In today’s bout we have the cultural juggernaut that is Harry Potter. In the red corner – the book series that started it all; in the blue corner – the world-wide multi-million dollar movie franchise.
The problem in translating book to film is that you have to deal with those that loved the book, and baulk at the thought of any changes. Nobody wants to incur the wrath of those that will potentially come and watch the adaptation, but sometimes changing things is necessary, especially for a new medium where sub-plots vie for attention and the moviemakers have to also think about pleasing the audience ignorant of the book. Unfortunately for fans these differences can make or break their enjoyment. What many fans consider to be key scenes in the books are sometimes marginalised or completely ignored in the film.
HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S/SORCERER’S STONE – Winner: Book
HOW THE BOOK IS BETTER: Introduces us to this vivid world and tells a rollicking tale of supernatural adventure that leaves us wanting more.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS – Winner: Book
HOW THE BOOK IS BETTER: The introduction of the Marauder plotline advances the storyline beyond a children’s book series. The arbitrary events that occurred in the first two books finally get some clarification and make the story feel that much more urgent and chilling.
HOW THE MOVIE IS BETTER: It's not easy to take the longest Harry Potter book and streamline it into the shortest HP movie, but director David Yates does a pretty good job of it, creating an Order of the Phoenix that's entertaining and action-packed.
DEFINITIVE VERSION: The movie. The book definitely got bogged down in all the politics of the advancing plot, often feeling slow and dragging.
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE – Winner: Book
HOW THE BOOK IS BETTER: Shit goes down! Starting a lot more light-hearted than the last few books (the romantic entanglements are hilarious), the plot quickly descends, with a conclusion that suggests more alarmingly the deep dangers Harry and his friends have gotten themselves into.