Harry Potter vs. LOTR

By: Matt Almeida

       I have not seen many fantasy films so I have very little with which to compare Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. One film which with I think some interesting comparisons can be drawn is Harry Potter. In many ways the two films or film series’ are very similar. Both were adapted from novels and broken up into multiple films. Also, both depict powerful struggles of good vs. evil filled with much temptation, violence, death, and destruction.  In the case of Lord of the Rings  it’s film adaption was done in a much more efficient and well thought out way. The film itself was produced to cater to the viewer and recreate Tolkien’s novel in film form. The film is easy to follow and provides extensive information to give the viewer a very solid idea of what is going on. This can be seen immediately from the start of the movie with the extensive introduction and continues to persist throughout the film through events such as flashbacks.

            Having both read the Harry Potter series of books and having seen all the movies as well it is easy to draw many comparisons between the two. In designing the movies it seems that the director’s cut out many essential details, assuming that the vast majority of the audience had read the books as well. The character development and background information in these movies is not every extensive at all and without it many viewers are left with questions unanswered. However, in the Lord of the Rings the background story and character development is much more extensive. In the beginning many of the aspects of the film are introduced. The events leading up to the movie are clearly depicted and described and the struggle between the orcs and the humans is introduced. Maps and vast depictions of varying landscapes are shown to give one the idea of the drastically different races and lands as well as where they are positioned relative to each other. The main ideals of the movie and the power behind the ring are also strongly introduced, preparing the viewer for what is to come in the rest of the movie. On top of this characters are developed thoroughly before the plot really begins to develop. The viewer is brought to the shire and meet Gondor, Frodo, and many other characters, leaving one with a  strong sense of what is going on before being overwhelmed with action.  Having not read LOTR before I still thoroughly understood what was going on.

            Another interesting but specific comparison between the two movies is the interesting roles that Frodo and Harry play as heroes of the films. Both characters are depicted as somewhat weak and innocent. Neither seems to be overwhelmingly strong or brave as you would expect out of a hero. Instead they play a different hero who does not necessarily give the viewer a sense of great confidence, but one that they can identify with and watch develop throughout the films.