Dear Hollywood

By Gus Bode

Last year, a million “Harry Potter” fans, this writer included, laughed, cried and made peace with the final installment of this wonderful series of books.

The saga of Harry has yet to end with the makers of the films, however, and they are suing like mad.

On Aug. 25, Warner Bros. sued a Bollywood movie studio for copyright infringement after they had completed work on a movie called “Hari Puttar – A Comedy Of Terrors.” In the film, a 10-year-old boy saves his father’s computer chip from burglars after the family moves to Britain. Sounds like the plot of “Home Alone,” doesn’t it?


But because Harry is one of the few remaining cash cows Warner has in their possession, they are going to ensure every penny that can possibly be collected from the property will be made.

And so, the Indian film, which has nothing to do with the boy wizard, has had a delayed release date, which is the same fate that befell the upcoming installment of Harry’s movie series.

The incident is a great example of corporations squeezing money out of whomever they can, but the more pressing incident is the delay of the next film. Simply put, by not waiting for the books to be finished, the filmmakers have shot themselves in the foot.

The first four films were written by Steve Kloves, who worked closely with the book’s author, J.K. Rowling, in order to not leave out important plot details that would come into play as the films progressed. The first two films were incredibly comprehensive, if a little dry, but the third film, directed by master filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron came alive, and Hogwarts finally seemed real.

But that’s when the problems started. Each film got progressively shorter, even as the books got longer. The fifth film, which is not only the first one to not be written by Kloves but the shortest of the “Potter” films, is based on the longest book in the series, which runs a whopping 870 pages.

Condensing that much material into a 2.5-hour film means lots of little details will get left out, but judging by what was presented in the fifth film, the filmmakers are screwed for the next installment. The fifth film was rushed and sloppy, with important plot points being quickly glossed over or forgotten altogether.

For example, Ron Weasley’s brother Bill, who has not been introduced in the films, plays an important role in the seventh novel. So somehow we have to now throw in a brother who was forgotten for the first five films.


It’s little things like this that are easily forgotten when adapting a single book for a film, but when adapting a series as beloved and wonderful as “Harry Potter,” it’s an incredibly crucial detail that Warner Bros. disregarded in order to push out the product and make a buck.

Part of the problem is the aging of the lead actors, which means that the films have to be produced quickly so the actors don’t outgrow the roles.

But that is not an excuse for leaving out entire scenes that come into play later or pumping the films out as quickly as possible, regardless of quality.

In their desperate effort to cash in on a property while it was hot, Warner Bros. has dug itself into a deep hole which will take a lot to make up for. Luckily, the final installment has been announced as two films, so much of the plot holes left in the wake of the previous films will hopefully get resolved.

As a “Harry Potter” fan, I hope to see the series return to the on-screen heights attained by “Prisoner of Azkaban,” and I hope the battle for Hogwarts is as lovely as I imagine it to be.

Wes Lawson can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275 or [email protected].