Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Ranking the Potter Children (Sort of...)

I ranked my favourite adults of Potter-world a few weeks ago. That was easy. The children? Not so much.
I had planned to rank them, but that seemed unfair. Only three, possibly four, of them get the chance to have constant yearly character development. They’re listed in order of importance – ascending. The five last ones had to be assessed; the other three were just for my interest in them, good or bad. I still graded them, even though there’s a possibility that the grades are a little too arbitrary. It’s difficult to judge performances…I do love Harry Potter, hopelessly, but I’m trying to be as objective as possible.
Robert Pattinson as Cedric Diggory
It’s amazing what some hair (and lack of whitening makeup, I presume) can do. I have to squint to find any relation between Pattinson’s Diggory and Edward Cullen. It’s not a sizeable role and he appears in only one instalment, but he’s on point as the morally upright Diggory. He is as anti-Harry as one can get without being, well, evil. And since so many of the children are at their worst in this particularly film he comes out looking even better. I even wished that Diggory (the cinematic one, at least) had won the tournament. (Highpoint: The Goblet of Fire, duh: B)
Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom
I’m never sure what to make of Neville, on screen or on the page. Certainly, his cinematic equivalent could do with a little more of that back-story (okay, a lot of the back-story), but I don’t care either way; I’m not that interested. The supporting children of Potter-world, especially those not playing someone’s love interest, are dolefully marginalised, especially on the screen, and Neville just seems truncated. I still find his musings on dance in The Goblet of Fire hilarious, though. (Highpoint: The Order of the Phoenix: C+)

Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood
Luna is…well and loony. (Really, sometimes Rowling is just a bit too literal when naming her characters.) It’s a tough task to pull off a spaced out but likeable, and still lucid…mostly, character. I suppose it’s even more difficult pulling of a spaced out child. Still, I’m always pleasantly surprised at where she decided to take the character. She has the musicality in the voice down and manages to never come off as ingratiating. Kudos, I say. (Highpoint: The Half Blood Prince: B)
Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy
The characterisation of the majority of Slytherins is not Rowling’s strongpoint (it’s just a little too EVIL: end of story). When you have thespians like HBC and Rickman alleviating the issues on screen it works. Alas, Felton is neither. The Malfoy of the first three films was woefully cringe-worthy, every time he would sputter out “Potter!” I would roll my eyes. The older he got, the more he learned to tone it down and it is obvious that the sixth instalment was something of a coming-of-age for him. Granted the role is what it is (hollow, for the most part) but he does some credible things in his brightest moments. (Highpoint: The Half Blood Prince: B-/B)
Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasely
The bad thing about reading the Harry Potter books while the films are in production is that the actors become the image you see of the characters. I have no problem with the Ginny of Rowling’s imagination, but Wright is hopeless bland. I wish they’d recast the role (Juno Temple, anyone) or drop the character. Neither will happen, but I am fanciful. It doesn’t help that she and Radcliffe are painfully uncomfortable around each other, from where I sit. (Highpoint: The Half Blood Prince: D+)
Rupert Grint as Ronald Weasely
I think I’ve mad it clear here and elsewhere that I’m most interested in the aftermath of Grint’s career than any other non-adult to have graced the screen, Potter-wise. I’d like to think that it’s more than my general appreciation of the character spilling over. Granted, the Ron of the Potter-cinema is not the same as the Ron of the Potter-books, not absolutely at least. Ron, in the film, comes off as a decided third-wheel, not thanks to the number of Ron’s lines that keep on going to Hermione and others (and that ending in the last film, not a line of dialogue? Bloody Hell!). Nonetheless, Grint continues to be entertaining and sincere. (Highpoint: The Prisoner of Azkaban / The Half Blood Prince: B+)
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger
At her worst Emma can be nauseatingly shrill, luckily that’s not too often. At her best she is the epitome of what Hermione should be (but for the occasional stilted readings). Even in the first instalment she has a knack for the snooty side of Hermione. Not surprisingly she’s at her best when flanked by Grint and Radcliffe. She has the sensibilities of the character, but sometimes she’s too on-the-nose with the line-readings (or is the dialogue?). It’s as if Hermione was acting as Hermione, it’s not natural anymore just…tense. She needs to loosen up. (Highpoint: The Goblet of Fire: B)
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
I know Emma loathes him, I’m less antagonistic. He has the look of Potter down – but that doesn’t say much. Sometimes, though, he seems laughably off in his “characterisation” (this is me going loud: angry, this is me contorting my face: sad, etc). He’s no dramatician (not a real word), it’s simply not his forte; well that’s the conclusion I came to watching the last film. He has never had my attention as much as the few moments where he drinks Felix Felices. His comedic timing, for me, was a marvel. It all occurs as we know the inevitable climax is to come, but he still manages to be humorous – easily so – I really do think comey could be his thing. Sadly, there is no comedy in the next instalment, so I hope that he’s improved. (Highpoint: The Half Blood Prince: B-/B)

