Monday, July 23, 2007

10 Steps: How to make Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a good movie

For the record, I was not one of those crazy people waiting at midnight to buy the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. While I had preordered the novel and was waiting eagerly for it to arrive on Saturday, I didn't even have plans to finish it over the weekend. But, in the end, it took only 24 hours with plenty of sleep and breaks in between to read the fantastic finale from J.K. Rowling. With exception to the final chapter, which is a bit cheesy and silly, the book is gripping, dark, tragic, funny, emotional and exciting from beginning to end. I can't think of a better way for the series to go out.

That being said, it's not going to be a guaranteed winner of the film. Expectations are going to be at an all time high, and if the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is any indication, the franchise can falter.

1. Bring back Steve Kloves. He has written every Harry Potter except for Phoenix, has proven that he can deliver movies that both represent the book without "boring" us with every detail.

2. Fire David Yates. It's a shame he's coming back to direct The Half-Blood Prince, as that movie is a direct tie-in to Deathly Hallows. He really didn't do a very good job, and The Half-Blood Prince, which doesn't offer much explicit action, will need a qualified director to make the long dialogue scenes thrilling.

3. Fire Michael Goldenberg. It's unlikely he will return, but he showed just how good Steve Kloves is. The Order of the Phoenix took too much liberty with the story, so I've been heard, and everything felt rushed. He didn't even explain what The Order of the Phoenix was.

4. Bring back Mike Newell. Or Alfonso Cuarón. Cuarón's The Prisoner of Azkaban was the most visually appealing and creative of the films, but The Goblet of Fire showed what it takes to deliver an emotional, dramatic and action-packed story all at the same time. Don't trust the film with another new director.

5. Make the movie three hours long. Children have proven that they can sit through Harry Potter movies without going to the bathroom, and the final movie won't give them time anyway. Don't try to cut big chunks out for the sake of time - go big, go epic, just like the novel.

6. Cut out the last chapter from The Deathly Hallows. SPOILER ALERT: No one wants to see Harry, Ron and Hermione as grown ups with kids of their own. Besides, J.K. Rowling was so good at capturing how youth interact, so why did she make the mistake of indicating that everyone is going to live happily ever after and marry their high school sweethearts?

7. Give Snape his due. Don't cut him out like you did in The Order of the Phoenix. He deserves his screen time, even if he isn't in the book very much.

8. Bring back Ralph Fiennes. The guy's amazing and his makeup is perfect. The rest of the three leads are already attached to star, so I won't bother saying "Bring back the main cast."

9. Don't afraid to be dark. The book is dark, gruesome and troubling. Maybe don't go for a hard "R", but go for a hard "PG-13".

10. Don't let things not happen to characters. Bad things happen to good characters; the Harry Potter movies have been pretty good about this, but I could see in the attempt to cut out moments the decision being made to spare characters who die in the books. Bad idea!

And that's it. Simple, right?

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