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Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Prince


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In our previews review I stated that David Yates’ visual style was lacking. Oddly enough this movie is quite the opposite. The shot selection is much more mature and the movie is well put together.

The story (screenplay written by Steve Kloves) for this particular chapter in Harry Potter’s life is a lot lighter on cheesy mysteries in comparison to the other films in the series. This will probably not sit well with fans, but personally I feel it’s nice to see some time spent on character development and less on some not-so entertaining mystery.

We can see right off the bat that these kids are growing up. I don’t mean physically, but sexually. There is a clear sense of hormonal tension, which is handled appropriately for its audience. The characters are dating and/or wanting to. There is jealousy, new romances, etc. Personally the idea of a bunch of horny little wizards running around with their wands going off all the time sounds like it wouldn't work. Thankfully, all the boys manage to keep their wands in their pants until they need to "whip it out".

With the exception of a smoky face in the clouds there is no Voldemort (as we've come to know him) in this chapter. Naturally, he is discussed, a little history is given and such, but his noseless face never appears. You would think that this means the movie is less entertaining since now we don’t have Ralph Fiennes or Gary Oldman in this. Thankfully that is not the case.

Dumbledore, once again played by Michael Gambon (notice my lack of the use of Dumbledork ) takes up the slack where the real actors of this series are missing. This is the first chapter where he feels like a necessary part and has something more to offer. Michael Gambon’s performance is subtle, but works for the character. I wasn’t all that thrilled when he replaced the late Richard Harris (not passing criticism on him - Richard Harris just seems better), but here he as proven that he can pull his weight.

The main characters of the series are all well acted. I just wish that the bad guys weren’t so obviously going to be the bad guys. An aspect of the story in this one proves that this is almost always the case, which is a little bothersome. There is focus on a smaller group this time and it works in the films favor.

I’m pretty bothered that they have to speak out some words to use their wands sometimes and not others. This has never been explained and there seems to be zero logic as to when it is acceptable to not say a phrase and when it is required. I thought that the more mature wizards didn’t need to, but there are plenty of kids not saying a thing in this one. In this I can see Yates getting a little creatively lazy and thinking, "it would be cool to have him scream out the spell here!" Then in another scene saying, "No man, that just looks cheesy. Just look intense when you shoot that thing."

There are obvious gaps in this one. There are elements that just pop up and you realize it must have been in the novel, so they squeezed it in here. I suspect that these will become more noticeable as each novel in the series gets longer and longer, but they still have to be crammed into two hours (with the exception of the next one which will be two movies – insert cow milking sounds here).

They should hurry up and film the rest of these movies fast as the cast isn’t getting any younger. By the time they finish this half the actors playing the teachers will be dead and we will be watching the oldest looking teens we’ve ever seen.

Overall, I think this is a very respectable Harry Potter film. I can see where some people might not like it, but there is finally at least a little meat to chew on in this one since for the first time there is some character development.



Official website:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Directed by: David Yates
Written by: Steve Kloves
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Gambon, Emma Watson, Jim Broadbent

Source of the Bitter: JAS

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
Que on Thu, 08/06/2009 - 5:53pm

if you read the books first: you are more likely to go to the movies, as you are curious of the outcome and you already like the story. Those examined the production details and decide not to go to the movies are labled as 'wise'. However, you will rarely like the movie because what you see and what you had in mind can rarely be matching. movies always lack the character development comparing with the slow pace story in the book, and CGI will not be as good as your own imagination.

if you watched the movies first: you are less likely to buy the book ( more likely to buy the squeal book, though) as you think you know the story already. among the people who purchased the book, less than half will actually start reading the book (10 pages into the book is not counted as reading the book) and among the readers less than half actually finish reading it due to lacking patience and time ( hyped events happen 20 min into the movies but 4 and half days into the book reading). almost all the people who finished the book thinks that the book is better than the movie. but only less than half of the people will actually turn into book readers in long terms.

compare books and movies to black/white and color photos:
everyone knows black/white photos are great artistic photo portraits, but they rarely will shoot black/white photos when they carry their cameras around. This was even more so back to the age when you needed films for your cameras.

JAS on Thu, 08/06/2009 - 8:47am

Movies can be a long commercial for the book (though it hasn't worked for me with the Harry Potter series).

They can also be (what they are for me) a quick way to get an idea of what the story is about without having to read a book that you aren't so drawn to in the first place.

I can't stand Anne Rice's writing, but I think that Interview with a Vampire is a great film. I couldn't get through the book, but have watched the movie multiple times.

They serve their purpose, but I agree in that they are a separate entity with separate goals.

Thanks for reading!

LyndiT on Thu, 08/06/2009 - 8:39am

Going to share a complaint most of us wanna-a-be readers find annoying - Books = whole story - movies = what will bring in the moola.

In general readers spend multiple hours over multiple days, sometimes weeks capturing the mental image that is being painted throughout the novels.

When movies in general have a hard time comparing, and it almost seems as if those who directed/created the movie were third in line during a game of telephone having the story recited back to them by someone with a bit of a forgetfulness and desire to add some splashy effects.

The character development is crucial, if not one of the best parts about this story in general. So, the only positive spin I can put on any Harry Potter movies is that for the most part it animates a few scenes that we could only begin to imagine while reading the stories. Like instead of having pictures in a book you get a few minutes of action packed excitement, when that is over you really want to continue on with the book, get the whole story.

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