“This was that rare class of cash cow that, when sawed in half, could de­liver milk from both bi­fur­cated ends”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

It has to be Harry Pot­ter and the Cham­ber of Se­crets. Ex­tend­ing ev­ery mi­nor plot point to ex­haust­ing length, Chris Colum­bus, too keen to be Rowl­ing’s safe pair of hands, of­fered a mas­ter­class in slovenly pac­ing. Those purists who ran their fin­gers along the book like a clas­si­cal mu­sic fan with a sonata score were well sat­is­fied. Oth­ers won­dered why any 251-page chil­dren’s book should be al­lowed to gen­er­ate a 161-minute film. Faith­ful­ness. Faith­ful­ness. Faith­ful­ness. In the in­ter­net age, film-mak­ers, when adapt­ing sa­cred texts, have be­come in­creas­ingly wary of dig­i­tal rab­bit punches from dis­grun­tled fans. De­spite fu­ri­ous ef­forts to in­clude as many de­tails from the books as pos­si­ble, the films still get crit­i­cised for leav­ing out the odd hy­phen or comma. The re­sult has been a weird com­bi­na­tion of plod­ding struc­ture and over­stuffed nar­ra­tive. Be­ing cyn­i­cal, a se­ries of huge pay days for Bri­tish and Ir­ish movie pro­fes­sion­als and a wel­come boost for the UK film in­dus­try. Much of this was de­served. The films were tech­ni­cal mar­vels that show­cased the in­ge­nu­ity of a great many gifted folk. Few would be­grudge the host of tal­ented char­ac­ter ac­tors – Gam­bon, Thewlis, Coltrane, Branagh, Har­ris and a few dozen oth­ers – their cheques or their in­creased main­stream vis­i­bil­ity. The pen­sion plan has just crashed.

The late Richard Har­ris as Dum­ble­dore

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