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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: Where is the idea that the ‘Harry Potter’ kids are too old coming from?

Maybe it only seems like the haters are more vocal when a movie is really really popular, but there’s a weird strand of Harry Potter hating going around that I simply don’t understand because it quite factually makes no sense at all, and yet this doesn’t stop anyone from spouting it.

It’s perfectly expressed by Harry Potter hater Eileen Jones of eXiled Online (reposted at AlterNet):

So Harry Potter, the latest one. How many more to go? Only two? Well, good, that means they’ll finish up before the kids turn 30.

That’s the subhead of her essay about why Harry Potter sucks. In other words, it’s really prominent on the page, suggesting that it’s something that her editors believe will attract the attention of lots of readers, theoretically — one imagines — in a positive way, and not — as in my case — in a way that makes you go, What the hell…?

I don’t care who wants to hate whatever movies they want to hate for whatever reason. But this truly boggles my mind. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was shot between September 2007 and May 2008. Which means that Daniel Radcliffe — who will turn 20 years old the day after tomorrow — had just turned 18 when he was portraying a 16-year-old. Emma Watson was 17. Rupert Grint was 19. Tom Felton was, granted, 20 and playing 16… but he certainly looked no older than Radcliffe when the series started shooting, and he still doesn’t now.

The final Harry Potter film, The Deathly Hallows, is shooting now and has been shooting for months. So now the “kids” are, respectively, 20, 19, 21, and 22 playing 17. Which, considering the Hollywood tendency to cast 30-year-olds as high-schoolers, is downright precise. By the time the final film has been released, it will be less than 10 years between the first film and the last, an overall story that covers a span of seven years. And most of the stretching out has occurred at the tail end, when kids change far less: I bet you looked much the same between 17 and 20, certainly compared to how much you changed between 7 and 10, or 10 and 13.

Where is the idea that the Harry Potter kids are too old coming from?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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