So, I finally went ahead and did the fanboy thing. Grabbed my cloak, tucked in my wand (not in my jeans back pocket, I am safety conscious), and Continuing the tradition started with “Order of the Phoenix”, I went ahead and watched the “Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince” almost a day before it is released everywhere. And since it is hard to review a film like this for me, here are just some of the thoughts, fresh from watching the movie (maybe a long one).
First, for those who haven’t read the book, and (don’t want to read) my post on the book, here’s a short story, with minimum spoilers:
Due to events at the end of Order of The Phoenix, Harry Potter finds himself once more the darling of (most of the) wizarding world. While Harry and his friends return to the Hogwarts for their sixth year, the war within the magical community continues to escalate, and even spills over to muggle world. So, while romance is the order of the day for the teens at the school, Harry also needs to prepare for his impending clash with Lord Voldemort. Meanwhile, nobody will believe Harry that Draco Malfoy is up to something sinister.
The movie opens with destruction of what most “spoiler-free” articles are referring to as “a prominent London landmark” (I did too, though anybody who has seen the trailers will know which one). This is immediately followed by a scene where Harry is flirting with a waitress in a cafe. This basically sets the tone for most of the movie, where the darker scenes, with Deatheaters and Harry and Dumbledore’s quest for answers, are interspersed with lighter ones, with romantic comedy between the various pairs.
The Half-Blood Prince storyline is heavily curtailed (which means less Snape scenes, for you fans out there), and you may miss its significance entirely if you haven’t read the book(s). Indeed, many subplots from the book progress more in the dialogs from different characters, than on actual screen. Even two memory-trips don’t find a place in the movie, one actually important, another not so much. The whole movie seems rushing towards the climax, and the end even foreshadows the next movie. This makes sense, since the book is recognizably the first part of two-part ending of the series.
Doesn’t mean the parts which are kept, or added, are not interesting. The lake scene is all it promises to be on paper, so is Ron’s unfortunate acquaintance with a love potion. Tom Riddle comes out properly creepy, while Horace Slughorn is the manoeuvrable, timid fellow we know. Thank god they kept Slughorn’s introductory scene, and the Slug Club Christmas party.
Ginny is, as in the book, much more aggressive and confident. And though Ron does the “hit by the love” perfectly, Harry with Felix Felicis behaves more like he has had a few fire whiskies too many (he does seem to be in a lot better mood than in the book overall). Hermione, for most part, spends her time as jealous and angry teen, than the Miss Perfect we have seen her elsewhere.
Ron finally gets his day in the spotlight, not just as a Quidditch hero, but as a prominent presence in most of the romantic scenes. Though Ron-Lavender love story is used to its utmost comic potential, it doesn’t really matter if he is a part of the pair in question for him to be on the screen.
Although the last battle is heavily reduced, it doesn’t take anything away from the movie overall. But given some of the changes and omissions over the movie series, I am wondering how they can tie up some inevitable loose ends at the start of first part of Deathly Hallows. Although, there are some important bits and pieces hidden here, in time-honoured HP tradition, which will merit a second viewing (yes, I am going back to watch it, this time in 3D).
But you may ask what is , at the end of the day, my biggest grouse with the movie? Well, we did get to see Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes in all its glory, but where are those big flashy posters for “U-No-Poo”?
Quote of The Day:
Dumbledore: You must be wondering why I brought you here.
Harry Potter: Actually sir, after all these years I just sort of go with it.