Movie Adaptations Part 2 Vol. 2

So on to my second part of comparing and contrasting the Harry Potter books alongside the films. In the last article, I looked at Films 1-4 and now I will look at films 5-8 more closely and reach my conclusion. Please note, spoilers are bound to pop up so enter if you've either seen/read each Harry Potter, or you know, you just don't care getting spoiled...


Movie Adaptations Part 2 Vol.1

For the second installment of the above topic, I am again going to look at books being made into films but this time on a broader scale. Which is why I've chosen the Harry Potter series to look at. This came about due to my upcoming visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, discussions with a friend and my recent re-reading of a few of the books. All of which led me to think about the films - the things they got right, and the things they got ever so wrong. So I thought I'd look at a group of the books and compare and contrast with each film over the course of two articles. Everybody has an opinion on each book and the films and now I'm going to share mine.

Harry Potter - An Overview:
A brief background of the series for those of you who have been living under a rock these past 18 years, Harry Potter is about a boy who is mistreated by the aunt and uncle who are his legal guardians after his parents were killed. At the start of the series, Harry is blissfully unaware how much his life is going to turn upside down over the course of the books. And yes 'blissfully' is probably too strong a word in the positive sense after the way his family abuses him so the audience is overjoyed when Harry is able to escape, after being told he's a wizard and that he's actually pretty famous in the wizarding world thanks to defeating a dark evil psychopath when he was a baby. The books chronicle Harry's acceptance into the fact that he's just been told this life-changing news and his dealings with the evil wizard's rise to power once again all while trying to survive school. It's a basic Good v.s. Evil concept, something that's done before but here it is craftfully done over seven books, each one evidently thought out well in advance.
  Got it? Good, onto the books and the film counterparts....


Believe the Hype....

Breaking Bad - Walter and Jesse - Crystal Canyon TV Poster
Breaking Bad -...
Buy This at Allposters.com

Have you ever watched a TV show that affected you so much, you couldn't stop thinking and analysing it? I was going to write an article that explored a variety of TV series that were as powerful and captivating as each other, exploring shows that featured episodes that were just as mouth-dropping as the next. Then I got stuck as I couldn't think of more than one TV show that actually captured this. I will give you one guess to which show I'm thinking of (hint, look up). After months and months of hearing everyone rave about this television show, I gave it a whirl, and after two episodes... I gave up for a bit. I put it down to bad timing, here was a show that I could see had huge potential but I just couldn't get through an episode without a lot of effort. So I put it on hold, knowing I would pick it up again someday. And then I received the boxset, settled down to watch with my sister and boom! Chemistry happened....

Throughout this piece, I'm going to analyse every part of the series that makes it THE show that everyone talks about and why I actually agree. Spoilers abound, so what you waiting for? If you haven't seen it, go, go! I'll wait behind the cut....


Unpopular Opinions

This came to me when I was watching a TV episode that the majority rates as being top-notch (an episode I will come back to later) and it got me thinking about other overrated TV episodes - not the whole series itself but those single episodes that are considered gems by everyone else when in fact they are just lumps of coal.

1960s Head-On View of TV Set with Crowds in Bleachers on Screen
1960s Head-On...
Buy This at Allposters.com

I'm going to look at three episodes from three different television shows and describe, in my opinion, why I think each one was so overrated and what it is that winds me up so much about it. So sit back and start channel surfing.


Say What?

I started to think about the way that accents are portrayed in films after seeing the film Locke (2014) at the cinema quite recently. Locke features Tom Hardy as the main character Ivan Locke who sets on a journey when the mother of his baby goes into labour. It's an interesting concept, original- the entire film taking place on a car journey. What got me thinking was Tom Hardy's choice of accent, Welsh. The accent started off as quite distracting, as I, as an audience member, couldn't quite associate the accent with the actor. Which then got me thinking about actors who have got an ear for accents and those that should just stop even contemplating doing an accent different to their own.

Frequency and Hearing
Frequency and...
Pop Ink - CSA...
Buy This at Allposters.com

So, I will look at a couple of actors and the films in which require them to adopt an accent and analyse why I think each one is particularly good or particularly bad:


One Of The Greats....

Oscar Nominated Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, February 17, 2006
Oscar Nominated...
Cliff Watts
Buy This at Allposters.com

  I don't normally post anything relating to actors' deaths. Yes, it is always a sad occurrence when an actor dies before their time, as it is to anyone dying but I normally feel people jump on the bandwagon when an actor/celebrity dies - 'Oh, I saw him/her in concert/live in theatre, this makes me an expert on them and my comment must be heard above everyone else's' This time, I feel differently about commenting. A great actor today was taken from the world today in the form of Philip Seymour Hoffman. One of my favourites, he always seems to capture the audience's attention in every role that he took, whether that was in Doubt or Along Came Polly. I first noticed Hoffman in Scent Of A Woman, where he stood out even amongst Al Pacino who won an Oscar for his role. He was so charming in every role that you sympathised with him even when he was playing a villain or questionable characters such as Father Flynn in Doubt. I remember watching Mission Impossible 3 and his character being the only one I sided with (which is saying something of the other characters really, considering that Hoffman was the main villain). Even in Happiness, a film that was uneasy to watch due to its themes, he managed to shine through the ensemble of actors featured. And there are still many great films of his out there that I have not yet seen such as The Master, Synedoche New York and Capote in which he won an Oscar for Best Actor.
Shortly before reading the news today of his passing, I had read that he was going to direct a film by the name Ezekiel Moss with Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams confirmed to star. I was excited about the prospect of this film even before I heard the premise, just on the basis of the actors and Hoffman directing. It saddens me that I will no longer be able to enjoy future productions of his.

