Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – A reply to Gerard’s review

Hello,

I’ve done this before but I feel like there’s so much I want to say about the film and respond to your review that I’m just going to copy and paste bits out and nip in my own addenda. So here goes…

AND BE WARNED IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN OR READ THE SERIES, THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD…

I enjoyed the Potter saga much better at the beginning, when he was a clearly abused boy adopted by his mean Aunt and Uncle and the wizarding world was completely unknown to him.As the story and the characters mature, and the film posters get darker and have any shred of colour drained out of them, the Harry Potter franchise gets duller.

I disagree, I thought the films didn’t really come into their own until POA, now POA was, and remains, my favourite book but that in itself is not just it – it was the stylistic changes that seemed to suit where the story was going (i.e. darker) and, despite that, the images seemed to become more vivid. I though PS lacked so completely the wonder that came with being a fantasy series – it seemed to just neglect the fact that here was this whole other world within our world that was so parallel to our own…

In HBP I enjoyed that sequence where Harry watches as Dumbledore cleans up – it’s a dull everyday chore and yet his face says it all – he’s been immersed in that world for six years and yet he still marvels at it.

 

The other problem that the movies now suffer from is that – for all us fans who can read – we all know how the story ends. There’s no ambiguity as to whether Harry will end up with Ginny or Hermione, or indeed how Ron and Hermione’s story will end.

…I don’t think even in the books there was ever the question of who they’d all end up with romantically. It was about how they got there. That moment in the final book where Hermione kisses Ron was probably one of my personal highlights in the book (the little cheerleader in my brain was waving pom-poms calling out ‘GO HERMIONE GO!’). I agree there was a huge focus on the romance in this film but that was kind of sweet – I think Emma Watson in particular played it really well. The scene where she asks Harry ‘how does it feel when you see Ginny and Dean together?’ nearly broke my heart. It’s not like the books but the filmmakers managed to capture an honesty that so hard to get – particularly when it comes to teens. In short, it wasn’t annoying and romances so often are.

 

We simply have to go through the motions to see how the on-screen adaptations will compare to JK Rowling’s books.

Initially my reactions towards the films were that violent raging fangirl ‘that’s not right, that’s shouldn’t have happened, why is she there, how could they cast him?’ but now I kind of accept it’ll never be my Harry Potter, or any one fan’s vision, and that they’re doing something different with it and I think it’s good in it’s own right (sudden thought: The Burrow on fire was my one major ‘WTF?!’-MOMENT). I think for me there was a point where I disassociated the films and books from obne another – I don’t know how that works in my brain but it kind of does…

 

Malfoy. Let’s talk about Malfoy. I know he had to be in this movie, but he’s so tiresome. And in Half Blood Prince, he looked for all the world like some mini-me version of a Cockney gangster… He was brilliantly viscious when he kicked a paralysed Potter in the face at the start of the movie.

Bizarrely I found myself like Tom Felton in this – I thought his acting had improved. I remember first reading the book and finding emo!Draco so grating (but since there was all the romance going on what happened to Draco and Moaning Myrtle?! OH AND WHY HAS REMUS/TONKS ALREADY OCCURRED… I always hated that pairing) – but I thought the look was good for him.

 

Everywhere you looked, pupils were snogging and groping each other on staircases. It was like some kind of bordello. Let’s not forget, that place has dungeons. I just never guessed that they were the S&M kind.

TRUE! Why was this? We barely saw anyone kissing in the previous films but all of a sudden they’re all constantly at it – even the extras!

 

On a related note, I much prefer Bonnie Wright’s plucky, straightforward Ginny Weasley to Emma Watson’s precious Hermione Granger. Hermione gets on my nerves soooo much. Grrr.

I’ll respond to this in the Witch Fight post 🙂

 

The plot point about Dumbledore being dead was that – as with Sirius – Harry had this father figure who he lost prematurely. They didn’t spend enough time reflecting on what this meant for Harry, so soon after the death of Sirius – he just decided to up-sticks and live as a fugitive in search of the rest of Voldemort’s Horcruxes.

This was a folly of the books as much as the films. Remember reading OotP – the whole thing was like Harry’s CAPSLOCK rant about how he LOST HIS PARENTS AND THEY ARE DEAD AND HE IS AN ORPHAN AND NONE OF YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE SO ALONE… yeah, he didn’t really dwell on anyone else’s deaths half as much.

 

I know that the Half Blood Prince inches the story along toward its conclusion and that inevitable final battle, but somewhere along the line, this franchise has lost its charm for me.

My colleague asked me today if this was the penultimate film and my response was:

‘No, there are two more and then I’m free. FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!’

In my heart of hearts I knew I’d never be free. It’s not lost its charm, in fact I think it grow for me the further away it seems the books were. I walked out of the cinema brimming with excitement for the next film.

 

Other notes:

  • Luna rocked
  • Bella rocked

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6 Comments

  1. Gerard McGarry

    I feel bad now. Because there were good points to the film. I remember going “This is shit..” just before laughing out loud at something funny that happened.

