Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Saw this on Sunday. What follows is not so much a review, but a download of thoughts on this movie and my predictions for the final chapter. Although I usually try to avoid spoilers when reviewing films, this post will be nothing but. So if you haven't seen the movie or read all the books, do not read this post.


Okay, I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books. No doubt there's a lot of richness that gets cut out of a story when you have to distill 800+ pages into 2-3 hours. I saw the first movie in the theater when it came out and wasn't too impressed. Then the mania over the final book (which I haven't read) inspired me to rent the other four films to catch up.

Of those movies, my favorite was the one prior to this one--Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I loved Imelda Staunton's work as Dolores Umbridge. In my opinion she made a far scarier villain than Voldemort. Speaking of Voldemort, he's not much of a presence in The Half Blood Prince. Unless you factor in the Damien-esque appearance of the young Tom Riddle.

The Half Blood Prince is very fragmented. There's the obligatory Quidditch match--which does nothing to move the story forward but fans would be miffed if it was left out. Emma Watson is marginally less awful as Hermione, Rupert Grint remains his naturally charismatic self as Ron and we get glimpses of most of the other characters. Neville appears in the movie, but has not even one line. Loopy Luna gets a few choice scenes. Mad Eye Moody is absent as is Emma Thompson as Sybil Trelawney. Instead we get a new character: Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn, whose memory of Tom Riddle holds the keys to defeating Voldemort.

That slim plot line is stretched out over two and a half hours. Of course we also get love potions and love triangles, death eater attacks, the aforementioned Quidditch match and a run-in with what appears to be the spawn of LOTR's Gollum. The movie ends with the revelation that Severus Snape is in fact the "Half Blood Prince." What that means exactly is never explained.

After seeing the movie, I gave my thoughts/predictions to my co-worker Sara, who has read all the books and is a rabid Harry Potter fan. Here's what I told her:

  • That if Dumbledore was indeed dead it was a sort of Obi Wan "my death will only make me stronger" type thing
  • That Snape was actually a good guy
  • That Dumbledore and Snape planned Dumbledore's death
  • Snape is protecting Harry and Draco by killing Dumbledore

Sara said, "You haven't read any of the books? You're pretty smart!"

Indeed I am. But I'm also a writer and plot-wise that's what makes sense to me.

I also predict that Ron and Hermione will end up together and Harry will defeat Voldemort.

But it's not like everyone doesn't see THAT coming...

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