Rest In Peace, Philip Seymour Hoffman. It's an absolute loss to the acting world with your departure, you will be missed.


Sing-Along With Me

New York-Theatre
New York-Theatre
Buy This at Allposters.com

Music makes everything better. It can bring instant joy or can reduce you to tears in a heartbeat. This post was influenced by my sister, who is crazily passionate about music. I, myself prefer films so I thought I'd take a look at both - the way Hollywood merges the two past-times, how music influences a film so much that people are able to conjure up the scene whilst hearing that specific track.

Grease Buy This at Allposters.com

I love Grease. There, I've said it. Yes, it's a musical and yes musicals are known to be cheesy at times, Grease being no exception but I don't care. I grew up watching this film and by now can sing along to every song, knowing all of the words. It's a feel-good film, helped in part because of the songs featured. Whether it's background music to help along the scene, for example Love Is A Many Splendored Thing before the opening credits, or of course when anybody randomly bursts into song (i.e. Summer Lovin', You're The One That I Want, etc), the pace remains constant and quick, never slowing down. The music matches the energy of the cast (ignore the fact that most of the cast were in their mid-late 20s playing teenagers). The soundtrack still remains strong today with a song to fit every mood: light-hearted (We Go Together); heartbreak (Hopelessly Devoted To You); insecurity (Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee - Reprise) and romance (You're The One That I Want) to name but a few. There's probably only one song that dampers the mood and slows down the pace but only by a little and that's 'Sandy' as sung by John Travolta's Danny. You've just acted like an idiot to the girl you're dating, don't then sing a song that basically puts the blame on her.
The music is a constant rollercoaster from start to finish, right up to the end credits. Grease is a film that never bores and even though some parts are a bit silly (flying car, anyone?), it's easy to watch over and over.

Dirty DancingDirty Dancing
Buy This at Allposters.com

How can anyone not love Dirty Dancing? Especially teamed with the soundtrack that fits so well into scenes. I don't care if you're a guy, or a girl; old, or young, there's no excuse to not like this film. Slightly different to the previous film mentioned in that it's not a musical, I've included it as it has such a memorable soundtrack that, when it comes to thinking of famous music used in films, Dirty Dancing immediately springs to mind. More adult, in terms of subject compared to Grease, Dirty Dancing was still a film I grew up on (until I was 'banned' from watching it by my parents when they found out it was a 15 certificate and I was 7). The first song that springs to mind when thinking of the film is one featured in the final scene: Time Of My Life which sums up the film perfectly. It's a track that is fused in with the image of the film. Another memorable song featured is Love Is Strange, a song that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray playfully mime to, something that wasn't scripted and was just the two actors messing about between scenes. The director liked it so much, he kept it in the film. It's easy to see why as this scene shows not only the characters' undeniable chemistry but also the actors', all enhanced by a song. One song that will always conjure up emotion is Patrick Swayze's She's Like The Wind, which can be heard in the scene prior to the big finale. The audience can almost feel Baby's heart break as they listen to the lyrics that blend so well with the images on the screen.
 Dirty Dancing is a journey of first love and discovering oneself, amplified by the music in every given scene. The emotions conjured by the film and music are what makes Dirty Dancing so memorable.

Pulp Fiction – Cover with Uma Thurman Movie Poster
Pulp Fiction –...
Buy This at Allposters.com

 It's hard to think of soundtracks without thinking of films by Quentin Tarantino. It's clear from watching most of his movies that he's as heavily influenced by music as he is by films. One film that comes to mind that relates to this subject is Pulp Fiction, a complete departure from the two films mentioned above. The film is driven by the music choices, giving it an almost laid-back feel in scenes. Most of the music used is to convey the coolness of John Travolta's character whilst ending abruptly when the succeeding scene becomes manic and faster-paced. An example being the track: Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon used in the scene where Travolta tries to talk himself out of doing anything with Uma Thurman's Mia whilst the camera cuts back to Mia calmly taking drugs. The music fades just as Mia overdoses. This can be symbolic of her growing up, she's experiencing death in a way that changes her, linking to the subject matter of the song. The track fading can symbolise her life slowly draining away, the pace still remaining quite calm until the next scene where it's more frantic. By then, the song has stopped altogether.
 A famous scene in Pulp Fiction is, of course, the Twist dance contest. Here Tarantino uses a song that is not a cliche when it comes to thinking of music associated with the Twist dance, Chuck Berry's You Never Can Tell. This makes it unique, allowing people to conjure up the scene when later hearing that particular song. The scene in question is a favourite with fans as it was Travolta's big comeback, showing that he still has the moves as he demonstrated in Saturday Night Fever (1977).
  A film enhanced by the song choices, it is evident from Pulp Fiction that the director is passionate about music as he carefully chooses tracks so well, putting time and effort into the process.

Without music, films are stark and empty. Music helps to tell the audience what mood the director/producer is going for. It drives the pace of a film and allows the audience to relate to particular scenes. When done well, music in films stays with us for a long time after the credits have ended.