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Monday, July 20, 2009


There have been few fantasy phenomena as big as the Harry Potter series. As wildly popular books, drawing a big box office profit out of a film adaptation is easy. But do the films live up to their literary twins? HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, the sixth of the Harry Potter film adaptations, does not. However, it possesses (because of budget) many great components to create a good looking and entertaining film.

Directed by David Yates (who also directed the previous film, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX), the film may not be the best from an Academy point of view, but as a blockbuster, it sure as heck keeps your attention. And let's face it - what do the audiences want? They want to be entertained. Yates accomplishes this mission, and more with an action packed, romance charged flick that gives your average American exactly what they paid for: two-and-a-half hours of a good time.

As a movie lover, however, we must look past what the average Joe wants. What’s interesting about the Harry Potter films is that, at first, with original director Chris Columbus, the films took an intriguing yet light tone. They worked for not only adults but children, too. But as the films progressed, director Alfonso Cuaron (THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN), set a new, darker tone. Suddenly the films became weirder, more disturbing, the images more cryptic, and they began to frighten children, who, mind you, are half the audience. THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is definitely an attempt (at some producer’s request because his daughter got scared) to draw the films back into a family range. Yates, however, was not too successful with this task. In fact, my nine-year-old cousin, with whom I saw the film, was terrified of the movie's images. He clung to my arm during much of the film.

Now another huge drawback to this newest installment is how incredibly hard to follow it is. I have seen all the Harry Potter films at least once, yet the twisted plot providing no guidance as to what was happening baffled me. And then I thought, what if I had seen none of the films? I’d be so completely lost I probably wouldn’t even know which characters were which. And so another fault of Yates’ prevails. Confusion.

Overall, HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is worth the ticket if you, like me, are at all interested in the cinematography, or eye candy. However, a more intense Potter fan (perhaps one who has read the books), may be disappointed. Do not watch this film expecting greatness, and you’ll love it.

I give it 3 out of 5 jellybeans.

*A lifelong fan of the cinema (her favorite film at age five was SUNSET BOULEVARD), the Mini-W is soon to turn 16. She just completed a digital filmmaking summer camp at UCLA and is the proud cinematographer of a four-minute short. When not tending to her pet tortoise or her numerous studies, the Mini-W is an avid fan of The Rouge Wave and all things effing entertaining.

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Anonymous said...

I remember going to see a film called BARON MUNCHHAUSEN when, god, I must have been about four, yet Mum took me along. She'd read the book, so knew the content. I was absolutely terrified by a scene where Death is chasing the Baron, it's basically a skeleton that is screaming, enough to frighten any child. But to this day it is one of my favourite films!

A bit of a scare is fine for kids, I know a lot of my generation were terrorized by the clown in IT, but it somehow remains a fond memory. Although, I am the sort of person, who, at the age of twenty-four will jump out from behind a doorway to scare people at work. I blame Mum...

Darkskeleton said...

Hmmm I rather liked the darker overtones over the family friendly style. I'll be seeing it tomorrow. Even though i'm a little skeptical i'm sure it'll be a worthwhile see like the others

Anonymous said...

I didn't have a problem following the plot (I have seen movies 1, 3, and 4), but I did think this movie suffered one of the greatest mistakes an adaptation can make - trying to cram in all the plot points, and in the process sacrificing any semblance of depth to the essential moments of the film.

The quintessential example for me was the Half Blood Prince payoff, which I will forever remember for being the most anticlimactic moment in my entire moviegoing lifetime. I kind of want to read the book, just so I can see how much better a moment it is in its literary form.

But then ... I don't care THAT much.

Caitlin said...

Actually, dkfwriting, they actually cut out several major plot points in Half-Blood Prince, and inserted many scenes that were not in the book. I enjoyed the movie, but I think it was a mistake to make the various romances the backbone of the story, rather than the Voldemort flashbacks.