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10 Reasons The "Harry Potter" Movies Are Terrible

HP movies, how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.

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1. Albus Dumbledore

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Pretty sure this one is universally agreed upon. One of the most revered characters in all of Harry Potter lore, yet I’m not convinced actor Michael Gambon ever picked up a Harry Potter book, and clearly everyone on set was too busy being respectful of his illustrious career to give him any tips. Book Dumbledore is eccentric and patient, with a twinkle in his eye. Gambon plays him as intensely moody, distant, and often downright belligerent.

2. Harry Potter

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Daniel Radcliffe is good at being slightly clueless and self-effacing as Book Harry is, and sure he looks the part, but he also overacts—grimacing and panting heavily—much of the time looking flat-out silly. But maybe it’s not really his fault; Harry Potter is a character generally impossible to make interesting on the big-screen, because so much of what makes him unique (his wry humor, his tendencies towards bold daring) happens inside his own head.


3. Ginny Weasley

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They cast Bonnie Wright when she was seven years old, so it’s not really anyone’s fault she grew up to have zero chemistry with Daniel Radcliffe. Book Ginny is a fierce little chick who understands Harry’s need to go off and save the world, and has no trouble taking care of herself. Movie Ginny is dull, awkward, and uncomfortable around Harry; the few kisses they share on-screen are visibly painful. Radcliffe had more sparks flying with Robert Pattinson/Cedric Diggory.

4. Lack of S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare)

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In the films it doesn’t exist, but in the books it was an important obsession of Hermione’s. S.P.E.W showcases her penchant for bold activism, and also one of the most touching moments in the entire saga came as a direct result of it. The reason Hermione finally kisses Ron in the final book is because Ron unexpectedly suggests they save the Hogwarts house elves before the Battle that’s about to begin. Hermione realizes Ron has not only listened to her prattling on about house elves all these years, but he's also changed and grown and become compassionate. That is a turn on for women!

5. Unconvincing Friendships

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In the HP books, it’s gospel that evil magic can only be overcome with help from one’s friends. But the HP movies don’t prove this at all, because the script is too serious and the characters aren’t given enough time to simply hang out. Harry, Ron, and Hermione sit together and talk ALL the time in the books. They’re in the Common Room playing wizard’s chess, dozing by the fire, doing homework (or copying Hermione's). In the movies they’re always running around like three chickens with their heads cut off. Packing too many plot points into a 2.5 hour movie means eliminating all the down time that happened in-between dramatic events—problem is, that down time is also when the friendships actually happened.

6. Harry and Dumbledore's Relationship

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One of the most unexpected and complex developments of the entire series: the revelation about who the invulnerable hero Dumbledore actually was, and what he hid from Harry. In the movies, we never learn about the strange parallels between Dumbledore and Harry’s stories. We don’t see Dumbledore’s searing guilt over the death of his sister, or his friendship (romance?) with that bastard Grindelwald. We aren’t privy to news of his surprising draw to power that nearly destroyed him years ago. A big part of Book Harry’s triumph is his ability to be a stronger man than Dumbledore was—he is able to deal with things Dumbledore could not, forgoing the temptation of the hallows, and making peace with the inevitability of Death—thus becoming Master of Death. None of this is in the films.

7. Harry and Voldemort's Showdown

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It all comes down to this: the final battle between good and evil. But the duel in the movie features Harry grabbing Voldemort and pulling them both off the tallest Hogwarts tower; they fly around intertwined, wrestling and screaming. WHAT? This is not the way either one of them would ever choose to face the other. They prefer to linger, chat about motives and magical philosophy, hurl and dodge curses. You know what would have been better? Having Harry and Voldemort battle it out in front of everyone, while Harry explained the entire point of the series. Like in those pesky books.

8. Harry Snapping the Elder Wand In Half

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Did the writers really think it made sense for the most powerful wand in the world to be destroyed by a guy snapping it in half? In the books, Harry decides to put the Elder Wand back in Dumbledore’s tomb, essentially giving up the possibility for world domination, because he was “happier” with his old wand, like he is with his old friends. Harry never lusted after power. If Harry dies a natural death (it is explained), the wand’s killing power will be broken. But nope, the movies don’t have time for all that—just toss it off the bridge. That should do it, chaps.

9. The Mood

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The tone of the films is, for the most part, completely wrong. The seven Potter books deal with heavy issues, granted—but they are also good-humored, filled with cozy, homey dwellings with crackling fireplaces, delicious food, lively bantering, and that always delightful, under-handed British wit. The films, contrastingly, are about action sequences, racing towards the finish line, dark and frightening discoveries. I know it's badass, but the humor and warmth disappears almost entirely, especially as the films progressed and David Yates took over.

10. Draco and Voldemort's Hug it Out

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I can't even with this one. These two literally hug it out in the Deathly Hallows part II movie, when Voldemort feels Draco has served him well and wants to give him some encouragement. Except Voldemort would sooner destroy every single one of his own horcruxes, then adopt Harry and raise him as his own son, than hug another human being. I'm pretty sure Voldemort has never been hugged a day in his life. That's really the root of the whole problem, isn't it?

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