Monday, August 3, 2009

Movie Monday: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince

I'm mainly a book fan with the Harry Potter series, but I fully admit that at this point, you must take the book series and the movies as separate entities with only very little interaction between the two. With that in mind, I hope that I can successfully convey my appreciation of the movie version of the Half-Blood Prince.

In the film, we open to a rather domestic scene of Harry alone, once again, and attempting to be a normal boy for a while. This is not to last, of course, what with it being a hero film, and all. Dumbledore, our wizarding Hero's Mentor, comes a calling and emphasizes just how much Harry can't be 'normal' by asking him to attend to the wizarding world once more.

In all honesty, while the film fits well within the framework presented by the previous movies in the series, Half-Blood Prince falls short of what I would call a "good" movie. The plot is barely important throughout, but the characters are too scattered for the film to be defined as a character study. The director said something to the effect of this movie being about "sex, potions, and rock and roll," and I agree with that sentiment. The film itself feels very shallow when this is a time that the characters should be deepening.

The film is about teenagers dealing with the very real issues of war and terrorism and coming to terms with innocence ending and adults faltering. Yet somehow, all we get out of that is a banal tale about three teens who aren't quite growing up yet.

Now, all that bad having been said, I do have to say that the acting in this film was absolutely amazing. Alan Rickman (Snape), Maggie Smith (McGonagall), Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix), Rupert Grint (Ron), Jim Broadbent (Professor Slughorn), and so many others in the cast are in top form.

I think that the issues come right down to screenplay and direction. I think that trying to pare down the original text into a film less than three hours is just too taxing and that they didn't know how to just divorce the two. I also think that there was some confusion as to how the film should be played out in terms of what to emphasize and what to leave at the wayside. By emphasizing teenage romance, it leaves a distinctly teen feel in the audience's collective mouth.

I left the theater at odds with myself over how I felt about the film. With acting this amazing, you'd think that anything would come out like roses, but I found the film lacking somewhere in the midst of the 153 minutes of 'Oh, Harry! Oh, Ron!'

Parents, be very aware with this one. I was surprised that this Harry Potter film got away with a PG rating considering all of the adult themes and visuals that are handed out throughout the movie. I mean, really, zombie-like creatures coming in droves and attempting to pull the Hero and his Mentor into the water? Yeah, that seems more like a PG-13 to me.

Buttercup's rating: where F is the film of Prisoner of Azkaban and the epilogue of Deathly Hallows put together, and A is so epic that JK was writing the second coming of Harry, I give Half-Blood Prince a solid C+. The cast truly saves this film from being abysmal and makes it worth watching.



I totally agree with your review. It's weird because you leave the theater thinking "that was good...but yet, not good."

They didn't go enough into the backstory about the Half-Blood Prince. And since I was too lazy to read the book and figured I'd wait to watch the movie, I wanted to know who and what this "Half-Blood Prince" thing was all about. Guess you have to read the book.

And those zombies totally creeped me out too!

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