My Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

17 Jul

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.

For an excellent review of the film with plot synopsis, check out the NY Times review here or Chris Kohler of Wired.com’s review here.  The following is merely an explosion of thoughts.

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.

Fred and George (James and Oliver Phelps) talk to a customer (or maybe that's the director)

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.

Yikes! Harrys all grown-up and kissing Ginny!

Yikes! Harry's all grown-up and kissing Ginny!

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.

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No Responses to “My Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

  1. reneealtson July 18, 2009 at 4:20 PM #

    i *loved* the 1/2 blood prince! my favorite out of all of them. the movies are *never* like the books, and i never expect that. the books are their own magic.

    thisis an amazing STORY. it’s all about story and death and hope and love. i loved it. i know it lacked tons from the book, but i loved it in spite of (or maybe because of) it.

    • Amy July 18, 2009 at 7:40 PM #

      Renee, I’m a purist…that’s the problem. I’m like this with most books that become movies, but only if I read the book first. This is actually the first HP movie I was like, “What?!” Of course, I thought Slughorn’s character was dead-on! I think the burning down the Burrow did it for me. I’m Weasley-obsessed.

  2. German July 18, 2009 at 5:24 PM #

    I agree that the movie had a lot of side ‘teenage romance’ in it, but it was probably only 1/3rd of the movie and did add some comic relief and entertainment value.

  3. Joan July 22, 2009 at 1:28 PM #

    I was rather disappointed with this movie myself. They left the Dursley scene out at the beginning, instead showing Harry wondering the city during the day. Not that big a deal I guess except the Dursley rudeness is an entertainment factor none the less and I think they could have afforded a 5 minute segment on it. No mention of Fudge being gone and new minister in their place (unless it was in the newspaper article they flashed on screen). They did discuss the bridge which was mentioned in the book between the ministers. Not a near enough explanation on Tom Riddle and the memories, which are extremely important leading up to the last book/movie. What galled me the most was adding a scene in that didn’t even exist in this book insteading of spending the extra minutes with the memory issues, dumbledore’s hand and why etc etc. Just sadly disappointed since they’ve followed pretty closely in previous ones. But, I’m sure I’ll still own once dvd comes out so I can have the full set.

    • Amy July 22, 2009 at 5:02 PM #

      Oh, yeah, I’ll totally buy the DVD, too. 🙂

  4. reneealtson July 23, 2009 at 3:03 AM #

    i understand the purism. i have long given up on books/movies translating well. one of my favorite saying is: “don’t judge a book by it’s movie”

    that said – i try to go into book/movies with a little bit of openness.

    • Amy July 25, 2009 at 12:15 AM #

      “Don’t judge a book by its movie”–I love that! I must definitely make use of it! 🙂

  5. charlotte July 24, 2009 at 11:56 PM #

    thanks for writing this, amy!!

  6. Heidi July 31, 2009 at 6:55 PM #

    I am not a hardcore fan and that was quite an education.

    Incidentally, I sat behind two Hard-Core fans (they were wearing Hogwarts scarves, this is how I knew). They would laugh before the jokes and whispered amongst themselves at several points and I’m guessing they had the same issues as you.

    As a casual fan of HP, this movie was my second favorite, right behind the very first one. Personally, I was a big fan of the snogging. 🙂

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