A Fantasy Hater's Guide To Harry Potter: Film 6 – 'Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince'
Harry Potter has eluded me. I've never been one for ogres and fairies and magic and more. It seemed to me that anything involving magic was a cop out, as any problem could be solved by saying "Thank God we have the magical ______!"
That said, I have heard over and over again how wonderful this series is. So I'm watching all the HPmovies and critiquing them leading up to the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
Harry Potter 6: wAnd the Half Blood
That’s it. Call me a Pott(er)head. I've toked from the hooka of Hogwarts and yes, I gleefully inhaled. Bring it on. If the 7th and 8th movies are anywhere near as good as this film, count me in.
“Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” was exciting! It all made sense, it escalated properly and most importantly it had characters acting like people and not like adaptations. I've heard this movie resembles the books least, and maybe that's what these films have always needed.
If you've never read the books and then tackle these movies, a great deal of it is confusing. Characters do, say, and perform a whole bunch of infuriating things that would turn any movie goer off. The almost drowning incident in “The Goblet of Fire”, the way certain characters appear and have screen time despite an apparent lack of importance, such as Tonks in “The Order of The Phoenix”, all that time spent on Quiddich. These apparent plot holes and detours were baffling.
However, these things are in the prior movies because that's how they happened in the book. Where these elements were assuredly captured with a better wit and detail than any moviefilm could ever hope to accomplish. But fans that have read the books, and have waded through those 4100 pages of wizardry, would be particularly P.Oed if a writer or director changed anything in the most important series of novels from their young adult lives.
But here the movie diverts from the books while astoundingly capturing the voice and wit and sly humour (with a u) that JK rowling's writing style is so often praised for. Characters pop. The exchanges between Ron and Harry combine the mystical nature of their world with things any kid can identify with. Moments between Harry and Dumbledore exhibit the odd fact that they always seem to be in some sort of grave danger. It finally feels like we’ve spent time with these characters and they know eachother well.
The flick plays with it's characters, too. We've had so many movies featuring our heroes being one note. Ron a dweeb, Harry confounded by his fate, Hermione increasingly sexy smarty pants. But now, finally, these personalities are played with. Ron deals with suddenly being a sports star, Hermoine with not being the star pupil for a change, and Harry realizing that maybe being the chosen one has some perks with the ladies. Hell, even Malfoy shows an inch or two of depth!
The actors really come into their own here, and everyone really has a chance to show a couple of different notes. The interactions between Ron and Harry are natural in the sense that they actually seem to be enjoying each other's company for a change, and Evanna Lynch steals every scene she's in.
The movie is also shot wonderfully, but of course the second you notice cinematography in a film is the same second you stop paying attention to the plot to look at what's being shown to you. What's nice is that this movie doesn't stop to just show us spectacle for the sake of spectacle. In “The Goblet of Fire” the movie paused for about eight or nine minutes to introduce us to the visiting schools, and while pretty, it was really more of a “look at this thing of wonder! We got this pirate ship! And Chariots! Yes we do!” then anything moving the story forward.
Here all the little asides and bits that irked me in the earlier films play into the overarching story. They mention a love potion early in the film, and it comes back in a comedic scene that seamlessly transitions back to the plot after an inadvertent poisoning.
Ultimately I think there are probably like four people on the face of the planet who are unsure if they want to see Harry Potter and The Death Hallows: Part 1, and these articles have served to inform all four of you what came before, and while a lot of it is drivel, and confounding, and annoying, and sometimes drawn out, and did I mention annoying, if you can suffer through the uneven writing, direction, and well, everything, the last three movies, starting with this wonderful adventure, should be something special special.
Bring on the reboot.