The poster for the fifth (has it been that long?) Harry Potter film, The Order of the Phoenix, has been released and it made me think about the series as a whole.
I’ve never read more than a few pages of the books. I have them all and fully intend to read them, but so far, they’ve escaped me. I’ll admit, I was surprised when I watched the first film (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was enough to see the second (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and then finally be amazed by the third (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ) –thanks mostly to director Alfonso Cuaron. The fourth (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) was again very entertaining and added many new, good elements to the series, with the Tri-Wizard tournament being the best.
So, I eagerly await the fifth film and seeing the poster made me realize one reason why. It’s the cast. I’m not saying they’re all amazing actors, but the continuity of it all makes the series as a whole much more fun. Seeing characters like Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley emerge from background parts to starring roles (even on the poster) is just cool.
I guess the experience is similar to episodic TV, such LOST, Heroes, and The Sopranos (all of which I enjoy). Even those are very similar to comic books when relating to story telling methods. TV and comics can take months to build up and play out stories, all the while the viewer/reader anticipates the next chapter and even knows when to expect it. The Harry Potter films are the cinematic equivalent of this.
Even with Spider-Man, X-Men, and others, there is a delay, a decision on whether or not to make a new one. With the Potter films, they put them out regularly enough that they feel reliable. Now, I know that’s because they are on a time-table. The young cast is growing older and Warner Bros. wants to finish the series (7 films in all) with the same actors/actresses in place, and I hope they do.
Recently, actress Kirsten Dunst was quoted by Entertainment Weekly as saying something along the lines of “people aren’t stupid, they wouldn’t see a Spider-Man film without me, Tobey, or Sam (Raimi).” I have to disagree. I want to see Spider-Man and unless I’m wrong, he wears a mask most of the time. A different Harry, Ron, Hermione, or any of the other characters I would have a hard time accepting other actors/actresses in the roles.