Saturday, December 4, 2010

“People: 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' creator shut out of new movie - San Jose Mercury News” plus 1 more

“People: 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' creator shut out of new movie - San Jose Mercury News” plus 1 more


People: 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' creator shut out of new movie - San Jose Mercury News

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 07:28 PM PST

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Is the nude scene appropriate in the Harry Potter 7 movie? - StandardNet (blog)

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 10:16 AM PST

To see Cal Grondahl's cartoon that goes with this post, click here

OK, it's not really a nude scene. It's a little like Jane Fonda's "Barbarella" dancing in that infuriating almost-nude scene from the cult classic. In the new film, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1," Ron Weasley (If you don't know the story, sorry) is getting ready to destroy a Horcrux. The Horcrux gets inside Ron's mind by exploiting his fears that Hermione Granger, whom he loves, really prefers his best friend, Harry Potter. In the scene, which is sort of faithful to the novel, after taunting Ron, the faux Harry and Hermione appear to embrace nude, although no "interesting" body parts are shown.

There has been a campaign against the "Harry Potter 7" scene locally; I saw a couple of letters in the LDS newspaper, The Deseret News, along the lines of "I'm making the choice not to support nudity by boycotting Harry Potter 7." The story gained some steam when the Salt Lake Tribune's Sean Means debunked the idea that the scene was of the R-rated type.

However, Chris Hicks, who is about the only legitimate arts and entertainment writer left at the Deseret News, followed with a column that addressed this question: Why exactly was a semi-nude scene inserted into the Harry Potter movie franchise, particularly since a majority of the movies' fans are children, and was it artistically necessary. Hicks wondered if the scene is appropriate for children who were used to images of the trio — Harry, Ron and Hermione — as children and classmates.

It's an honest question to ask. I have to admit that I glanced uncomfortably at my three children, two girls ages 13 and 9, and one boy, 5, during the scene. It is a sensual scene that ends with Ron overcoming his dark fantasies by destroying the Horcrux.

So, yes, I was a bit uneasy by the scene's insertion when it occurred.
I have read all of the Harry Potter novels (several times) and I think I understand why the scene was included; and why it had author J.K. Rowling's approval, since she exercises that right. The Harry Potter trio are no longer children; they are adults (in the wizarding world adulthood is reached at 17). They are fighting for their lives and leaving girlfriends and boyfriends behind — perhaps forever — as they face real danger and their own fears. Indeed, Hermione is beaten and tortured savagely in the film, although it is not as brutal as the final Potter novel depicts her torment.

And that brings me to a final reason as to why the "nude" scene was inserted. In the novels, which have far more detail, characters, locations, and character maturity than the movies permit, the Harry Potter series ceases to be childrens' literature after the third novel. Beginning with "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the books assume a more somber, adult feel; this correlates with the growing strength of Lord Voldemort and the slow disintergration of the Ministry of Magic.

The fifth novel, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," handles Harry's rough transition into maturity masterfully and all three of the main characters fall in love and experience a crushing, demoralizing loss in the sixth novel, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

But these child-to-adult transitions are not as effective in the films, which have to cram several hundred pages into 150-minute, or shorter, films. The fifth film, "… Order of the Phoenix," for example, is almost like a Cliffs Notes version of the 810-page novel.

That's my take on why the "sexy" scene was included in "Harry Potter 7 part 1." Overall, it was a marvelous adaptation. Producing two films for the final Harry Potter novel is more than just a ploy to make more money — it provides a richer, deeper adaptation of the finale of a timeless series for children and adults.

This post also ran in Currents, the Standard's digital-only section on politics and culture. For more information on Currents, call 801-625-4400.

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