A Conversation With... Maryland's Harry Potter Expert, Jennie Levine

NOTE: See Jennie Levine's review of the movie. Scroll down to the link.

Q: This movie will have a PG-13 rating - should that cause concern for parents?

I think that if parents have let their children read "Goblet of Fire," then they shouldn't have a problem letting them see the movie. J. K. Rowling has never made a secret out of the fact that the books grow more intense as Harry ages.

I recently went back and read "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," and it's amazing to me how simple the language is when compared to "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." I do think that the movie might be a bit much for a very young child to handle - after all, at age three, I apparently screamed my way through Disney's "Sleeping Beauty," and "Goblet of Fire" will definitely be that frightening. There are dragons, after all. It's interesting that the Ontario Film Review Board in Canada gave "Goblet of Fire" a PG rating. That's the same rating that they applied to "Batman Begins."

Although I haven't seen "Goblet of Fire" yet, I suspect that it is probably in many ways less frightening than the book. A lot of what one considers frightening depends on if the imagination is more vivid than that of the filmmakers!

Q: Are you satisfied that the movies are true to the books?

I'm probably the wrong person to ask. I get excited for each movie, and in terms of scenery and set decoration I always think they're wonderful. I am less happy with the scripts. I know that there is a lot of information to be condensed from book to film, but there have been times where I've felt that some of the changes were either completely out of character or somehow missed the entire point of something in the book. Or there were times when the script added in lines when a perfectly good one existed in the book!

In many ways, I wish they had waited until the entire series had been completed (we have one more book!) before making any movies. That way, it might have been possible to step back and really think about what to include and what to leave out (Think: Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings") That said, I recently went back and watched "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" for the first time since I saw it in the movie theater and really enjoyed it. And although they don't fit the images in my head for how the characters look, I think that all of the actors in the films do a wonderful job. You can really see how they've improved over the years!

See this release on the web at: http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/culture/release.cfm?ArticleID=1163

New! See Jennie Levine's review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at:http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/culture/2005/Potter/review.cfm

Jennie Levine is just one of our Harry Potter experts - see the entire list at:http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/experts/hottopic.cfm?hotlist_id=55