Last night I saw the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince midnight release, and as promised I’m writing a review.
Now first, a disclaimer:
I’m a big Harry Potter fan. I think the books are written well in that they are engaging and accessible but still eloquent, not to mention that the universe Rowling creates is thorough and is easy to relate to despite the subject matter. That being said, I’ve read all the books (all but the first 2 within a single sitting… including the Tales of the Beedle Bard… thank God for summer releases and coffee) and I greatly appreciate Rowling’s attention to detail. I also appreciate that the books are incredibly long and involved, so a 2 1/2 – 3 hour movie will have to make some sacrifices to convey the plot and some of the finer points of the given volume.
So on to the review:
I think that considering the weight of this volume, the film was well done. It seems disjointed at parts, most of the action seeming out of the blue without anything to really lead into it. While I understand that this was a necessity considering time, I can see how a lot of the non-reader viewers would find it confusing. There was no true sense of foreboding, though the wizarding world has clearly become a darker place since his last adventure.
I was very excited to see Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) taking charge in such a significant role. As an actor, I think he truly came into his own. Additionally, the film does a great job of conveying Draco’s development and does a great job of instilling pity in the viewer, despite his loathsome demeanor in all prior encounters with him. I was VERY pleased with Slughorn’s portrayal as well – I think all of the films have done a great job with the minor characters, really.
I’m not going to lie – I’m not a big fan of chick & teen flicks. Therefore, the sappy teen love story was a lil much at times and probably took a little more time than it perhaps needed to. However, it was effective in conveying the whole idea that these are still high school aged kids and despite saving the wizarding world, they still have to survive the trappings of youth.
A huge part of the reason I love the Harry Potter series are the mysteries that are slowly unraveled throughout each book. The mystery in this book, and it’s namesake, was the question of WHO the Half Blood Prince is. The film does nothing that remotely hints at who it may be and frankly, the blunt reveal left me cold. Additionally, Riddle’s tendency to collect “trophies” could easily have been included, as this adds a simple richness to his use of horcruxes.
While there are many more things that had been left out, I felt like those were a few important points whose inclusion would have been manageable.
As an overall picture, I think this installment of the Harry Potter Series was very well done, especially considering the concessions that had to be made for time. The character development retained it’s strength on screen, and the emotional drive of the story is communicated quite well. As a big fan of the books, I was by no means disappointed.
I strongly recommend seeing it in theaters.
My rating: 4 Stars
Now if you’re not a Harry Potter reader and the ending of the movie leaves you confused, there’s a great spoilers site whose navigation isn’t very good at all, but they give concise yet thorough synopses to explain exactly what is going on.
However, if you just want to ask questions, leave a comment!
Now go watch some Harry Potter and tell me what you thought!