It’s been awhile since my last “Good, Bad and Ugly” post, so I figured one was due. Here we go…
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
Professor Albus Dumbledore from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In my last installment of “Good, Bad and Ugly Characters”, I talked about why I didn’t like Richard Gambon’s portrayal of Dumbledore, and a large part of my dislike is because Richard Harris’ Dumbledore is true to the book. Harris is exactly how I imagine Dumbledore in the books: he is soft spoken and elderly, but radiates power. He is reserved and contained. He isn’t excitable like the later Dumbledore. When I read the HP books, I picture Harris. It would have been really interesting to see how he handled the character in the later films, but sadly fate had other ideas.
Gollum from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Return of the King. It really is too bad that at the time of LOTR’s release, Andy Serkis couldn’t be nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Gollum because he was a CGI character. I mean how fantastic is Gollum in these movies?! And behind all that CGI is Serkis, jumping into glacial streams, bounding over rocks on all fours, and pretending to hack up hairballs. Gollum is one of my favourite fictional characters, and Serkis just blew the role out of the water. I was so thrilled with the big screen rendering of this character. One of my favourite scenes with Gollum is without a doubt the one in The Two Towers where he is arguing with himself about what to do with the hobbits. His small amount of good is struggling with his selfishness and it is just SO GOOD!
Mandy from Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted. Mandy, Ella’s fairy godmother, is a strong character in the book with lots of moral fiber and a dry sense of humour. She is pretty great. Then comes the movie version, played by Minnie Driver, and Mandy becomes something of a joke. Where the book version chose not to do big magic because she is smart and knows that big magic comes at a price with often undesirable results, the movie Mandy doesn’t do big magic because she can’t—she is too unskilled in magic to do spells successfully. I roll my eyes and shake my head at this big screen counterpart. Such a disappointment. (You can find my full Popcorn and a Book analysis of Ella Enchanted here.)
“Popcorn and a Book” is a meme I host where I 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.