Friday, 17 June 2011

Terrifying Final Trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Released.

Am I alone in being completely moved by this trailer?

Since they did decide to split the final installment of JK Rowling's Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows into a two-part film, I am left wondering from this trailer why they didn't just name the second half: The Battle of Hogwarts, as that is what this final chapter will eventually be known and remembered for. 

Although the deathly hallows are, of course, still present in this second part, verbal reference to them in the trailers is non-existent.  Instead, attention is firmly focused on the battle (and destruction) of Hogwarts and the final duel between Harry and Voldermort.

The mystery behind what the deathly hallows actually are is eventually discovered at the end of The Deathly Hallows Part 1.  How could anyone forget the spectacular piece of animation that so tentatively relayed this mythological story (click here to see that magical sequence by Ben Hibdon).  So, due to the films being split, I'm sure a change in title to match the focus of each movie would not be too confusing for viewers.   

Ben Hibdon Image see an interview with the animator here.

However, I would not attempt to argue this case beyond just making this simple short point.  Possibly this was a discussion that the studios had when the films were in pre-production but inevitably the need for fidelity to the books and the reassurance for Potter fans that the books have not been 'messed with' would undoubtedly hold priority.

This principle of fidelity to the books, however, can sometimes seem like a bit of a contradiction.  I completely accept that films need, yes need, to change certain aspects of the narrative created in books because a straight transposition from novel to screen, line by line, scene by scene, just doesn't work.  One is an inherently visual medium, a medium for the senses, the other is an assault on the imagination through the written word.  The two are not the same, and if they were there would be no point in attempting to re-tell a story so that an audience can have the liberty to experience these ideas in different forms. (For a quick insight into adaptation and how difficult a craft it can be see the exquisite film Adaptation, staring Nicolas Cage)

Yet, whilst the Harry Potter movies seem to pride themselves on achieving fidelity to the books, there are parts that deviate from the them for seemingly no reason at all (see my review of The Half Blood Prince for further reflections on this).  And there is one part in all of these trailers for The Deathly Hallows Part 2 , which I'm sure will not have escaped the attention of most Potter fans, and that is when Voldermort and Harry fall together from the roof-top of Hogwarts. 

I do not remember this scene from the book and, unless there appears to be a good reason for adding it in when I see the film as a whole, I will probably be oh so slightly bugged by it.  I like it when films are brave enough to change material from books, but with a film like Harry Potter, which has constantly walked the fidelity line whether rightly or wrongly, it only makes it all the more glaringly obvious when a scene deviates from this stickler of a rule.

To summarise, deviation from the books is made more obvious through the consistent attempt to stick to them throughout the series.  And if you're going to change anything my small suggestion would be to change the title (to The Battle of Hogwarts) one that is more fitting with the main narrative focus of, what is sadly, the final installment of Harry Potter on the big screen.

Thoughts, fans and non fans alike?

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