1:00 pm EDT, October 23, 2012

Helping Harry: 10 things we’d change in the ‘Potter’ films

5. Amp up the love factor

Oh yes, the awful kiss between Harry and Ginny in Half-Blood Prince. They were supposed to be soulmates, but I guess they didn’t feel too strongly about it. I demand the sweeping camera shot, packed Gryffindor Common Room (pay those extras, dammit) and ridiculous orchestral overture. At this point of the film, I’d just put up with over an hour of flashbacks and half-explained backstory, I think I deserved a little romance.

Similarly in Deathly Hallows, it’s like WB didn’t really want me to believe in Harry and Ginny, certainly neither of the actors did. At least they got the Ron and Hermione kiss in there. I was worried it was going to be downgraded to a chaste handholding and letter of courtship. As for Ginny and Harry, well, Harry and Dobby had more chemistry on the beach.

6. Desperately Seeking Weasleys

One of the most wonderful experiences of the books was that we got to get really mad at the Dursleys for starving, mistreating, and generally being jerks to Harry, and then find out about the utopia of the Burrow (and wish we could live there). Who didn’t want their own hand on that amazing clock? Seriously. So JKR created a generation of kids wishing they were ginger, and yet in the films I struggled to remember why.

Sure the Burrow seemed more fun that the Dursleys, but so did that creepy deserted playground in Prisoner of Azkaban. Maybe WB had a Weasley quota they weren’t able to exceed for each film. I can only assume who those two guys at the back of the Egypt photo are, because no one bothered to tell me. After all, Bill only really turned up once Percy had disappeared, and Charlie didn’t exist.

7. Please explain the Horcruxes

Remember that part of Deathly Hallows Part 2 where they had the wonderful scene explaining in detail how Harry survived in the forest and managed to kill Voldemort at the end? No, me either. We may have caught glimpses of the “pig for slaughter” speech in the Pensieve, but it was unfortunate that they went to all the effort of filming the Kings Cross scene just to tell us nothing.

It would have been nice to know why taking the blood was a big deal, about the “essence divided,” and the twin wands who couldn’t battle each other. Additionally, the finding of the locket in Order of the Phoenix, and Harry actually seeing the diadem in Half-Blood Prince, might have been squeezed in.

8. Film ‘The Other Minister’

This is one of my favourite chapters in the entire series, and I can understand how it would have been cut for pacing. But you can’t cut one of the only scenes that illustrates just how widespread the threat from Voldemort has become, and replace is with…nothing? Nothing, in this case, being a very poor kidnapping attempt by the Death Eaters at the Burrow, where the main aim seemed to be making everyone run through tall grass.

Without any signs indicating the dangers to the Muggle world, the audience was left thinking that Voldemort is sure going to a lot of effort to take over a school. Which is the longwinded way of saying I lied, and actually don’t understand why this was cut. Imagine bumbling Fudge attempting to explain everything to the Prime Minister? It could have been the funniest scene in the entire series. This chapter could have been in there word for word.

9. Everything about Dumbledore

I’m sure we all remember the revelations we felt while reading Deathly Hallows and learning about the eerie parallels between Dumbledore and Harry’s stories. Too bad as a movie goer Dumbledore’s past never even got a look in, which is amazing given how much WB loved their flashbacks. Where was his guilt, his naive friendship with Grindewald and his draw to power?

We never got to see the moment of revelation where Harry truly understood his mentor, and became the better man in dealing with things that Dumbledore could not (ahem, Master of Death). If WB needed some tips as to where to slip in all of this essential information, maybe in those really boring camping scenes, or in the ‘why did they bother filming this at all’ cameo of Dumbledore’s brother at the end of Deathly Hallows.

10. Everything about Voldemort

While I’m talking backstory, let’s not forget Voldemort. The attempts in Half-Blood Prince were admirable but not altogether helpful. In fact, the Pensieve scenes were more like an eager kid who had learned a cool party trick and insisted on repeating it over and over again. While Riddle’s incestuous ancestors were not essential to the plot, I’d call the damaging non-relationship with his parents character motivation, which seems important.

You could argue that it wouldn’t matter how much of this story was included, because Harry didn’t get to pace in a circle and outsmart Riddle anyway. Book Harry had to understand Riddle in order to defeat him. But given there’s no payoff in the films for the flashbacks they did include, maybe they should have spent some of that Pensieve-effect money on making Daniel Radcliffe look more like a vaguely convincing 30-something in the Epilogue.

If you could go back to the beginning

What one thing would you would change about the ‘Potter’ films?

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