Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Reviews
I came into the movie theater completely stoked because of all of the positive reviews it was getting on Rotten Tomatoes. After seeing all the previews last fall, I thought the general look of the movie was just overall better. And it was. I owe David Yates a huge apology for cursing his name so many times over the last two years. This was a great picture and I know the next two will be great as well. I also owe Michael Gambon a bit of an apology, but WHERE WAS THIS DUMBLEDORE THE LAST 3 MOVIES?? Gambon totally exceeded my expectations, he was so good in HBP! I could not stand him at all in the previous three, he was just a grumpy old gray man. In HBP he was old, wise, with his white shiny hair he was supposed to have the whole time. A great performance out of him, so great I really really wish we had seen this out of him in the other movies.
When I first saw Slughorn in the previews, I was completely irritated. He was supposed to be a largely obese man with a big mustache? But then I got to thinking, how many quality actors are actually really fat? There's only two answers- Richard Griffiths and that fat guy from the Diabetes commercial. Neither of them could play Slughorn. Broadbent made this movie, I love that dang cooky smile he always had on and how his eyes just always looked so crazy...I can't describe it but I loved it. He performed amazingly.
I know people are upset about the omission of the battle and confused on the burrow scene, and I will say I partly agree with you. The Burrow scene was in there to show that the death eaters were f***ing s**t up this whole time. Remember in the book how they read the paper every morning and reading about everythign that was happening? That scene was a lot better than having stupid newspaper flashbacks or whatever they had in OOTP.
For me, it was the little things that made this movie. When they include tiny details from the book, it really makes it special to me. I was ecstatic that they had the whole Aragog burial scene, it was so well done and I was glad to see Hagrid get some screen time. Also, just random little lines that were so similar to the book, it makes the movie that much more special.
For everyone who's complaining about how funny it is- lighten up! This is how it's supposed to be. I catch myself laughing out loud whenever I read the books, they're hilarious. JK just has a writing style that can be so serious at one point and hilarious the next, I was laughing and enjoying myself the whole time, it just really made me feel good.
Overall, really spectacular movie. The people complaining about how they left too much stuff out are also the ones complaining that it jumped around. I liked how they focused on central things and really got deep into them, instead of going ADD and showing every little possible thing for 30 seconds. Whether you liked it or not, you really do have to admire the trio growing and Gambon and Broadbent's performances, they were so outstanding. Go see it again! I know I am.This movie butchered the magic of the book. I seriously wasn't sure if this was the same movie... Why didn't Dumbledore pick Harry up from the Dursleys and give them a piece of his mind? Where was the Slug Club? Why didn't Harry know that Sirius' house was now his? not to mention Kreacher? It plays a big part in the next movies! Why weren't the lessons with Dumbledore fully developed? You find out almost NOTHING about Voldemort's past. Where were Bill and Fleur? Where was the twins' shop? (Blink and you miss it) Where was Hagrid? Where was Neville? Where was Quiditch? Where was Tonks' and Lupin's relationship??? What, am I just supposed to believe that they get married out of nowhere in the next book? Where was Madam Rosmerta's role? Where were apparition lessons? How are the trio meant to move from place to place in the next books? Magic Carpet?!?!?! Where was Dumbledore's funeral? Where was Harry's and Ginny's relationship and break-up? Where was Scrimgeour? Where was the big fight at the end? Where was the set up with the diadem? Where was Fenrir Greyback? WHY for the love of all that's holy, did Harry just STAND there while Snape murdered Dumbledore before his very eyes? He was meant to be PETRIFIED (literally)!!! And not only that, but Snape actually SEES Harry, and does nothing about it. Won't Harry find it kinda odd that a Death Eater sees him, practically defenceless, and doesn't do anything about it? Harry is meant to believe that Snape is a full fledged Death Eater, yet he lets Harry get off scott free? That is a SERIOUS oversight in the plot of the book! All these things listed above, the major plot points, weren't there! I couldn't find them!
