By the time the final installment of the Harry Potter series hits the theatres, I will have essentially been waiting for it for 11 years. I started reading Harry Potter right after the fourth book came out and was at the midnight release for the rest of the books after that. I saw most of the movies on opening day/night. My obsession of Harry Potter rivals only my “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” obsession. But, unlike Buffy, I’ve spent most of my Harry Potter obsession waiting.
I spent three years waiting for book five (“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”) and two years each for books six (“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”) and seven (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”). The film “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” came out days before the final book was released, but I had to wait 24 months for the film “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” to come out (an additional seven months were added weeks before the sixth movie was suppose to hit theatres).
With the separation of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” into two movies, I will have to wait eight months between the two films. After reports of a set being caught on fire, I can’t help but wonder if I might not get to watch the final installment even later than July 2011. And, honestly, it irks me.
As a literary person I have come to understand that films and books are not, and cannot, be the same thing. Some parts of a book need to be cut out of a film to tell the story in a shorter time. Films need to capture an audience that extends beyond the books fan base. I might think it ‘s unfortunate that my favorite part of a book has been left out of a film, but, ultimately, I understand they are separate mediums. In fact, some of my favorite moments from the Harry Potter films have been scenes that weren’t in the books. So overall, I understand that the books and films are different. Because of this I have come to hate the delays in the Harry Potter films
I don’t need “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” to be split up into two films with an eight-month separation. I don’t care if it means the split means more scenes from the book can be put into the film. I’ve accepted their differences with the six other films and would be happier to see a longer film that begins where the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” book began and ends where it ended.
Of course, my acceptance of seeing books and films as different mediums also gives me insight on why two movies would be better for one book. There is the very PR reason that two films with a break between the two allows the production and post-production team to create a better quality movie (I will concede that I thought “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” was my favorite movie cinematically and it had two years between “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.) The other reason which is less nice, but even more true, is that two movies means more money can be earned.
So are the delays in the Harry Potter films worth it? For die-hard fans of the book the answer probably is yes. Two movies equals more time for scenes from the book. For me, though, the delays aren’t worth it. I want the movies to be finished with so I can finally sit with all my books and all my movies and know that it is all finished and, like “Buffy,” I can sit and watch all the movies together whenever I please. If this means having to sacrifice my favorite scenes, then so be it. I can always read the books to relive those moments.
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