.

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