Note to readers:: I am a hardcore fan of the Harry Potter series, so not all of what I write here will make sense to casual HP fans. Also, please remember this is my opinion and my opinion only.
Everyone’s been asking me if I’ve seen the latest Harry Potter movie yet—even though it’s only been out for 3 days! Well, today I hit a super matinee ($5.75 a ticket, baby) and checked out my favorite boy wizards and the gang. By boy wizards, I mean Fred and George Weasley (James and Oliver Phelps), who appeared in the movie for all of five minutes. I mean, really? To be fair, the movie is called Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, not Fred and George Weasley’s Magical Joke Shop. Frankly, I’m surprised the scenes of glee and merrymaking at Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes (that’s the name of the joke shop) weren’t cut out of the movie…like their older brother, Bill, and his fiancé, Fleur Delacour. I’m beginning to doubt the two eldest Weasley brothers even exist.
The tone of the movie was supposed to be serious and scary—there are big things happening in both the Muggle and wizard worlds, but the movie’s plot seemed largely focused on the drama of teenage romance. Of course, there’s that pesky Voldemort guy and his legions that kept ruining perfectly good opportunities for the kids to snog (that’s the term Brits use for “make out”). For example, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Ginny (Bonnie Wright) go in for a “Merry Christmas” kiss when all of a sudden the Burrow (the Weasleys’ home) is attacked by Death Eaters. Wait a second! That doesn’t happen until Bill and Fleur’s wedding in the final book. I thought there were supposed to be charms and enchantments protecting the Burrow—hence why it was safe for Harry to stay there in such troubling times. But none of that was explained earlier in the movie, so it made perfect sense for the Burrow to be set ablaze by the Death Eaters, right? At least we got to see Fred and George for 6 more seconds. I only hope the Burrow can be magically rebuilt before Bill and Fleur’s wedding since that’s where the wedding takes place.
It seems like the friendship of the trio—Ron (Rupert Grint), Harry, and Hermione (Emma Watson)—is diminished in Half-Blood Prince as well. While the trio is seen together, they don’t seem like a cohesive unit. And when they are together, Hermione’s sighing about Ron and Ron’s acting like a goofball. Instead of serving as Harry’s friends, they’re more like companions that come along for the ride. Other characters like Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) and Mrs. Weasley (Julie Waters) have bit parts, yet embody their literary counterparts. Alan Rickman, Helen Bonham Carter, and Michael Gambon reprise their parts as Severus Snape, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Albus Dumbledore marvelously.
While I love seeing the books come to life (amazing CGI), Half-Blood Prince seemed to focus more on teenage romance and less on actual plot. J.K. Rowling’s writing is so colorful because her main plot—the story of Harry Potter and Voldemart—has side plots that add flavor to an intricate story line. Her characters have more life and breathe on the pages of the books than they do through the actors that portray the characters on-screen. I do appreciate that the vast majority of the main characters have been portrayed by the same actors, which adds continuity to the plot. I’m just disappointed that the script for Half-Blood Prince sadly departs from the book—it’s more of a romantic comedy/drama with some explosions and wizard battles. We barely had time to wipe a tear for Dumbledore before the credits started rolling.
If I were to give this movie a score, it would be a 3.5 out of 5. Why so high, you ask? Because Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is still a good movie; it’s just not a great Harry Potter movie. We hardcore HP fans do ask for a lot from our Harry Potter movies.