Newest Review: ... This is a funny year for the group. There is a lot of focus on the fact that Voldemort is stronger and gathering support for himself. We ... more
Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince (DVD)
Member Name: obscuredbykep
Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince (DVD)
Date: 06/08/09, updated on 06/08/09 (35 review reads)
Advantages: It's Harry Potter
Disadvantages: Read Review
I am a huge Harry Potter fan. From the moment I read the first four books, and from then on eagerly awaited the release of the next three. From the time I saw the first film, and eagerly awaited all the next. Right down to having a crush on Emma Watson. I have read all the books several times over, watched the films so much that I can sit and recite the lines whilst I am watching. I'm also one of those people who could sit and list off all the problems between the on screen translations of the books. It is, in a literal way, a magical world I like to escape to.
Though, for the past few months, Harry Potter had left my mind. It had instead, been replaced with the Twilight books, the Twilight film, and my equally huge crush on Kristen Stewart. The only time that HP was coming into my mind, was the long countdown to the forthcoming film, which, I duly went and saw immediately after it was released.
Where we are
Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince (HP6 from now on) is the sixth instalment in the Harry Potter series, and follows on from Order of the Phoenix. The book was released back in 2005, and the film was originally meant to be released last year, in November. But the evil people at Warner Bros, didn't want to release two huge films in one year - since it would make 2009 look bad, the other having been that Batman film.
The Order of the Phoenix left us with Sirius Black being killed by Bellatrix, and Voldemort moving into the limelight, with the whole fiasco at the Ministry of Magic. He is now, officially back. Harry Potter has been cited as the chosen one, and is thought to be the one person who can finally finish off he who must not be named.
Harry Potter films have quite a large cast, what with all the different characters, so I am not going to go into every single main character - just the main ones, and the new ones.
Leading the film, is Daniel Radcliff as Harry Potter who is now 16, and in his sixth year at Hogwarts, along with his friends, Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint). They are the three who always seem to be around when something goes wrong, and are there to save the day, from stopping Voldemort getting the Philosophers Stone, saving Buckbeak and Sirius, stopping Tom Riddle and even fighting a host of Death Eaters in the Ministry of Magic.
As the wizened old headmaster, is Michael Gambon, as Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of all time. Gambon is, I reckon, a much better Dumbledore than they had in the first two films, Richard Harris.
New to the series, is Jim Broadbent, as the potions master - Horace Slughorn. It was distracting, how much that guy looks like my old English teacher.
Moving into a more prominent role in this film, is Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy.
The film begins with the actions of the Death Eaters, causing havoc in both the Muggle world, and the Magical world. We see Fenir Greyback (werewolf) and a handful of Death Eaters swoop through London, into Diagon Alley, and kidnap poor old Olivander.
Then, we move over to Harry, sat in a train station, reading the Daily Prophet, when he notices across the platforms, the grand figure of Professor Dumbledore, to whom he rushes over. Dumbledore has come to collect Harry for a little mission, in recruiting Horace Slughorn, the retired potions master, whom Dumbledore assures Harry that it is crucial that he resume his old post.
The new term begins, and Harry soon drops into his life at school, though throughout the film we only actually see him in Potions, the lesson he has suddenly become a natural genius at... with the help of the Half Blood Prince's old copy of Advanced Potions Making.
This is the film where love interests develop, with Ron getting a girlfriend, Harry finally getting with Ginny, and Hermione nested in her deep feelings for Ron. This is explored throughout the film.
Eventually, we reach the main point in the book, when Dumbledore and Harry have to leave Hogwarts for the evening, on their top secret mission, but what awaits them when they return...
My Thoughts on the Acting
Obviously, I love the film. That was inevitable, I am too deeply in love with the whole series to have formed any other opinion than that, but, there were still a load of things I have say.
The film sees the introduction of Jim Broadbent as Slughorn, and, at first, I was sceptical, having created my own image of what he should have looked like in my mind (I always pictured something like the Walrus from Alice in Wonderland), but his sublime acting really brought this character to life. He was Horace Slughorn - there were no doubts. He gave a solid performance, which really emulated the personality that Slughorn was described as having.
Michael Gambon, gave his best performance to date, and Dumbledore felt like a far more natural character, and seemed much more like he should of from the book. Maybe it had just taken him some time to settle in a bit, but whatever it is - he is awesome.
