Monday, August 10, 2009
The third Harry Potter movie situation and The Time Traveler's Wife
I resisted reading the Harry Potter books for a really long time. I didn't read them, mostly, because everyone said that I should. I didn't do a lot of things when I was in high school, as I was when the HP series was starting out, for this very reason. By the time the movies started coming out I was over the angst, but too busy with college to read the books. I liked the movies though.
Now, the movie of any book is never like the book. I know that. I knew that I was missing stuff, REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF if I listened to the nearest HP fanatic, but I was perfectly happy to just watch the movies and let the books pass me by. Then the third movie came out.
I had no idea what was going on for most of the movie and drove my HP reading friends nuts with all my in-theater questions.
The screenwriter/directer/producer/whoever makes these kinds of decisions had made a movie for book readers. Folks like me who had never cracked open a single book by Ms. Rowling were left in the dust. It was awesome for the reading fans; no time wasted explaining things to newbs like me. It was a waste of $8 for me. Not that the movie wasn't good! It's still my favorite so far, but at the time that I first saw it, I couldn't possibly appreciate it.
Now I try to read books before I see the movie as much as possible. If the movie isn't important enough to warrant taking the time to read the book, then the movie isn't worth the money to see it in theaters. I'll still check it out from the library or get it on Netflix if it gets good reviews, but I will not see a movie in the theaters unless I've read the book it was based on.
This is why I read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Alex Award, 2004). The book was recommended by a friend whose reading tastes I respect and sometimes mirror, and the movie has Rachel McAdams in it for crying out loud!
A lot of things about this book made me mad. A lot. It felt like there was a lot of imagination put into the concept: this guy Henry goes back in time and meets his wife when she's 6 and all of the butterfly effect goodness that brings. Not as much imagination went into how that was going to play out once they made it through Clare's teens and into their actual real-time marriage.
If you haven't read it yet and feel like you may want to, you may want to stop reading here and just know that I didn't like it.
I feel like I'm giving away the ending here even though the author tells you halfway through the book anyway and you just have to wait another 200 pages or so for it to actually happen, but he dies. Clare's dad, when Clare is 12 or so, shoots her future husband who is traveling back in time from when Clare is in her late 30s. And then, as if that weren't bad enough, Clare finds a note from Henry telling her how bad he feels that she's spent so much of her life waiting for him and that he doesn't want her to do that anymore. BUT he is going to travel into the future from his past and see her when she's old. So what does she do? She lives the rest of her life, the next 40 years, waiting for him to show up, just like she spent the first 40. Real uplifting ending. I was so mad.
Moral of the story (my story, not The Time Traveler's Wife): Don't read a book that you thought would be too sappy for your taste just so you can justify going to see a movie with Rachel McAdams in it.
She did star in The Notebook afterall.
Book source: I bought it and kind of can't wait to get it out of my house. Let me know if you're interested.
Image credits: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban_(film)