Harry Potter Page to Screen by Bob McCabe

Harry Potter Page to Screen is even heftier than I imagine the Monster Book of Monsters to be (thankfully with less of a bite!). It’s one hell of a book, and it’s hard to imagine a more definitive overview of the film-making process. There were a lot of titbits and treats within that were brand new to me, even as an obsessive superfan, which was definitely a joy. The quality and quantity of behind the scenes photographs was wonderful, and the layout was expertly designed by the series’ graphic design team.

The only issue is, I think it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. This book was a damn heavy. It’s a gorgeous coffee table book, sure, but it was also a pain to hold and read. The most interesting section of the book – the chronological description of the film-making process – accounts for only a third of the content. Even after hundreds of pages, there were still questions I would still have loved to have seen answered, mostly on the process of scripting the films, revisions that were made, maybe extracts from the first drafts.

The remainder of the book is filled out with sections that I suspect have been revised and expanded to form The Character Vault, The Creature Vault and similar. Certainly there was a lot duplicated from Film Wizardry, which I read earlier in the year. While in theory it is good to have all this information in one place, it was a bit of a letdown after reading the fact-filled first third to discover that most of the rest of the book was just pictures of costumes, creatures and props with the odd paragraph of insight.

Even with this in mind, I’d still say that Page to Screen is a must-read for any Potter superfan, packed full of nostalgic fun.

[Read from 5 August-23 September 2016]

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