Full disclosure before I begin – 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. We’re moving now into classic good versus evil storylines with a bit of horny teenage frivolity thrown in to create a romantic sub-plot.
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. And let’s face it, we know who will emerge victorious in the final battle between Harry and Voldemort. We simply have to go through the motions to see how the on-screen adaptations will compare to JK Rowling’s books.
I sometimes feel that the series leans too heavily on special effects, perhaps covering for the younger actors’ inability to emote. As much as I think Dan Radcliffe was perfect for the role, sometimes he’s like a plank of wood. Although I enjoyed his scenes with Jim Broadbent as Professor Slughorn. Broadbent deserves special mention for brilliantly straddling the roles of comic foil and guilty accessory to Tom Riddle’s enquiries into the dark arts.
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. Yawn. Part of me felt sorry for him being set up as the patsy who would have to kill Dumbledore, but the boredom I felt at watching Tom Felton playing angsty overcame this. He was brilliantly viscious when he kicked a paralysed Potter in the face at the start of the movie, but spent the rest of it obsessing over how he might kill Dumbledore. If you want to roll with the Death Eaters, at least try and do it without remorse. Wuss.
Moving on to Hogwarts after hours…perhaps areas of the castle need to have red lights erected? 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.
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. Ginny just jumps in and gets things done – I loved it when she waded into the swampy fields after Harry, and again when she called the Quidditch team to order at their first practise of the term.
Which reminds me, the saddest moment of the film was not Dumbledore’s death, but the destruction of the Weasley home. The Weasley parents looked suitably devastated as they watched their house go up in flames.
On Dumbledore. I do love Dumbledore, but he’d achieve so much more by not being so cryptic about things. And I’ll never get used to Michael Gambon’s accent. At one point during the movie, I thought Dumbledore looked so much like Gandalf that Ian McKellen could’ve been under that wig and no-one would have known the difference.
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.
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.