Thursday, July 23, 2009

OMG, A Good Harry Potter Movie!

I need to start this off with a disclaimer: I LOVE the Harry Potter books. I am a huge fan, and it is very difficult for me to see them from a non-fan perspective. That said, I am not much of a fan of the movies. Though I do refrain from complaining about every single detail that the filmmakers left out, I am fully convinced that movies will never come close to the awesomeness of the books, and I have been generally disappointed with the adaptations. Now, I just accept that they're not going to be great and try to enjoy what I can.

So when I went to see Half-Blood Prince at midnight, my expectations were not that high. I was amazed to discover that this movie is actually good! Not just good in comparison to the others or good enough considering the book is over 600 pages long, but good as in if I went to see it without reading Harry Potter, I probably would have liked it! Miracle!

Half-Blood Prince does things the other Harry Potter movies don't seem to have considered, like portraying the plot in a visual manner and including visualized details that make the books so exquisite. It sticks to the main plot and still captures the essence of the book while adapting the story to tell it visually.

The opening sequence is the epitome of the switch in filmmaking styles. Without anyone saying a word, Death Eaters fly through a gloomy London wreaking havoc on the muggle world without any of the normal humans realizing what's wrong. Now, Death Eaters don't fly, but showing that they have become powerful enough to affect not just the wizards but the normal people as well helps set the scene very well while still portraying the world cinematically. It differs greatly from the opening of the book, but it still gets the same point across, and for me, that is the sign of a great adaptation.

Apart from its relation to the books, this film is very well balanced between plot, details, and visuals. Without detracting from the story, the film has lots of great moments that help it to make the leap from decent to enjoyable. I loved Harry's ecstatic strut through Hogwarts after he's taken a luck potion. At the same time, the dark lighting and muted colors that pervade the film help show that Voldemort is out there and that evil is beginning to take over, not only setting the tone for this movie but also setting up the next two.

The acting in this film was much improved as well. I am not a fan of Daniel Radcliffe (who plays Harry), but he actually acted this time! It was incredible! All right, so he's been getting better in the last few films, but I actually enjoyed watching him grow from an awkward teen to a potential lover, and he played his part very well. It is always a pleasure to watch Alan Rickman as Snape and Tom Felton as Draco Malfory, and both of them truly embodied their characters in this film, Rickman being his usual sulkily brilliant self and Felton developing from nasty comic relief to a truly deep dark character.

There were parts of the movie that were less than fantastic. Blowing up the Weasley house seemed rather pointless, and the ending lacked excitement (where did the final battle go?!), but on the whole, I really enjoyed this film, and I can't wait to see it in IMAX!


  1. I agree. I thought the movie was brilliant. Considering it was the first movie I'd seen AFTER reading the books, and the half-blood prince was my favorite book, I knew there was the possibility for disappointment. but yeah, I thought the humor and improvement in the acting really helped show the importance of the changes the characters go through in this book, and I thought the cave scene (which was, by far, the most scary/intense part of the books for me) scared me even though i KNEW what was going to happen. Oh, and the two actors that played Tom Riddle in the memories HAVE to be related - they were cast so well and looked so much alike. (and I like their look way better than the one from the diary in the second)

    I am convinced they blew up the Weasley house as an excuse to have Helena Bonham Carter in the film more. Love her, but yeah, the scene was odd.

  2. Yeah, that's what I thought too. I think they have a contract with her that gives her a certain amount of screen time because she originally didn't want to do the part and only agreed because JKR said Bellatrix gets more important after book 5. Of course, they could have done the final battle and given her screen time then...