Little Things That Irk or Please You in the Harry Potter Films

I did a similar thread re LOTR and it was well received. (You like me, you really like me!). So, I thought I’d do another one, since I have a few days off to enjoy. Please either refer to them by their acronyms or their number for expediency.
I’ll start off by saying that I am a bit more displeased by the HP films than I am the LOTR ones, so I am more critical.

Things that irk:

No Dursleys in film 4.
No reference to the stag as being Prongs, ie, James in film 3.
No SPEW, but we waste a great deal of time with Grawp, a plot device otherwise known as a dead end. (film 5) SPEW is arguable more important to the event in book 7, which makes me fear for films 7 and 8.
Hermione is TOO annoying. And uneven. I like Emma Watson and I feel some sympathy for her, but someone who can act as well as she did in PoA (film 3) is not being well directed or handled in the subsequent films.

Horrid acting by Gambon in the GoF when he confronts Harry in the trophy room re his name in the goblet. AD would never have man-handled Harry in that way.

Obnoxious non-sequiturs spouted by Dumbledore in films 4 and 5

No mention of prefectship for Hermione and Ron in film 5

Hogwarts is one gigantic shape-shifter of a campus.

Uneven editing and choppy dialogue (films 4 and 5).

Things that please:

The pictures that move and talk. (irk is that this has dried up to a great extent)
Hedwig and Harry’s affection for her.
Petunia–nailed by the actor who plays her.
Aunt Marj–good god, what a horrid woman! Thank you for her.
Richard Harris’ Dumbledore, but Gambon’s is growing on me (he did the Cedric tribute extremely well).
The train and the castle at Hogwarts.
The thestrels are just as I pictured them.
Neville–love Neville.
Relationship between Harry and Ron–you can tell they like one another and know one another as friends do.
The infantile books they receive for their Ministry of Magic approved DADA class–nice touch (but I doubt those younger than my generation will remember those kind of books?)
Special effects: never too big or overpowering for the cast. Scaled correctly.
Maggie Smith–I love her.
Anyone else? I know I just brushed the surface.

This is one of my big ones. Gambon was not at all believable to me as Dumbledore in that film. Too angry, too intense, too forceful.


Inadequate explanation of the priori incantatum in HP4.

Bad editing in HP5. When the movie was over, I felt like I hadn’t even seen a movie, more like a 2-hour trailer.


The scene inside the Shrieking Shack in HP3. I think that’s my favorite scene in the whole series. When I watched that movie, I hadn’t yet read any of the books, so I had no idea what was going to happen. I was literally on the edge of my seat watching like this: :eek: as that scene unfolded. When I eventually read the books, I thought that scene in the book was way too long and had too much whiny dialouge. I’m glad they condensed it for the movie. And they made poor Ron sit there for like an hour with a broken leg. I’m surprised he even survived.

Tonks is hot.

David Thewlis is awesome as Lupin. I especially love the scene with the boggart when it becomes the moon. I love the look on his face when he sends the boggart away. It’s both contemplative and fearful. I was told going in that there was going to be a werewolf in the movie, but amazingly enough, I didn’t guess that it was him, despite that scene and the fact that his name is Lupin.

Oh, yes, I loves me some Lupin (and Thewlis).

I thought Sirius was well portrayed–even down to his careless treatment of Kreecher.


Kreecher–didn’t look right to me. Also didn’t have the right voice. And I want to see Sirius’ mum and her screeching portrait!

The list is bound to be all about things that irk me because I really, really try to like the movies, but there’s always some thing that makes me cringe.

-The wizard society is some sort of cold, brutal oligarchy. No wonder Voldemort gets so many supporters.

-They have no regard for basic children safety.

-I suspect Haggard is a Voldemort agent bent on killing Harry. That’s the only explanation for him sending the kids to be eaten by giant spiders or attacked by gryphs.

-Or maybe he just hates Harry because of his personality. Since the first one, when he almost kills his own cousin by dropping him into an ofiary, while laughing his creepy, petty laugh, he’s yet to show any sort of moral fortitude.

-Quidditch makes no sense. So a bunch of guys play basketball with flying brooms until the point a little ball starts flying around and whoever catches it, wins. Huh? What are the other kids for, then?

-The last movie seemed to be all about Harry learning to trust his friends instead of tring to do it all on his own. That would have been good. A valuable lesson and all that. But at the end his friends are easily captured, and Harry needs Gary Oldman to deus ex machina his way to him and save his ass. Um. Excuse me? The point of all the previous scenes, please?
I could go on, but what would be the point. Alan Rickman is awesome, though.

