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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ariosto to Harry Potter to (. . .?)

As underscored in this book, one of the great efforts in the Harry Potter movie effects was to make fantasy creatures as realistic as possible; that meant, not only to base them on living animals in detail, but also to blend the different parts into a plausible whole, and -- even more difficult -- to have them move as naturally as they possibly would do if they existed. And they succeeded.

Once again, as in many other subjects we have been dealing with, the origin of this approach can be traced back to the Renaissance, in both literature and art. It will suffice to compare Dante's Griffin in Purgatorio with Ariosto's Hippogriff in Orlando Furioso: the former is a stiff symbol, the latter acts as a living being, nosediving like a falcon, being taken care of and fed like a horse, etc.
And once again, it must be remarked that the Renaissance culture has survived especially in the people's movies and comics -- which one day will, perhaps, be reevaluated as a precious link between a past glorious Era and a new glorious Era in Europe. Somewhat later than tomorrow morning, anyway.

Jody Revenson, Harry Potter: Il libro delle creature magiche. Creature e piante dei film di Harry Potter [orig.: The Creature Vault], Modena: Panini, 2015, pages 208, euros 39.90