Saturday, July 18, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Review

For those who don't know Half-Blood Prince is the sixth of the Harry Potter movies. Apparently the seventh and final Harry Potter book (Deathly Hallows) is being split up into two movies. Just a heads up - there will be several spoilers in this review as I attempt to reconcilt this movie with it's novel counterpart.

I love the Harry Potter books and I'm fairly fond of their movie counterparts. However I'm having a hard time with this most recent Hollywood interpretation. I feel that over the last two movies (Prince and Order of the Phoenix) the directors have assumed that the movie goers have read the Harry Potter books. As I always go and see these movie with my boyfriend who has not read the books this has resulted in me spending a LOT of time filling in the gaps so he can understand what's happening. After seeing this most recent movie I am not sure how the next movie is going to work.

See, the whole premise of the Deathly Hallows is that Harry has to go around finding items Voldemort has created (horcruxes) and destroy them in order to be able to eventually kill Voldemort. While the general concept of these horcruxes is explained how Harry is to find them is not. In the Prince book Harry spends a lot of time learning about Voldemort's past in order to understand his enemy. During this journey he learns not only what these horcruxes may be but also has a general idea of where they could be. Much of this is skipped over in the movie and as such the movie Harry has seemingly no idea of where to start his search. As a result the audience is also never introduced to Voldemort's origins which is a shame.

I do understand that movies has a much more limited amount of time in which to tell these stories. Thus I can accept that certain parts of the book have to be left out. I do think that key story points need to be addressed though and I have to wonder how much these movies will hold up as a larger story for people who have not read the book. Also when you only have 2 hours to fit in a very complex story I don't understand why you would add in completely unessasary scenes that have nothing to do with the overall plot and were not in the book. *sigh*

My last major complaint was how the director changed Dumbledore's death scene. In the book when Dumbledore and Harry arrive back at Hogwarts after their journey to find one of the horcruxes Dumbledore hears someone coming and magicaly frezzes Harry who is hidden beneath his vanishing cloak. Thus Harry literally can't do anything but watch as Dumbledore is killed. They changed this in the movie. Despite having established time and time again how Harry acts brashly to defend those he cares about Harry is hidden away during Dumbledore's death scene and does NOTHING to prevent it. Then, Harry actually trusts Snape who he has NEVER trusted and as a result Snape is allowed to kill Dumbledore. This makes no sense whatsoever and there was no reason to change this from how it happened in the book.

I will say I still enjoyed quite a bit of the movie regardless of my complaints. Still I am curious as to how they're going to make everything hold together as this story comes to a close. I fail to see why directors change major plot points for no apparent reason especially for stories that have already proven their own merit.

Overall grade B-/C+

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