What do you think of the Potter children? Who outranks whom?


Marcy said...

Bonnie Wright is simply punished for being forced to portray a completely bland character with a significant role. I don't think anyone can truly pull off Ginny because she's just really that boring.

Radcliffe is really, really funny in HBP. You're right--some GREAT comedic timing. Never would have expected it.

But it's Tom Felton that is completely fabulous in HBP. I've never cared for Felton's performances in the previous films, but boy, did he give it his all when he was trying to kill Dumbledore. Just...damn.

The children of the HP films aren't nearly as amazing as the adults. But they're fair enough actors and I wish them the very best.

Simon said...

My favorite is the girl who played Luna, just because she is triumph for Potter nerds everywhere. I mean, she's basically an ascended fangirl, and it works.

Tom Brown said...

At first glance I didn't recognise Mr. Pattinson :P

Anyway, I think that Matt Lewis should have been ranked much higher. I mean, for me personally, he provides most of the camp humour found in the films. Then again, I have never read the books so I'm not sure if this is how he is meant to be. I just wish that he had received a larger role as to reach his potential.

However, I would definitely agree with you with Tom Felton. Yes, he was cringe-worthy at the beginning of the series, but by the latter films, he seems to have grown up and been given his own unique voice, rather than just being a stereotype for the (rather strange) school bully.

Nice list though.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

marcy i accede, bonnie's role is not that excellent - but neither is luna's for that matter. she has no emotion. NONE, she's like kristin stewart less talented twilight cousin with red hair.

simon yes it does work.

tom i literally grew up on the book, so i probably keep expecting more of neville. really, lewis annoys me sometime (especially 1-3).

rtm said...

Awesome, Andrew. Like I said over on my blog, there's nothing wrong with liking Cedric Diggory, in fact GoF is probably my fave HP movies so far. Y'know Matthew Lewis looks sooo different in the interviews than in the movie, he's definitely not geeky looking. Luna is such an oddball but that's part of her charm. Not crazy about Tom Felton's performance to tell you the truth, he does closely resembles Ben Foster though doesn't he?

Btw, where's Cho??

Anonymous said...

i think bonnie wright did good on HBP. i saw COS and seen of her on her past outside HP and she really did good for a starter. for now, i won't blame her because the HP series didn't give her much attention. i believe bonnie can pull up if she'd just given a nicer lines. on the other hand, there's an advantage. it won't be hard for people to see bonnie portray other roles, than emma, cos emma was really popular as emma and it really sticks to her as hermione wherever she goes

Napier's News said...

I am really loving Luna Lovegood as a character, the actress who portrays her is better than you give her credit. I am so excited for the last two films.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

rtm cho is horrid (says me), her crying in part 5 was just odd.

anon point well take. i'm willing to jump on bonnie's bandwagon if she improves.

napier i hope they give her all the lines she has in the book. i like her too, i just want her to get more to do.