I loved the first movie. To me the rest are crap in comparison. It’s the little things that make the first one special.

  • Start with the first time Harry realizes something magical is going on when he talks to the snake and makes the glass disappear and then reappear.
  • The letters that keep coming from the owls builds on the mystique of what’s to come.
  • Hagrid’s grand entrance and the pigtail magic.
  • The entire experience of buying supplies beginning with the brick wall that moves aside (excellent use of special effects).
  • the bank vault scene was very well done.
  • The wand seller did a fabulous job. This level of supporting actor really makes a movie pop.
  • Hermione is so precocious and adorable. There was no way she could duplicate that as she grew up.
  • Richard Harris as Dumbledore. (by the way Sir Michael Gambon just became a father again at 68)

To me, the first movie was the perfect blend of script, acting, and special effects. I’m not usually impressed by special effects because they often overpower the movie but they were absolutely perfect in the first one.

Little thing that irks me:


Little things that please me in the Goblet of Fire movie:

Harry, Ron, et al, have been Port Key’ed to the scene of the Quidditch World Cup, to what seems a rather empty field. Then they come up over a hill - and whole wizarding world opens up before them.

And everything else.

The only thing that I really like is the Whomping Willow. Cracks me up every time.

I need some clarification on this post. There’s no right or wrong, I just wanted to reply to it.

I have 2 minds about this. One is we never see small wizards, so I don’t get worried about them and two is I think kids are really molly-coddled these days. I find the wizard world very like our own, really.

I’m not a big Haggard fan (after film 5 in which he has some of the worst lines, ever), but I doubt the double agent stuff. :slight_smile:

Ofiary? You sent me to the dictionary, whereupon I find that “ofiary” is a Polish word meaning casualty, so I need some more explanation? Whose cousin? Dudley? Harry doesn’t laugh when Dudders falls into the snake exhibit. He does laugh re the pig-tail, but that’s funny.

The only thing I dislike about Quidditch is the scoring system. I like that you can win by either teamwork or a wild card sort of thing (snitch). That would liven up some of our sports!

Have you read the books? HP goes to the MoM because he’s been tricked into thinking that Sirius, his only remaining loved one, is being tortured. Snape gets the message to the Order and they come to Save the Day. There’s a lesson in trust right there.

Oh, Alan… <girl crush sigh>

The last scene in PoA. How did Lupin know how to work the Marauder’s Map? If one hasn’t read the book, that scene is very odd.

Irks: all that stuff they left out with the Marauder’s Map and such.

Pleases: It’s just a little thing, but it’s so great when after the school dance Hermione’s crying on the stairs, and behind her there’s a completely unconnected girl also crying on the stairs - just a little “school days” joke. Usually the books and the movies alike act like nobody else is going around living their lives at Hogworts or otherwise.

Doesn’t the map say to Snape (in front of Harry and Lupin) that Messrs Padfoot, Moony, Wormtail and Prongs suggest he keep his abnormally large nose out of this business? (or something). I may be conflating the book and the film.

Major Irk:

That the Nov release for film 6 was pushed back 7 months. :rolleyes:

Zsofia–I will look for that! I never noticed it.

Yes, it does say that to him, but his connection is poorly explained in the 3rd movie. I agree that his connection to Sirius and James, as well as the explanation of Harry’s stag patronus is one of the simplest key plot points they left out.

I’ve heard the Dursley’s are not in Harry Potter 6, as well. It’d be a shame, as Dumbledore picks Harry up in that one(I love the drink glasses banging them in the head).

His name is HAGRID.

not fond of mr gambon’s dumbledore, way to over the top

The moving staircases: they were casually mentioned in the book, but they were fantastic in the movies.

The changing of the setting of Hogwarts for #3 actually added in my opinion; it adds a certain magical quirkiness.

Imelda Staunton as Delores Umbridge (sp?)- LOVE LOVE LOVED HER! She was more attractive than the toad description of her in the book, but I thought it worked much better (the ugly person=villain thing is overdone anyway). The kittens moving around in her plates was a brilliant touch that I don’t remember being in the book (though it might have been).

Flitwick being played by Warwick Davis was great casting. In the book he’s short but not tiny, while in the movies he’s obvious has mixed Goblin ancestry.

Lucius Malfoy’s wand- great visual touch. (He keeps it sheathed in his ornate cane handle.)

Another great casting: Timothy Spall is Wormtail.


It’s not that they’ve cut some of the books (that’s unavoidable) but WHAT they cut. (scroll down to give those who don’t want spoilers a chance to skim past)

I can’t believe they didn’t mention that Umbridge sent the Dementors- that’s MAJOR! Or that they cut the Dursleys out of GOBLET altogether.