Tom Felton also moves into the main cast. While having been present in all the films, as Harry's main school rival, he never had that significant a role, until now. Felton's performance was also great, and really brought out the whole persona of Draco Malfoy, removing the previous smugness which he had in the previous films, replacing it with the constant worry. His face portrayed his emotion perfectly. Another solid performance.
Daniel Radcliff... well, to be honest, he is, and always has been, rather shite. What really pisses me off at the moment, is that he has had a hair cut (same in last film too), so he doesn't have Harry's hair. But, he also gives a performance that is so, rigid, it seems so unnatural. He also has this really stupid look on his face whenever he smiles, it looks like he is in pain smiling. However, there were odd points where he did give a good portrayal, but they were so overcast by the rest it wasn't any good. I am sure, that they could have found a better Harry Potter in 2001 when they released the first film, and then they might have been that little bit better.
Emma Watson's performance was good too. She was the perfect person to be cast for Hermione, and gives the smug know-it-all personality really well. Her lines never seem forced, she is another natural at her role. The scenes involving her longing for Ron bring a new face to Hermione, and the emotion is played very well. Oh, and she looks fit throughout - always a plus!
The best of the younger actors though, is''' Rupert Grint'''. He always has been the talented one, and seems to have to put no effort in to make his role completely believable. There are a few times in the movie, you can really see the difference in talent between the three main cast members, and see how much more natural he is, how better his facial expressions are at portraying his feeling and, well, he in general is just better.
Now, general Complaints.
The first thing that really struck me, was how slow the pace of the film was. I know that it is, pretty much, just a bridge, and a build up for the action packed finale, but there were a few times I did actually get bored, but this might just have been due to me being eager to get to the action packed ending. I'll have to watch it a couple more times.
The first, and main criticism I have, is with the writer. He seems to have forgotten, that people want to watch the film, because they are (mostly) infatuated with Harry Potter. We have read the books, we loved the story line, we read them again, we loved them again, we read them yet again, and still, weren't bored. So, why, did you feel the need to change the focus of the film, detracting from the story throughout, and choosing to focus on the relationships?
OK, they were a big thing in the book. It was the maturing of the characters, where they paired up, but, the film seemed to lead with that - when it was merely a sub plot. They concentrating so forcefully on the relationships, that at some points I thought - hang on, have you understood the book?
But worse than that, this Steve Kloves guy, seems to have thought that he could write comedies. This was the funniest Harry Potter film I have seen, and I mean that genuinely. I laughed more at it, than I have at any other film I have seen in the cinema, which is what my complaint is. I was watching Harry Potter, not a comedy. They are simple jokes, which all ages find funny, and they are good. They were fine I suppose, and didn't take away from the film too much.
Then there were the scenes where Harry had taken the liquid luck. The potion which gives luck to he whom takes it. But Harry, well. I think he was drunk. Combining the acting and the writing, Harry had this huge confidence (due to the luck) which came across as sheer arrogance in parts, and both my brother and I don't think that is how it would affect you. This section of the film, is really funny again - at Aragog's funeral, when Hagrid says about people not liking spiders - he has a brilliant piece which made me laugh so so much. But it wasn't what the film should have been.
Ron's scenes, when he had eaten the Love potion, were also funny - but here, is the one place that I genuinely think it worked, and fitted in with Harry Potter. The scene in Slughorn's office is great, with Ron stumbling around in the background cuddling a pillow - funny, but fitting the story. There, the comedy worked. What I do want to know however, is if it sheerly was good acting on the parts of Rupert and Daniel in those two aforementioned scenes - or whether they were stoned. I couldn't tell...
So, other than the Comedy and the Romance do I have any other complaints. Yeah, I do sorry.
The plot is too slow. It seems to take quite a while for things to happen, but they did at least manage to keep plenty in the film from the books. I think this is actually the first time they haven't missed too much that important. I think they could have added some more action to a couple of the pieces - such as where Katie Bell was cursed by the Necklace, which could have been much more exciting than it was in the film. Likewise with Ron's mead incident.
The all important memories of the young Tom Marvolo Riddle which form the basis of the book, the whole thing of Harry learning all about the young Voldemort. Well, let's just glaze over them shall we? No? Oh, well the film did.
