Why Harry Potter Sucks
Written by: Wolfbane
For an amazing number of years now, Harry Potter has been a cultural icon. His books sell millions of copies. His movies sell billions in box office tickets. So I must ask, why? Last year, I was dragged along with the rest of my family to see the first Harry Potter movie at the local cinema. I didn't quite know what to expect, as I hadn't read the book yet. I was perfectly willing to watch, and enjoy the movie, as a matter of fact, I WANTED to enjoy it. But this was not to be. The movie wasn't bad... but... it wasn't really good either. As a matter of fact, it wasn't really good at all. When I go to a movie, I want to see action, character development, and hell, maybe a little bit of mystery thrown into the mix. It hurts to think of how mankinds technological progression has helped create something like this. All I got was a bunch of freaking obnoxious kids, running around a boarding school, trying to find a stone. We're in deep trouble if kids in the younger generation can identify with these characters. This brings up another point. If, like myself, you can't identify with such an annoying character, then you won't care for the character. When they get in trouble, you may even end up rooting for their punishment. But the punishment never comes. And the movie ends with everyone clapping... Yea... There's just, nothing there, except Harry Potter, who's annoying.
Knowing that, in many cases, a book is much better than a movie, I took the dive and read the first book. Well, it wasn't bad.... but... it wasn't really good either. As a matter of fact, it wasn't really good at all. Although, it's better than most of the required reading crap we get in the public school system. Despite this, I began to read the second book. I understand that stories like this may take a while to get up to speed. I mean, the whole idea of a series is for growth to happen over a long period of time, not during one book. Have you ever read "The Chronicles of Prydain"? It's about the same reading level as Harry Potter, but the books are much shorter (and the font size much larger). I used to love those books, and still do, because of the almost tangible development of character that occurs over the 5 book series. Not much happened in the first book, it almost seemed like an overlong introduction to the world the author was trying to create. But after reading the second book, you notice the development of the characters. As you read through the whole series, you began to appreciate all the things that occured in the earlier books. With this in mind, I ventured into the second book of Harry Potter and...
I gave up half way through. It was the same shit, the same lack of interesting events, the same obnoxious characters I had learned to hate in the previous book. You may think this is one of the most shallow reviews ever. Yes, perhaps I should have read all the way through the book. Maybe you say that I would have enjoyed it if I had read all the way to the end. And I believe that you're right. Several months later, I picked up reading it again, and finished off the book. I was even less impressed than I was before. The ending battle just... it just... I don't really know how to explain it. I didn't care at all, Harry Potter could have been given the most graphic death ever, and I wouldn't have cared. It's just to hard to like the kid.
To further increase my punishment, I just recently went to see the second film. I'm begining to think I hate myself or something. I knew ahead of time I wouldn't enjoy the film, but I went anyway. First of all, I have to say that I literally fell asleep several times throuought the film. The only redeeming part of the whole film was the quidditch match, which I thought was actually done very well. If all the action sequences in the films matched up to the intensity and level of excitement as this, I may have actually enjoyed the films. These "other" action sequences include the spider sequence. Yes, the one that you were supposed to shield your precious kiddies from. The part that was supposed to be so scary that... You might be scared, or something. But scenes like this follow the cliche kiddy-hero model where one second it's "Oh no!!! What's going to happen mommy?!" and several seconds later, some random event happens (i.e. the car drives in to save them) and the kids all breathe a sigh of relief. Their hero has defeated those evil baddies! And the ending!!! AUG!!!! It's incredibly superficial, I wanted to cry out in pain. The ending has one of Harry Potters friends (Hagard, the large guy, sort of a mentor towards Harry) return from his short and meaningless stay in prison. I forget what he said, but he made some sort of comment (maybe it was something emotional and meaningful, but something like that would have stood out) and the whole student body began to clap in approval. At this point, the camera zooms out, the credits roll, and you have to slap yourself a couple times to make it appear you're awake, so as to not offend your girlfriend or whoever dragged you along to the movie.
In final analysis, Harry Potter sucks. The whole series is based on the western value that there is an absolute good, and an absolute evil. This, in itself, can make it hard to identify with the story. I'm not going to talk in meta-physical terms, but in a more everyday sense. I don't believe that absolute good and absolute evil are an everyday commoditiy. In real life, you deal in shades of gray. Things like anime, which have begun to gain acceptance in the western world, show this reality in their stories and characters. Seriously, think about this. Animation has reached a level of art greater than some of the highest budget movies. This leads me into another rant, which I will write later. But in a day when movies like Lord of The Rings exist, and show that characters CAN be interesting, that you can identify with a character's plight and root them on against the enemy; in a day where the story cliche doesn't make your movie any more interesting; in a day when ARTISTS create the entertainment, Harry Potter has no place.