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Jumbled thoughts: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Last night, I finally went and caught the latest Harry Potter installment. The sixth book was one of my favourites and, as I personally found David Yates' interpretation of Order of the Phoenix quite wonderful (I loved the movie, considering the fifth book is my least favourite), I was very excited for Half-Blood Prince.

First of all, I am instantly prejudiced when I watch book-to-film versions, just because I can't help but nitpick on what was cut out or what original content was added. But with HBP, that was not my problem. I didn't care that the Weasley's home burned down (WTF?!) or that we didn't get any background on Tom Riddle other than his first meeting with Dumbledore and the whole Horcruxes thing. I was slightly miffed that we didn't have Bill and Fleur around (although I guess we haven't seen much of Bill anyway...) and also, I thought the whole Remus and Tonks thing was just weird. I know it's a LOT of stuff and is very difficult to put all of it in a 2.5 hours movie...but oh well.

More than anything, I just didn't feel Dumbledore and Harry's relationship in this movie. I felt like Dumbly didn't explain Tom Riddle/Voldemort's past that well; we didn't get the background on his mother and the ring, and while the Horcruxes scene was pretty well done, I still didn't feel satisfied. There was just something in the way of how Dumbledore explained all these steps to Harry; it just felt so basic when it is such a huge undertaking. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but it just seemed so rushed and harried that I felt Harry would just mess something up on his search for the Horcruxes in the next installment. 

The whole Harry/Ginny and Hermione/Ron/Lavender was sort of meh. In the book, I did not mind it so much but in the movie, it just grated on me. Maybe because I found it ridiculously strange how Harry suddenly has the hots for Ginny, almost as immediately as he gets to the Burrow before leaving for Hogwarts. Plus I find Ginny painfully boring. And compared to Harry, Ginny seemed too mature and more experienced. Which, I suppose, in a way she is.

The person who I felt was a real standout in this film was Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy. Playing a bully is not hard work, which is what Draco's been the last few movies. Here, he has really matured into a young man who is suffering psychologically and emotionally about the task the Dark Lord's put him up to. I loved every shot that Felton was in; he commanded the screen and his expressions--whether it was fear, anger, hate, apprehension, whatever--showed clear as a bell. The shot of him in the Great Hall, while Dumbledore gives his welcoming speech, sitting in a melancholic, pensive position was just great. I think Felton stole the show, to be honest, and in the last five, I've just rolled my eyes every time he showed up on screen.

What else, what else? Overall, the movie was OK. The ending was incredibly anti-climactic for me. I was sobbing buckets (at work, nonetheless!) when I read about Dumbledore's death. I was a little emotional during the wand/candlelight vigil scene at the end for Dumbly, but nothing more. And the whole Snape arguing with Dumbly about what he is doing and Harry walks in on it...AHHHH that messed me up! Everything was fine until that scene. The whole point of this book is to figure out what exactly is Snape up to. Is he evil? Is he doing what Dumbly's asked of him? Now no one has to really guess (if they thought about it). The whole death scene was just so blah. Anti-climactic is the right word.

Two of my favourite scenes were the Quidditch (how awesome was Ron?! And ohhh the Quidditch, it was absolutely fantastic. I wish we could have seen more to be honest. Truthfully, if they make an entire movie about a Quidditch match, I will willingly watch it) and Dumbledore and Harry getting the locket (explanation for where the locket came from? So many missed opps to enlighten the audience about the Horcruxes!). This is where, honestly, I felt that Dumbly came to life. I really like Michael Gambon and he is such a good actor, but I feel like his Dumbly misses out on the wit and charm that Richard Harris carried. If there was a mix of Harris's cute old man character and Gambon's strong wizard personality, that'd be the perfect Dumbledore. But anyway. That was the most emotional scene for me and I think Dumbly's transformation from being forced to drink the potion and then gathering up his strength to blast the Inferi away was amazing (by the way, did you notice how he used his weak, burnt hand to do all the magic? Uhh Dumbly, you're hurt. Don't use that hand. You never did in the book).

I should probably stop rambling about the film now. There were some fabulous moments in it and overall, it was entertaining. But if you are a hardcore fan of the book, be prepared for several disappointments.

Random kudos

Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix. The woman is SCARY. She's excellent.
Alan Rickman as Snape. I just love Snape and Rickman's version just cracks me up. In a good way. Too bad we didn't get to see more of him and the whole "I am the Half-Blood Prince" was so meh. So anti-climactic (word of the day). Also, no Hermione figuring this out??? Lame.
Jim Broadbent as Slughorn. I heart Jim Broadbent! He was excellent as Sluggy. Oh and random trivia: Madam Pomfrey plays Briget's mum on Bridget Jones's Diary. So now we have part of the cast of that film too in HP (the other is Gosford Park. Incidentally, I'm pretty sure the woman who takes Dumbly to see Tom Riddle the first time played Lewis in Gosford Park. I know, I watch too many movies for my own good).
Tom Felton as Draco. He was awesome.
I LOVED the Apparation scene. It's exactly what I imagined it would be and ooh I wish I could Apparate!

Meh moments

Lupin and Tonks. WTF? Thank you for sparing us the whole story there.
No Scrimgeour/Other Minister. Pretty important, I'd say, especially considering that Scrimgeour asks for Harry's "help" at the end.
Harry/Ginny. Sooooooo boring. Really. But then again, I'm not a big fan of this ship.
I'm sure there's more or I have already covered it up above. Anyway...go watch the movie. It's worth a watch. In the theatre. But, if you're a hardcore fan of the books, be prepared to be a little bit disappointed. But that's the way it goes, right?

If you've seen the movie, what did you think? Agree/disagree with my thoughts?


Nice Review. I agree!

Agree with your thoughts for the most part. The Harry/Ginny thing was definitely very "meh." And you're right. There was so much important information left out. I'm just glad that they are splitting the next one into two movies. Perhaps they'll include more in them.

It'd be awesome if they could have made this a very long movie with intermission...whatever happened to intermissions?

June 2010

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