Little bit of poor continuity here they have changed the Pensieve from the opulent font from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - to a floating bowl. AND they changed the way memories are seen, which was a bit of a let down. These films have bad continuity sometimes (they changed the Dementors from film 3 to 5 and the face in the fire in books 4 and 5.) Little things can really annoy me here. Also, the Marauders map, only had Draco's surname on it, when it should have had "Draco Malfoy", as it did in HP3. Oh, and really bad continuity, but when Dumbledore falls from the Astronomy tower, he lands somewhere which isn't next to the tower. I watched carefully, and he is shown landing in the courtyard, when, that isn't actually below the area he fell from when seen in the tower - I bet few would notice, but, I am sincerely pedantic.
They had the ones they couldn't miss at all, such as when Dumbledore told Riddle he was a wizard, and when Riddle asked Slughorn about Horcruxes. But it missed out the whole story of Riddle killing his uncle and Grandfather, along with his muggle father and grandparents. Not all important no, but could have added some colour to the films duller sequences.
Now, my biggest bugbear. The changes from the Books.
It has been a good few months, possibly nearer a year now, since I have actually read the book, but I still remember it pretty well, and there are a few things that annoyed me.
These are just brief little bits, but for example, it annoys me that there is only one Quidditch match in the film, when in the book there were a couple, leading up to Ron becoming confident. There wasn't as much intrigue from Harry as to what Draco was up to in the Room of Requirement, in fact, I don't even think it showed that Harry knew where he was going.
One big thing, which I am now pretty sure that they have made things difficult for themselves, is that when Harry hides his potions book - he doesn't hide it. Ginny does. But he is supposed to have hidden it, and moved an old tiara onto a bust so he could remember where it was - and that is CRUCIAL for the last book. In fact, it is the whole reason for the final events of book seven. I'm sure they will find some stupid way of getting round it, but it has pissed me off already.
Next up, is that the events atop of the Astronomy tower unfurled, Harry wasn't paralysed under his invisibility cloak. He was stood freely, and Snape even sees him, and silences him as he goes up to see Dumbledore. A minor thing, but still - it's not what the book said.
They removed scenes of them all learning to dissaparate - which could have added genuine humour to the film, as well as adding something a little more interesting.
They added something. A fight sequence with Ginny and Harry vs. Bellatrix and Fenir. It never happened. You can't add things like that to Harry Potter - especially when it culminates in something which they then have to fix in order for the next book to work properly.
Another thing they missed, was the fight sequence between the Death Eaters and Dumbledore's Army. That would have added another nice burst of action, some real interesting fight sequences. But no, they ignored it.
Rant Over - Praises?
OK, so I do have a lot of complaints don't I? I suppose that is the problem with turning a book as huge as Harry Potter into a film (I have a few complaints already for the New Moon film - just from watching a 2 minute trailer). But, at the end of the day, in the most disgusting and unfair way - they have the advantage. I still love the film. I still shot out the day after it was released and saw it for the second time with a friend, and will be getting it on DVD. Because I am so into the whole thing. I cannot say it was a poor movie, even though I can complain about it more than anything I have ever watched.
The presentation of the film was great. Overall. The demolition of the bridge, the scenes in Snape's house, the Quidditch match, the potions classes. They worked great, they looked so true to the book. I have to say they have had the best special effects here, especially with the final sequence, which looked amazing. The use of CGI was impressive, my brother said he saw that the bridge sequence - including all the people, were completely CGI, which you couldn't tell. They have used the best of the technology available to them and it is certainly impressive.
I would have to say, that it is, my favourite film so far, even though I have so many things I don't like. The maturing of the characters from each film great, and despite Daniel Radcliff's rather turd acting, I can look passed it. I am still in really split minds about the humour though, with it being so amusing, it was certainly enjoyable, but maybe I am a little too stuck into the books being so much better, that I didn't appreciate it as much as someone who watches it as a film in it's own right.
It is undoubtedly an enjoyable film. The whole cinema was laughing at stages, there were people crying there was times when you jumped. I was stuck on tenterhooks not wanting to miss anything, even though I had to run out to go to the toilet at one stage.
If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, this review will make no difference - you will be going to see it, or you will have already seen it. If your kids are fans, they will drag you to it at some point. I definitely enjoyed seeing it, and like I have said, will watch it again, and again, and again. It is a 12a, and next time I see it I am definitely going to the adult only screenings at VUE. It runs to 2 hours and 33 minutes, which is average for the Potter films.
So, despite all the complaints I actually have, it is a great film. But it could have been amazing if it had been written, directed and all that jazz, by real hardcore, Harry Potter fans.
Summary: It's Harry Potter