Movie Review: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince

harry_potter_half_blood_prince_poster7I’ve been neglecting my Mraz duties because I’ve been living in Potter land the last few weeks, rereading the books to get ready for the movie. I saw it at midnight, and here’s what I think, on three hours of sleep.

Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!

Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I don’t know if it’s the best Potter movie yet, but it’s very good, and definitely the funniest one so far, which is odd as it should be the darkest one yet. Teenagers are funny though, so it feels natural.

A lot had to be left out, and I don’t mind that we don’t see much Quidditch, that Hagrid is almost invisible, that we never see Dobby or Kreatcher, that Tonks and Lupin are an established couple so she isn’t moping around all over, or that SPEW is non-existent.

I would have liked to see:

The Dursleys.I can see why they didn’t want to start yet another movie with Harry at Privet Drive, but I really, really wanted to see Dumbledore tell them off. Also, the new beginning makes it sound like Harry was running all over the place, free as a bird, instead of pent up in his room, desperate to leave and get back to the wizarding world.

Neville. Well, we see him a lot, but he only speaks once. After building up the D.A. in Order of the Phoenix, it would have been nice to see Harry interact with him a little more, especially since he’s an important player in book seven (and my favorite second-string character). Seamus and Dean are both around and Crabbe and Goyle are shown for a split-second on the Hogwarts Express, and it’s nice to see so many familiar faces.

More Fred and George. Just because I think they’re hot.

A little context for what Dumbledore shows Harry. In the book, Dumbledore makes it very clear to Harry that they are going through these memories because Harry has to understand Voldemort to be able to defeat him. In the film, Harry is just suddenly in Dumbledore’s office talking about memories, without any explanation. There are a lot of jumpy cuts in the film, where you feel like maybe you missed a scene. I think they should add another half hour of material in, see if that helps.

Um, big fight scene at the end? Maybe it was a time and budget issue, but I can’t believe they had the Death Eaters walk in, watch Dumbledore die, then walk out again. Where’s the Order? Harry doesn’t even tell Ron and Hermione that he’s leaving the school (although I saw that scene in a preview, so they must have cut it), much less to watch out for trouble. And if there’s no Bill in this one, then maybe no wedding in the next one? Or maybe a wedding, but without Bill all cut up.

Without the fight scene, there’s also no regrouping afterward where Harry tells the Order about Snape, and they all decide he’s guilty. No one asks Harry where he was, and no one tries to get him to talk about Dumbledore’s mission. Which reminds me…

harry_potter_half_blood_prince_poster4Rufus Scrimgeour. I didn’t need to see a lot of him, but the Christmas scene where he asks Harry to promote the Ministry would have been a nice way to remind us that Harry isn’t just fighting the bad guys, he’s also not to keen on the “good” guys. “I must not tell lies” and all that.

Dumbledore’s funeral.Again, time and budget probably got it cut, but to me, that was the really emotional part of the book, more than Dumbledore’s death scene. This is where Harry sees how many people have come to honor Dumbledore (and we see Ron and Hermione sort of together, and Harry is moved to see Luna and Neville support each other – the only two members of the D.A. to joint the fight) and resolves to continue his mission. He also has another chance to tell the Ministry to bite him.

The ending of the film was pretty lame. Harry tells Hermione what he’s going to do while Ron sits there, not talking. They should have at least finished with the three of them all together instead of Ron looking like a tourist in the scene.

So that’s the big stuff that was left out. And yet, they found time to add in totally new scenes. The oddest is one where the Burrow is attacked and burnt to the ground by Bellatrix and Fenrir. Huh? The Burrow is supposed to have all kinds of protections on it, for one thing. And what was the point? After it burns, it’s never mentioned again. Do they magic it back together? Where do Mr. and Mrs. Weasley go to live? Harry never expresses guilt for being the reason it happens, Ron never once mentions that his home was destroyed, it just happens and then is forgotten. Weird.

The new scenes with Harry and Ron talking about girls are pretty entertaining though, and give us a nice look at the kinds of chats they have during those times in the book when we just get something like, “weeks went by and the weather turned cold…”

What was most excellent were the Snape scenes. Alan Rickman is perfect (well, maybe a little too thoughtful – I don’t know if anyone could watch him and believe he’s evil) and even Michael Gambon got the death scene right.

Little Tom Riddle is ok, he was a little too bland, not as bratty and angry as I think he should be, but teenage Tom Riddle was awesome. He was confident and arrogant but also very charming and clever.

And finally, I think Rupert Grint should do more comedy. I heart him, big time.

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2 responses to “Movie Review: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince

  • Teri

    Sorry not Potter related, but I just had to mention how exciting it was to see a piece performed to If It Kills Me on So You Think You Can Dance last night. I’m always so happy to see Mraz get publicity for any song besides the official releases, and thanks to cool choreographer Travis Wall this wasn’t even the studio version but from the Casanova Sessions.

    Hello.

  • lori78

    You know I’m so disappointed with all the Potter movies except the first two that i’m skipping this one. It’s just not worth the time to watch something that’s not as good as the book. The movies didn’t capture the essence of the Potter books.

    The books are brilliant!

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