The film I have chosen to watch is Harry Potter and the Philosopher´s Stone, which was directed by Chris Columbus and published in 2001. It is one of my favorite movies. Many people of my generation grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione, and I know I am not the only one who watched the whole series over and over again. I think one could even call it a contemporary film classic. But how make it weird? What could I do with the film? I decided to watch it in ten-minute segments and then rewatch the same segment to have a really intense viewing experience, which was exactly what happened. It was intense. I thought I knew the film quite well, but it turns out there are a few things I never noticed.
First of all, there was a difference between the first and the second time watching the same sequence. The first time, I automatically focused on the dialogues and the storyline itself. However, at second glance, changes in the frame arrangement and things happening in the background became more evident to me.
The most obvious observations I made were editing mistakes, for instance, a character may appear somewhere else or have a different hairstyle in the next sequence. Furthermore, there were filming mistakes in general, for example, you can see microphone cables or Harry´s scar on his forehead is missing in several scenes (I mean, that is the one thing that they should not miss when it comes to his looks). In addition to this, I recognized a few logical errors as well. When Hagrid takes Harry to the train station, he gives Harry the ticket for the Hogwarts Express and is emphatic about him not loosing it (watch here). However, we never see the ticket or a ticket inspector again! Why is he so insistent about it? Another illogical thing I noticed (and I actually do not remember how it is solved in the books) is the fact that you cannot enter Diagon Alley, the shopping street for witches and wizards, when you do not have a wand. Therefore, how do new muggle-born students get into it to buy everything they need?
Apart from that, there were a few other things I noticed while watching it on repeat. For example, all the people who live on Privet Drive, the street where the Dursley´s live, have the exact same house, the same tree, the same hanging basket in front of their doors, and even the same cars.
The one thing that differs is the color of the cars and that the little fountains in their front yards have slightly different designs. At least there is some individuality after all.
There was one scene that really surprised me, namely the one were we first see platform 9 ¾, and I only spotted it because I accidentally paused there. In the background, you can see Harry´s future friend Neville Longbottom and right next to him, his grandmother.
That might not be surprising for anyone who is not into Harry Potter, but for me it was. I knew that she is mentioned in pretty much every book and film, but I did not know that we actually get to see her. That is one of the scenes where you can see how much value was put into details which probably no one would ever notice as it is in the blurred background and only visible for seconds.
The last thing I noticed may also be the one that astonished me the most: Harry has blue eyes in the film. Again, to people who do not know Harry Potter this might sound ridiculous, but the one thing Harry is told again and again is that he has got his mother´s eyes, which are described as green in the books. Furthermore, there is a scene where we actually get to see his mother Lily in a flashback and surprisingly she has brown eyes. Not only did they change Harry´s eye color, but his eyes don’t even match his mother´s.
There were a lot of things I probably would have never noticed without watching the film in sequences and stopping from time to time. However, if I would do it again, I think I would choose a different film. Having such a close look on a film that you like is on the one hand fun, but on the other hand it destroys the illusion the film wants to convey by interrupting the viewing stream and drawing attention to flaws. I think I will let some time pass and then enjoy Harry Potter and the Philosopher´s Stone the “normal” way.
By Sophia Pistorius
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Dir. Chris Columbus. Perf. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., 2001. Film.