    I remember getting into the books on the recommendation of a friend and being totally, completely absorbed in them. I think I was caught up by the time the last three books came out and that’s when the general malaise set in for me. The omnipresent threat of Voldemort and his followers started to bore me, and I took a stunning dislike to Harry, whose legend overshadowed the fact that he was an ‘alright’ wizard who had the solid backing of his friends, the unsung heroes that always got ignored when the next day’s Daily Prophet came out.

    Thanks for mentioning the Remus/Tonks and the destruction of the Burrow. I don’t know the stories backwards and forward to quote authoritatively, but I felt that something didn’t line up properly with the books in that part. Can I just mention that Fenrir Grayback reminded me of one of the Orcs from Lord Of The Rings?

    I always get crucified when I review movies like this – wait until I rent out Twilight tonight! – but I think for me, the one fact that constantly astounds me is that the darkest wizard in the history of magic spent seven years picking a fight with a school boy. It’s a wee tiny bit of a mismatch, and if Voldemort was half as good as his reputation suggests, he’d have sorted Potter out much sooner!

    1. priyabhakta

      …took a stunning dislike to Harry, whose legend overshadowed the fact that he was an ‘alright’ wizard who had the solid backing of his friends.

      I agree, I’m not a Harry girl but the thing which kept me glued to the series was probably the characters I did like – Neville, Luna, Remus, etc.

      For me the Remus/Tinks relationship in the books was a bit out there so when it was all of a sudden in the films it was just like ‘hold on a minute’, it made a little more sense when the Death Eaters attack Hogwarts it wasn’t as big an even as the books and therefore can perform the catalyst that makes them get together but it was still… meh, I have never approved of that relationship. Maybe it’s because I love Remus J. Lupin…

      Fenrir the orc! Yes! I didn’t like Fenrir – I mean, obviously you’re not supposed to but stylistically it was a bit too ‘fantasy villain’. I imagined him to look like a normal person but quite craggy and scarred. I mean Remus is a werewolf too and he looks fine.

      Halfblood and Prisoner are the only two books which Voldemort isn’t actually in but that’s by the by, what I really wanted to mention was did you notice that there was barely any mention of the Halfblood Prince throughout the film? And in the book there is, obviously, such an emphasis on this. If you edited just the parts referencing the HBP, it’ll probably stretch to about 10 minutes.

      1. Gerard McGarry

        I think I agree about those minor characters – there’s so much colour in them. Reconsidering my original review, I think Luna did deserve special mention. She has such a unique take on magic and tries these things that are weird and unusual, but they just work for her. And she seems so spaced half the time!

        Halfblood and Prisoner are the only two books which Voldemort isn’t actually in but that’s by the by, what I really wanted to mention was did you notice that there was barely any mention of the Halfblood Prince throughout the film?

        Yeah, I noticed that, and it annoyed me. From what I remember of the books, Snape becomes a kind of tragic character in the end, veering into dark magic after being ritually humiliated by James Potter and rejected by Lily. He achieves some kind of redemption by joining with Dumbledore, but remaining shady enough to be misread by both sides. Bellatrix’s deep distrust of him is a clear sign of that, while Harry’s long-standing grudge against him regularly results in suspicions about Snape that are incorrect.

        So for me, the movies – especially this one! – should be developing Snape. He’s such an important character with subtle naunces and motivations, but they’re getting blunted by the movies to paint him as a straight baddie.

  2. Gerard McGarry

    I’m not sure, RandomEnigma, I don’t have that in-depth knowledge of the books. There are people who read the entire series before they see the new movie…that’s not me.

    Certainly, when Lupin was at the Weasley house with a girl I wondered if I’d fallen asleep during the last movie and missed the part where they introduced her. Honestly though, I just don’t think the series appeals to me anymore.

    As for Twilight, I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy and watch it, see what the buzz is all about. Have any of you read the books?

    1. RandomEnigma

      Yes, I’ve read all four Twilight books and seen the movie. The books are enjoyable enough but the film is not so good. Basically, the series is so popular because a girl named Bella falls in love with ‘the perfect man’ (and vampire) Edward Cullen. A lot of girls like to put themselves in Bella, the main characters, shoes and hence the popularity. 

  3. RandomEnigma

    Yes, I agree with priyabhakta on many points about the film. Let’s just come to the conclusion that the films will never live up to the wonder of the books and accept them for how they are.

    I’m not sure but Gerard I think you may subconciously dislike these later films because they are not as faithful to the original books. Am I right or wrong?

    Yes. I was really annoyed that Tonks and Lupin’s relationship just sort of formed out of the blue. It made no sense to the movie viewer. Also after the Burrow went on fire, Ron and Ginny just went back to Hogwarts completely unaffected by the situation, what was the deal with that! What became of the Burrow! They better answer that question in the next movie!

    P.S. Gerard, are you reviewing Twilight. Because the movie shares a lot of similar themes with the recent article you wrote about Taylor Swift here.

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