What I COULD find however was: The burning down of the burrow...?!? Dumbledore seeming to only JUST realize that Voldemort used Horcruxes even though he was meant to have already destroyed one... and not only that but I also explicitly heard Dumbledore say: "They could be anything"!!! In the book, he clearly points out that they WOULDN'T be just anything, that Riddle liked collecting things. In the movie, he makes out as if it could be any old thing, a shoe, a can, a piece of paper... (better get searching then Harry, I found the ring, because "Magic leaves traces", but when I die, you're screwed!!!) Some random waitress in some random diner... A rock concert tribute to Dumbledore... A revealing of Hermione's love for Ron... and i DEFINITELY found Ron's and Lavender's relationship and... sexual innuendo?? OK, the Ron and Lavender subplot in the book was quite nice and funny but in the movie, it completely shadowed the ACTUAL story! they were snogging all over the place! it was impossible to focus on anything else with them popping up everywhere! It turned the movie into some sickly rom-com! and then I was shocked to find sexual innuendo! yup, believe it or not. And i know I wasn't the only one because i heard laughs and hoots all around the theater. The scene where Ginny bends down to tie Harry's shoelaces... what is up with that? Hey hang on a minute, isn't Harry's cloak meant to be a hallow? Good thing Luna CHARMED it off him then!!!
MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD
So, not only did they destroy the capodopera that this movie could have been, but they also didn't set up the next movie/s. How are Harry, Ron and Hermione going to start looking for the Horcruxes if they don't even know what they COULD be? How are the contents of Dumbledore's will going to be passed along if Scrimgeour doesn't even exist? How is Harry going to remember that Xenophilius was wearing the symbol of the Hallows at the wedding if the WEDDING CAN'T EXIST??? And HOW is Voldemort going to get the wand from Dumbledore's tomb if 1. the TOMB Isn't THERE and 2. THE WAND Isn't IN THE TOMB ANYWAY!!! How is Harry meant to remember where the diadem was if he NEVER BLOODY SAW IT!!!! How are they going to use Grimmauld Place and Kreacher, not to mention Dobby if there was never even a whisper about what happened to them???
This movie was thoroughly disappointing, and I really think they should... remake it basically!!! Because not only was THIS movie bad, but it's set to ruin the next ones as well. The only slim ray of hope (because hope springs eternal) left for the next movies is that they include what they missed out in HBP at the start of the first seventh one. They've got like 5 hours for the rest of the Harry Potter story so they could fit it in.I was lucky enough to see a preview of Half-Blood Prince three days before opening day. I saw it a second time with my son who is not quite ten, but who is generally mature for his age and doesn't scare easily. The two viewings give me the unique advantage of both the adult and the child perspective on the movie.
I only recently started counting myself a true Harry Potter fan after my son introduced me to the movies a couple of years ago. I finished the last book only three weeks before seeing the movie adaptation of Half-Blood Prince the first time.
With all the book details very fresh in my mind, I had high expectations of the movie. And Yates, the production crew and the cast definitely delivered. The movie impresses on many levels from an artistic point of view. The stripped landscapes and washed out colors convey a constant feeling of dread and foreboding. The standard train trip to Hogwarts was particularly stark, seen against a landscape scorched by a hot summer sun and dotted with dark pools of water. The usual lush greenery and joyous train ride are nowhere to be seen.
Personally, I felt the pace was spot-on and that the movie elegantly made time for all key plot points. But only if you enjoy a plot line driven by character and emotion. For the younger lot, looking for frightening wizard duels and attacks by magical creatures, the first hour and a half of the movie drags on a bit. My son certainly became fidgety, and didn't appreciate the finesse and sophistication of the plot and cinematic approach.
Most of the threatening and darkening tone of the movie was also lost upon him, whereas I reveled in the finer details contributing to a general sense of ever-encroaching darkness. There are worse things in life to be afraid of than big hairy spiders. My son missed seeing those - I was a lot more intrigued by the ominous undercurrents made palpable by the indomitable trio of David Yates (director), Steve Kloves (screenplay) and Delbonnel (photography).
Some people feel that the romantic comedy aspects played too large a role in the movie, but I felt this aspect added some much-needed lightness and human drama to the movie. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) all find themselves dealing with the vagaries of young love - from dealing with unwanted advances to finding love in unexpected places. The romance was aimed perfectly at the young teen market, and I found myself cringing ruefully at some of Lavender Brown's love-obsessed stunts and smiling wistfully at the tenderness between Harry and Ginny. Haven't we all been there at some stage of our lives?
