Popcorn and a Book (13): Good, Bad and Ugly Characters #3

The Good= a well portrayed hero or “good guy”

The Bad= a well portrayed villain

The Ugly= a character in a film who failed to live up to his or her book counterpart

The Good:

Gandalf from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy: Ian McKellen really captures the essence of Gandalf in the films. He is stern and commanding, but you also get to see his sense of humour. Both sides of Gandalf are well represented and believable. He is exactly how I imagined him. The combination of excellent writing, directing and the talent of the actor himself all come together to bring to life a magnificent character, one I think Tolkien would be proud of. I can’t wait to see McKellen return to the role in The Hobbit!

The Bad:

Count Olaf from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events: Lemony Snicket’s books are always over the top and who is more over the top than Jim Carrey?! As Olaf he is the perfect amount of ridiculousness, gangliness and villainy. Carrey’s chameleon-like ability to become odd characters makes him an ideal Olaf given he masquerades as several other characters (Stephano and Captain Sham). My favourite scene with him is when he’s showing his house to the Baudelaire’s. “Malaaaaria!” always makes me laugh. As with every Jim Carrey film, I’m curious how many of his lines were scripted and how many were improvisation… (like the part about finding udders on a snake).

The Ugly:

Professor Albus Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Ok, I get that Michael Gambon had some pretty large shoes to fill when he assumed the role of Professor Dumbledore after Richard Harris’ death. I do get that. And it’s not exactly fair to compare the two. But Harris’ portrayal in the first two films was so spot on with the image of Dumbledore in my head. And while I didn’t mind Gambon’s portrayal in The Prisoner of Azkaban, in The Goblet of Fire he stepped away somewhat from how Dumbledore would act. He was too excitable and angry, whereas Dumbledore is more of a “keep your emotions below the surface” kind of character. This is especially true in the scene where Harry’s name comes out of the goblet and he is being questioned about it. This Dumbledore is far too in Harry’s face.

“Popcorn and a Book” is a bi-weekly meme I host where I will compare one book with its adapted film, looking at the content, the way it has been visualized, the experience, etc. If you would like to participate in this meme, please visit the “Popcorn and a Book” main page for details.

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5 thoughts on “Popcorn and a Book (13): Good, Bad and Ugly Characters #3

  1. I couldn’t agree more regarding Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore. I’ve enjoyed his work in other films, but I thought both he and the the director(s) missed the boat entirely with his interpretation of Dumbledore. I think about how those final scenes in Half-Blood Prince, particularly in the cave, might have been with Richard Harris and I get goosebumps.

    My post-Harris Dumbledore pick was Christopher Plummer (though he would never have been considered because he is Canadian…).

  2. Love this feature! This is actually the first one I’ve seen somehow… I totally agree and feel bad for saying it, but Michael Gambon is a terrible Dumbledore 😦 Richard Harris was just perfect for the role and yes, I get that Dumbledore is supposed to be weird and quirky too, but calmly so and exactly as you said – Not so excitable! The thing that bothered me the most was in GOF when Harry’s name came out of the cup and he yelled at Harry and practically roughed him up, asking if he put his name in there. PSHHHH Dumbledore already KNEW he didn’t do that. That always bothered me! And sorry for the long comment haha. Apparently I got really into this topic!

  3. Pingback: Popcorn and a Book (26): Good, Bad and Ugly Characters #4 | Bookish Notions

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