HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (B+)
After 8 long months of waiting because Warner Brothers sucks, viewers and fans across the world finally got to see the 6th installment in the Potter movie series. The film opens as WB shield of Warner Brothers quietly and eerily creeps its way into focus, perfectly giving a serious tone to this dark chapter in the Potter collection.
The movie then cuts to Harry as the flash bulbs of the wizard paparazzi blaze in his face as he and Dumbledore are leaving the Ministry of Magic proceeding their battle with Voldemort and his Death Eaters at the end of The Order of the Phoenix.
I am sorry to anyone reading this who has not read the Potter books or seen the movies, but I am definitely not going to waste my time giving you a synopsis of the film. My only advice to you is to berate me in the comment section below, or go and read the books. Please...if you haven't, READ THE BOOKS. They will change your life.
I really loved this movie and watching J.K. Rowling's incredible words from the book brought to life. The most important thing as a reader of the books is to watch the films without comparing the two to gauge the movies success. Although very difficult to do, it is necessary to be able to really enjoy the Potter films. While I myself have a very difficult time accomplishing this task, I tried not to let all the small changes annoy me so I could enjoy this newest Potter film.
This film featured much more humor than many of the previous Potter films. Not only did the film have humor, but it was good humor. I laughed a number of times throughout the film. Despite enjoying the good comedy at the same time it felt a little out of place. The movie needed the comedic side to give a nice change of pace, I felt that there was too much of it. The HBP needed be more about the grim horizon that quickly approaches Harry and his friends. To bring this concept to people who only see the movies HBP needed more about Horcruxues and Voldemort and less about high school relationships and their pitfalls (just my opinion).
David Yates direction really brought the emotion of the characters to the forefront. As viewers we could perceive the emotions the characters were going through. The acting in this film was much better than any of the previous Potter films. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint had the chemistry on screen that J.K. Rowling describes in the pages of her books. The supporting cast around the trio was stellar as well. Especially the work of Helena Boham Carter playing Bellartrix Lestrange and Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy. The only actors that did not impress me were Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and Ginny (Bonnie Wright).
If you haven't seen the film or read the book and do not wish the ending to be revealed, skip to the last paragraph.
Gambon's version of Dumbledore seemed cold and stern, and not very receptive to Harry and what was going on in his life (once again, going back to the book vs. movie topic). In the book Harry has just lost his godfather Sirius, the only piece of family he had left. As Harry mourns the non-existence of his family, and Dumbledore prepares Harry for what is ahead of him; the two garner a real close relationship throughout the story. This is not conveyed whatsoever in the film (the fault of the writer Steve Kloves). Dumbledore becomes a fatherly figure for Harry and in course their relationship flourishes. This is why Dumbledore's murder by Snape is so devastating to the reading audience. Failure to detail this relationship makes Dumbledore's death seem almost insignificant at the end of this film, even though it was one of the books lowest moments (low meaning depressing and super significant).No offense Michael Gambon, but Richard Harris was a WAY better Dumbledore than you are. For those that do not know, Richard Harris was the Headmaster in the first two Potter films but then he died. Richard Harris was the perfect Dumbledore...why did he have to go and die??
As for Bonnie Wright, her portrayal of Ginny seemed stale. I never felt the chemistry between her and Harry, not even during their kiss. I mean, Ginny has loved Harry ever since the day she laid eyes on him, and even more since he saved her from the evil diary of Tom Riddle. I just did not get that feeling from her, or unreal exhilaration of when they finally hook up.
The visuals and CGI in HP6 were executed very well. They complimented the story being told in a manner that makes you focus on the events taking place and the characters in them as opposed to the grand effects. This film did not really bolster a lot of unreal magical scenes, but the use of technology to help best tell this tale was perfect.
This newest Potter film, like almost every Potter film before it left me disappointed. Not that I was not happy with the final product, but the screenwriter Mr. Kloves failure to grasp some of the most important concepts in the books. Even though by saying this I am ignoring the advice I laid out at the beginning of this article, it is just too hard to downplay some of the glaring differences between the books and movies.
I have enjoyed every Potter film, but in writing the scripts for these films it begs the question: Why mess with the perfection that is the books? I am not talking about leaving parts out, because obviously you have to condense a 672 page book to make a plausible movie script. When the writers go and change things that J.K. Rowling has so perfectly already written, it just pisses me off. (Harry standing below to watch Dumbledore die? No Death Eaters vs. Order standoff at Hogwarts??)
For more on what pissed me off about HP6, here is much more.
Overall, this newest chapter in the Potter series was another success. In my opinion it is the second best Potter of the movie series with The Prisoner of Azkaban fulfilling the top spot. The actors did an excellent job with the script they were given. Especially the chemistry between our three main characters Ron, Harry, Herminone. The script for the most part was very good, but for some reason I cannot bring myself to get over all the things that the writer Mr. Kloves changed or left out. It felt like Mr. Kloves didn't really understand the most important elements of the book Half-Blood Prince leaving "Potter Purists" wishing for much more. I would rate the movie higher strictly on a movie viewer basis, and rate it lower from the perspective as a "Potter Purist".
You know what I want? A CGI series of Harry Potter that is the exact books, word for word, played out in front of our eyes with the beautiful computer technology. Just like Star Wars did with their TV series. Wouldn't it be awesome to see every part of every book??