All in all, Harry Potter is growing up. And so is the market for these movies. If you've seen all the movies up to now or read all the books, and your are at an age to appreciate the adult themes and movie techniques, this movie should fall pitch-perfect on your ear. You are likely to leave the cinema filled with a heart-wrenching sadness for innocence lost.
Purist fans will most certainly complain bitterly about numerous sub-plots, events and characters that were cut from the movie and the odd scene that doesn't exist in the book. But Yates' truly gutsy adaptation really works and brings a depth and clarity to the main themes of the book that is quite extraordinary. He manages to capture the lingering lightness of that time before the serious business of adulthood sets in, alongside the relentless buildup to the final showdown between The Dark Lord and The Chosen One. And the lack of closure at the end of the movie is no accident, I believe. Just like the book, this movie leaves you aching to see how it all ends (never mind the fact that you already know).
I must also commend the acting. The young leads have all matured in pace with the maturing content of the books and their acting shows it. Rupert Grint shines brightly in the somewhat Shakespearean love comedy he finds himself in, and makes the most of his new-found sport hero popularity. Emma Watson hits the spot, portraying Hermione's emotional vulnerability with gentle confidence and softness.
As for Radcliffe, it's easy to miss the evolution he's undergone as Harry, since there are other actors ostensibly given more to do in this outing, like Tom Felton and Bonnie Wright, both of whom get the opportunity to take their characters to a new level. Tom Felton, especially, does a remarkable job. But Radcliffe's task of playing the steadfast and courageous, yet not flashy or arrogant hero, remains a difficult one. Especially on second viewing, it becomes clear how his understated and controlled performance speaks very much to the type of man Harry Potter is shaping up to be. A man who is left with a tremendous responsibility at the end of this movie and takes it up without flinching. The boy-wizard is no more.
Of the older guard, Alan Rickman's Snape was a consummate performance, ... obviously. And Michael Gambon's portrayal of Dumbledore never felt more right than in this movie. Jim Broadbent's Slughorn is deliciously played with just the right mix of off-putting sycophancy and endearing pathos.
There was a time when Hogwarts was thought of as a safe haven, but thanks to Voldemort's tightening grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds, that simply isn't the case anymore. Suspecting that the castle may even harbor an outright threat, Harry finds his investigation into the matter sidelined by Dumbledore's attempts to prepare him for the monumental battle looming ever closer on the horizon.
As the war comes to a dawn, Harry and Dumbledore are at the forefront as they try and figure out the mysteries and challenges that lie ahead of them. With that being said, I think this movie had a lot going for it. However, seeing what I've seen from the previous five films, this definitely was the weakest out of all of them. Even Daniel Radcliffe has come out and said he didn't love his performance here, and I respect that a lot. He wasn't bad by any means, but this movie did just feel less, impactful so to speak.
The thing about the sixth installment is that it just feels like a transition film. It feels like a setup, a segway into the final two films. It's not neccesarily that eventful. There are some big moments in this film, but it was a relatively small piece in the puzzle for the most part. Our characters to come closer, relationships are made, and tragedy happens, but it's all just a setup in the grand scheme of things.
One thing I can say about this film is that I like a lot of the visuals and concepts. There were a lot of cool moments in this film that had some amazing visuals. I think that the continued use of a dark monotone and gloomy color pallet continually set the tone for this film. It's a good looking film, and a well shot one at that.
Again, this movie felt kind of uneventful for the most part. A lot of the beginning felt like it had focused on subplots that weren't as interesting. I mean, they did have importance to them, but it sparked my interest less. It felt unnecessary at times and more like a filler. However, it continued the norm of the past couple films, giving us a powerful and extremely emotional ending. It yet again gave me goosebumps and chills, as you know that something bigger awaits the franchise after this.
In the end, this is a solid film, it's just not my favorite thus far. Still, it does have me excited for the finale, which I've been striving to get through the past few days on my Harry Potter marathon.
Good action scenes.