Posted by: mzbitca | July 19, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I’ve had a few days to reflect on the move so I thought I should Post my review of the most recent of the Harry Potter installments.  If you haven’t seen it or read the book just know that there are SPOILERS!

As is the case for all the moves, this one was very visually impressive.  It was constantly set in a darker tone, even during lighter moments, and the camera would often move swoopingly which sucked you into the moment. They chose not to include most of the memories Dumbledore collected about Voldemort, which I at first was not happy about, but by the end of the movie i understood why they did that.  Anyone that is going to see this movie knows the ending for the most part.  The fact that the screen writer makes people almost forget that is a testament to the directory, writers and actors.  I would be caught up and laughing in the kids lives and only remember the ultimate ending whenever Dumbledore was in a scene.  In a way, the writers worked hard to make even hard core fan forget what was about to happen and it partially worked.  It prevented us from fixating on the end and allowed us to enjoy the journey.  

The ending was well done.  I had known they were going to move the funeral to the beginning of the seventh movie and I’m glad I knew that in advance.  Being prepared for that I was able to appreciate the way it played out.  When all of the school raised their wands in the air while Harry cried over Dumbledore’s body I felt the respect and loss that the funeral represents in the book.

As is usual for Harry Potter the female characters are not just side kicks but pivotal role.  Since Voldemort is not in this movie it is Bellatrix Lestrange that remains the representative of his evil.  I have a mad crush on Helena Bonham Carter and the way she acts here is why.  She is evil without being a caricature.  The beginning scene where she taunts Snape, to where she returns to her taunt of “I killed Sirius Black” and to the last scene where she gleefully shoots the Dark Mark into the air after Dumbledore is killed.  She carries the threat of what is to come in this movie and she does it amazingly.

Lavender Brown is played perfectly although a bit over the top.  She is a bit of a caricature of a love sick 16 year old but it’s played to perfect campy perfection with the way she swoons over Ron to the glare she gets when they break up and he is sitting with Hermione again.  She truly stills the scenes she’s in, especially when she fogs up the window on Hogwarts, draws a heart with her and Ron’s initials in it and mouths. ‘I’ll miss you.”

Hermoine finally starts to show her true feelings for Ron in this film and the scene where she is crying over him and Lavender is awesome.  She asks Harry how it feels when he see’s Ginny with Dean, and after she breaks down crying Harry quietly tell her that it feels how she feels.  It was a nice touch that placed both of them on equal footing instead of the usual movie trope of the girl being the love sick one.  Instead, Harry and her are both going through the same thing and are torn up and the male protagonist is willing to admit it.

The only real weak point is the character of Ginny Weasley.  In the books she is by far my favorite character and the sixth book is where her personality truly starts to shine.  She is sharp tongued, smart and reckless and the same time. None of that truly comes through in the movie.  You are aware that Harry loves her but the only two moments of her personality that seem to mirror the book are when she chases after Harry after two death eaters and when she is playing Quiddicth and kicking ass.  Instead she wafts through the movie like a muse to Harry and instead seems to be something he reacts to, instead of the girl that pulls him into a kiss and viciously fights death eaters.

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Responses

  1. How did you feel when you left the theater? I felt really unfulfilled but I’m still trying to figure out why…

    • I think that’s just the response to being left hanging. We know how it ends and now we have to wait. I feel like we’re right on the cusp of everything. My husband (who hasn’t read the books) bascially said it was 2 1/2 hours and he felt nothing happened. My response was that a lot happened but you don’t know it until the seventh book.

    • I also felt unfulfilled, but I did at the end of the book (right before I drop kicked it in a crying fit…but that is another story). I think you are supposed to feel a sense of something missing…but maybe that’s me.

      I didn’t know they were going to move the funeral tot he next movie…and I was wondering what they were going to do in place of Bill and Fleur’s wedding, since neither character has appeared in a movie since GoF.

      Ginny is also my favorite character in the books, and I had hopes from CoS that Harry would fall in love with her (because I am a nerd and I think of these things) because even in book 2 I felt she was going to be capable of great things. I missed fiery Ginny- Ginny who has come into her womanhood proudly and is taking it by the horns, so to speak. Ginny who, in OotP we get hints that she is more powerful and talented than even she may know. Where was Ginny’s power and fierce fighting spirit? Bonnie Wright is an gifted actress, and there are moments in the book where she shadows Hermione in her aptitude. They failed to show that here.

      Other than that, this was my favorite book to movie adaptation yet. They threw in a few hints of things that the book fans would catch that weren’t present in the other movies (Tonks’ and Lupin’s relationship for example is not even hinted at until now), and I think they captured the “love bug” and the pain of high school heartbreak well (as opposed to some other series I can think of *cough*). This book to me was the Hogwart’s crowd’s coming of age in my opinion, and I felt that here.

      • I have heard that Fleur is in the seventh movie so I assume they are going to introduce her and Bill. I truly hope they have the wedding because I want the scene where Kingsley’s Lynx drops in to tell them the minister is dead and the death eaters were on their way.

  2. The only thing that really bugged me about the movie was that Lavender is never mentioned by name. She is only mentioned by name ONCE and that’s at the end–after they break up.
    Otherwise she’s known as “that girl” ,”Ron’s girl”, “her”, etc.

    • I didn’t notice that, maybe because I knew her name so never really paid attention to that. I noticed that I’ve done that before in that they won’t mention something in the movie but since I know the characters so well I’ll forget that my Husband doesn’t unless it was stated in the movie.

  3. I missed the huge fight at Hogwarts and I was sorry that Harry was so inactive in the final battle without a good reason. In the book he is frozen by Dumbledore’s spell and hidden by his cloak, giving him a good reason to be a passive observer of the action. I didn’t believe that Harry would fail to act for so long. That’s not a big deal in the long run though… I really liked the movie overall.

    Your rundown of the female characters is good, but you left out Luna. I love her in this film and I’m so happy that the eccentric kid is a girl for once, and there is no pressure for her to change or get fixed. I can’t think of another female character like her and I’m so glad that she exists.

    • My theory on them changing was that it was more for visual purposes. If Harry was frozen under the cloak he would not have been able to make any expressions. In this situation they were able to show him and when Snape approaches and gets him to be quiet it explains why he wouldn’t have jumped out because you know he wouldn’t have stayed hidden unless he thought Dumbledore was safe. and Snape’s presence made him think he could wait, which makes the betrayal that much worse.

  4. Yay! It’s about time we had something positive written about Helena Bonham Carter! Gosh, I just don’t understand how anyone could say nything bad about her or dislike her. She’s fabulous! She really is the whole package, she’s beautiful, talented, funny, unique and really jut a down to earth, lovely person.

    Thank you for making my day!

  5. I was deeply disappointed by this movie. They cut all the heart and the meaning out of it. By reducing the closeness between Dumbledore and Harry (omg, men can’t have feelings! They are MEN! Especially since Dumbledore is gay we can’t let him ADMIT TO LOVING HARRY. That wouldn’t be fatherly, it would be GROSS! *eyeroll*) his death was so much less meaningful.

    They kept a lot of the basic plot, but they cut the deeper meanings of love and self sacrifice out of the story. And without love and self-sacrifice, what is it all for?


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