All the Times a Cell Phone Would Have Been Useful in HP & Chamber of Secrets: A List. (Movie edition)

Well. As the title says, if a cell phone (or a normal phone; hell, even a pay phone) were to work in the Wizarding World, you would have a very thin story. It baffles me that the wizards don’t have some sort of telephone equivalent. I mean… talking through fireplaces? What if you live in a tiny little flat that doesn’t have a fireplace?

In any case, here are all the moments in the second film where *I* think a cell phone would be useful (feel free to add more)

…… obligatory spoiler warnings ahead ⚠️

  • Harry thinking all his friends have abandoned him because they haven’t sent him a letter via owl post. (Check your email, Harry. I’m sure Hermione would use the internet when she’s home).
  • The Weasleys coming by flying car to investigate why Harry hasn’t answered their letters.
  • Harry getting lost in Diagon Alley (side note: what’s up with Knockturn Alley? Why is there such a sketchy looking place right next to the Disneyland of the HP world?; side note 2: the Weasley family didn’t seem all to concerned that Harry hadn’t gotten to Diagon Alley..)
  • Harry and Ron getting stuck on the wrong side of platform 9 3/4 (okay. So this one actually gets pointed out in the book; That they could’ve just WAITED for the parents to come back, instead of panicking and flying the car. But honestly. Any kid with a cell phone would automatically think “I’ll just call/text/whatsapp my parents” before they would think “I know. I’ll take the illegal flying car. And leave my family stranded at the station.”)
  • When Hermione figures out what the monsters is and rushes out of the library with a torn piece of paper. (As if Hermione would ever desecrate a book, let alone a library book!!); A whatsapp or fb messenger group would have been real handy at that point. “Guys. It’s a basilisk using the pipes to travel. Carry a mirror to check corners so that you don’t look directly at it.”
  • Aragog. If they HAD gotten eaten by the spiders, they could’ve gotten a video out first. (Handheld cell phone footage of that scene from Ron’s perspective would be AWESOME.)
  • When Ron gets trapped in a cave-in with Lockhart. I can see the text. “I’m trapped beneath the school with a lunatic. Send help.”
  • And finally: Any time in the *entire series* where Dumbledore is away and there’s an emergency. 🤷🏽‍♀️

The Voice in My Head Sounds like Martin Freeman

Thoughts While Re-reading Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide

Although I remember Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (book adaptation 1985) as a favourite read, I approached the prospect of re-reading the novel with a mixed sense of pleasure and hesitation. Although I couldn’t remember the specifics of plots and scenes, I recalled moments of amusement and contemplation from when I read the book the first few times.

Given all that, it took me awhile to figure out why I was reluctant to read the book again. It took me about 20 pages to put my finger on it: The Hitchhiker’s Guide is one of those texts where the film adaptation (2005) has completely rewritten the imaginary world I had created in my head! Within the first page of chapter one, in fact, with Adams’ description of his main character, Arthur Dent, the image that leaps into my mind is that of Martin Freeman. From that moment, my inner narratorial voice itself speaks with Freeman’s voice. Now, this may be because Freeman has a distinctive voice that is easily recognisable, or because Freeman is a phenomenal actor, but the effect it leaves on me is one of resentment and discouragement. Despite watching the film only 1-2 times, as the first 20 pages unfolds, the story that runs through my head is the movie itself. Freeman getting irate in his bathrobe. Enter Mos Def stage right. And, given that Mos Def’s character, Ford Prefect, is described completely differently in the book (“His hair was wiry and gingerish and brushed backwards from the temples”), I think it’s understandable that I’m put out that his image replaces the character I had originally imagined in my own head.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Mos Def as an actor. He brings a charm to any role. And, I suppose in this day of inclusion, the thought to change the character stemmed from a requirement to make sure that all the characters didn’t look homogeneously the same (especially as half of them are aliens); although, of course, this moves risks casting Mos Def as a token character. (We won’t dive into my thoughts on the lack of representation for the ginger community, and the implications of re-casting the “alien” character with another visible minority.)

So I don’t necessarily object to casting Mos Def in the role of Ford Prefect. But I am dejected that my original picture of him has been lost.

Interestingly, Roger Egbert’s review of the 2005 film states that: ” You will find the movie tiresomely twee, and notice that it obviously thinks it is being funny at times when you do not have the slightest clue why that should be. […] I do not get the joke.” His review relays that the film was inaccessible for those who were unfamiliar with the book; indicating that those who remember the narrative and scenes were likely those who were already familiar with the book.

Did the movie (or other adaptations) replace the book adaptation version in your head? Or is there any book/film adaptation that was ruined for you as a result?