One of the biggest movie franchises wrapped up with the release of the second half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The movie adaptation of the young wizard's tale definitely deserves a look.
What started as a children's story of a young orphan who discovers that his parents were wizards turned into an engrossing epic of good and evil mixed with a coming of age. JK Rowling's first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, came out in 1997 and took the publishing industry by storm. Each book in the series took place each year at the fabled Hogwarts, the story growing more intricate as Harry matured and learned more about magic, Voldemort, and himself.
Naturally, when a book becomes a phenomenom, Hollywood wants to get in on the act. Warner Brothers picked up the movie license and, in 2001, released the film version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The adaptation to the silver screen carried risks. At the time the first movie came out, only four of the planned seven books had been released. This added a complication to the adaptation of what could be safely removed from the movie without losing potential plot elements. At the same time, the time limitations of a movie required the removal of scenes. Casting would also be critical. Actors would have to be found to portray the characters as they grew. The potential for disaster looms; a child actor could decide that an acting career isn't what he or she wants during the teenage years. The child actor could also hit puberty early, growing out of the part. Worse, the first movie could bomb at the box office, killing the series.
Once again, like in previous installments of Lost in Translation, directors and writers cared about the property. Casting brought in talented actors, both young and old. Helping the younger actors were a supporting cast of experienced talent that could be used as tutors and role models during filming. Many of the young actors grew into the roles, especially James and Oliver Phelps, who played the Weasely twins, Fred and George. The length of the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was dealt with by spltting it into two movies instead of cutting out critical elements.
Overall, the Harry Potter franchise was treated well. Warner Brothers saw the value of the series and didn't use it to turn a fast dollar. Again, as previously mentioned, taking care to properly adapt a title is critical to ensuring the final result isn't reviled by fans.
Next time, a cold war icon gets a reboot.