Saturday, July 9, 2011

Harry Potter According to Chris Columbus: One Week Until the End

Yesterday I finished my first week of work and Orientation at my new job at Northeastern University.  The week was great but I needed some down time at night just to sit back and relax.  My friends have planned to watch all 7 Harry Potter films before the last film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is released next Friday.  Last night we watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's (Philosopher's) Stone, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

This series (in book format and film) has been a huge part of my young adult and adult life.  I remember my sister got a copy of the first book when my grandparents returned from their vacation to Cape Cod when I was in the seventh grade.  My sister is not much of a reader and asked her if I could read the book before she did.  I remember that I felt I had to hide the book because everyone my age around that time would have made fun of me for reading a "little kid's book."  Now in 2011almost fifteen years later both the books and the films are a huge part of me.  I read the first book incredibly quickly and have read many of the books more than once and seen the films a dozen times (each).

The first two books (and films) are the innocence and the three main characters Harry, Ron, and Hermione growing up in a world of witchcraft and wizardry.  In the first book (and film) Harry has lived with his muggle relatives and doesn't know anything about Hogwarts, the world of witchcraft and wizardry, or even how his parents died and how he got his scar.  Then comes the first tale of He Who Must Not be Named or as we would call him Lord Voldemort.  The first book and film set up the fact that Harry and Voldemort will be linked through his murdering Harry's parents and leaving Harry his scar as a mark.

As the second book and film continue we learn more about Voldemort as younger student at Hogwarts, house elfs and the role they play, dead girls in bathrooms, pure blood vs. well in the Malfoy's language "mudbloods" and that when Lord Voldemort attempted to kill Harry the mark he left transferred some of his abilities to Harry.  There was also a second Defense against the dark arts teacher, because the first one was  overtaken by Voldemort.  The second book introduces some important characters and the concept of the Horcuxes (the diary of Tom Riddle-but we did not know it was a Horcrux while reading this book).  This is both my least favorite book and film.  Dobby was annoying, Gildeory Lockheart was a waste, and the story was my least favorite story.

Harry+Potter+and+the+Chamber+of+Secrets+(2002).jpgWithin the film world of Harry Potter there have been several different directors, Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell, and David Yates.  Chris Columbus (Rent, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Stepmom) has directed a wide variety of films.  I have not been a huge fan of his directing style, far too simplistic, but it worked for the first two Harry Potter films.  The first two books are the most simple books in the series.  After the second book JK Rowling turned Harry's world into a much darker place.  Columbus is not the best director; he ruined Rent the film by watering down the subject matter, but he did a good job with the first two films in this series.

Watching these two films reminded me how I love this series, the characters, and the world it created for me.  This book connected me more than any book ever has, and without more films being released it will difficult, but I can always go back to the films or or go back to the books and get lost in the world of Harry Potter.

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