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