Another omission that irked me that would only have taken a couple of minutes- Minerva McGonagall is seen as being totally cowed by Umbridge. In the book she was one of the few who had the balls to pretty much tell her what she thought of her and took every chance to undermine her. (I thought the funniest line in the books was when she told Peeves “It unscrews the other way”, and Maggie Smith could have killed with that line.)
Nowhere NEAR enough Kreacher, especially since he’s very important to the plot. For that matter they needed to show Dobby again- IIRC they haven’t shown him since Chamber and he made appearances in each book.

I’m probably the only person who’s not nuts about Fiennes as Voldemort. When the Rowan Atkinson rumor started I actually thought that was a great move. Fiennes hams it up a bit too much for my taste and I’d make his make-up less serpentine (give him more of a nose, for example). I think he should be far more human than obvious monster.

I don’t like the pictures of Jim Broadbent as Slughorn. I love the actor- whether over the top in *Moulin Rouge *or a 75-95 year old naive idealist in *Longford * he always disappears into the role- but the pics aren’t the character. While I know I just said I thought Staunton worked better than the book’s description, I like the idea of the morbidly obese old man from the books- either pad Broadbent or get Ian McNeice(who’d be perfect enormous sycophantic name-dropping old queen [who it turns out is a quite alright sort where it matters] from the books

Petty I know, but I resent Rowling’s insistence that only English actors play the characters. There really are Americans capable of doing a Brit accent (Zellwegger, Robert Downey Jr., etc.). It’s not that they didn’t cast an American, just that they were told not to that irks me (you’re provincial for a billionaire JK).

I thought Grawp was one of the worst CGI characters ever done. Of course I didn’t think he added much to the books either.

Least favorite casting (I know I’m far from alone on this one): Michael Gambon is a good actor, but he’s not Dumbledore. He doesn’t have the necessary twinkle in his eye. Peter O’Toole would have been my first choice obviously (though I would imagine they had serious doubts as to whether a hard-drinking chain smoking septugenarian would live long enough to complete the series playing the role his hard-drinking chain smoking septugenarian best friend died before completing). Leonard Nimoy was rumored at one time- could have worked; McDowell would certainly have been great but understandably wasn’t interested [don’t know how serious negotiations were, but he says he was contacted but didn’t want to do several more robed wizard roles]), even Broadbent perhaps, but several old actors would have been great in this role. Gambon doesn’t seem to be enjoying it in the least.

"Gambon doesn’t seem to be enjoying it in the least. "

In an interview on Top Gear, he brushed off discussion of his role as Dumbledore. He hadn;t read the books and didn’t seem to know a lot about the character. Considering how much the books and movies mean to a lot people, it seemed disappointing to me that he didn’t seem to care much for the role.

Oh, God–you are absolutely right. :smack: I apologize.

(just shows how irrelevant to me he is…) AND I misspelled Kreacher. Gah.
I agree re Grawp–I cannot see his face and not think, “what’s Alfred E Newman doing at Hogwarts?”. And he’s nothing. There is NO reason to waste time on him when other more pertinent plot devices need seeing. If I were the screen adaptor, I’d have cut Grawp first. And given Lupin ONE line re the Marauder’s Map to explain all. And ONE line to Umbridge (in the forest would have been good) to give her the satisfaction of telling HP that she sent the Dementors.

I also agree re Gambon–He does not have that twinkle or the self-deprecating humor that characterizes AD. I would have loved Peter Ustinov as AD. I don’t mind the non-Brit ban–one up for the British acting guild or whatever. There MUST be Father Christmas types over there that could have been chosen. I am heartily tired of Gambon’s stare. Richard Harris had just a bit of his tongue in cheek. Gambon acts like he’s clueless or ruthlessly plotting Harry’s demise. But, he did do a good Cedric tribute. (I’d like to see Ian McKellen do AD, but it is not to be).

The thing I hate (it’s more than ‘irk’) is the inevitable end-of-movie event (paraphrased):

“Okay, you three have broken serious rules, got yourself and/or others maimed/killed in the process, and generally acted like air-headed twits. 2,000 points to your House!”

No wonder the Slytherins are bastards; it’d get really old, really quick, knowing that no matter what you do, you’re going to have the House Cup snatched away from you because the principal likes to play favourites.

On the plus side, this always happens at the END of the movie, so provided I turn off the DVD as soon as we get to the last 5 minutes, I can walk away from the movie in a good mood.