Book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Movie: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Genre: Fiction, magic, wizards, children, not everything should be made into a movie
Rating: 2.1 out of 5 stars (movie), 4.5 out of 5 stars (book)
Summary: In the sixth installment of the confusingly popular Harry Potter series Harry and Ginny experience awkward sexual tension, Dumbledore kind of teaches us about horcruxes, everyone forgets that the invisibility cloak exists, the audience assumes there are only 4 Weasley children, and Jim Broadbent rethinks his acting career.
Until recently the last Harry Potter movie I saw was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and that was in 2006, when Harry and Ron had matching John Edwards hair (being that it was the hair of a pony). This was until last month, when ABC Family was running a Harry Potter marathon in which I caught 2/3 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Having just re-read the novel I couldn’t help but notice that whoever wrote the script had a drunken comedian tell them the plot of the novel before scripting it (a la Drunk History). It was so awful (although the hair was slightly better and less pony-esque) and contained such unnecessary CGI that I knew after re-reading the sixth book I would have to watch the film. It also gave me an excuse to giggle over Alan Rickman, which you really never need an excuse for.
The movie opens in the same confusing way that the fifth one closed, with Death Eaters turning into black mist and flying around London. In the wizarding (quiet auto correct that is too a word!) world there are a lot of ways one can get from place to place: apparating, floo powder, broomsticks, the Knight Bus, portkeys, the Hogwarts Express, various bewitched Muggle objects, etc. None of these however involve turning to black mist and flying around like a disintegrating Superman. It makes no sense. If Chewbacca lives on Endor you must acquit.
This is then followed by Harry being hit on for no reason, probably to convince us that he’s sexy AND famous, neither of which I agree with. It also distracts the audience from the fact that the Dursleys, Bill, Percy, and Charlie are not in this film. Could they not pay them to be in this movie? Was it too embarrassing to continue to have to be in these movies?
From here on out the film continues to be the usual blend of good actors (Alan Rickman, Jim Broadbent, Helena Bonham Carter, and Maggie Smith) being thrust aside by awful actors (Danielle Radcliffe) to portray a confusing and not too accurate rendition of an amazing book series. Overall it lacks in any spark or excitement and in order for me to finish it I had to take a lot of breaks. Thank goodness I didn’t pay to watch said movie. I love you internet! ::insert intangible hugging here::
The main problem with the film was the way the script took all the mystery that keeps you guessing in the book and erased it entirely. You don’t need to wonder why Draco goes into Borgin and Burkes because you see the vanishing cabinet, and Mr. Weasley even explains what it does! We’re told that the cursed locket was meant for Dumbledore and even that Draco is definitely the one who did it. Harry even talks to Ron in very obvious terms about his crush on Ginny. I mean come on, your best friend is talking to you about your pretty, smart sister who has good skin? How dense can you be!?! No wonder people say gingers have no souls. Ahem.
On a random side note concerning both the book and the film, why is the potions book so damn horrible? Even when everyone follows the steps in the book their potions still don’t turn out correct. Why would Hogwarts have their students buy a book filled with a billion inaccuracies? In essence, if you follow the book you will never be able to make a potion. Ever. Which in turn will cause you to not pass your N.E.W.T. As far as I’m concerned all copies of Advanced Potion Making should come with the warning, Libatius Borage: Making You Fail Your Potions Practicals Since 1946.
What the film did have was a lot of ridiculousness that kept me entertained. That is not to say these bits made the movie good, because I’m 100% positive they weren’t put there to make me snort with a mixture of derision and amusement.
- AWKWARD SEXUAL TENSION!!! between Harry and Ginny. All those butt out shoulder patting hugs.
- Arnold the pygmy puff who randomly appears for a total of 20 seconds.
- We know Borgin and Burkes is evil solely for the human skeleton in the window display.
- The potions textbook is basically the world’s smallest textbook. I bet Harry won’t get any money for it at buyback time.
- Black turtlenecks paired with black suits = EVIL! (Sorry Steve Jobs.)
- Contains tapestries of retarded medieval unicorns. Okay, okay, unicorn.
- Extreme close-ups on forgotten plot points, i.e. Marvolo Gaunt’s ring.
- Dumbledore can randomly apparate INSIDE Hogwarts.
- Inferi are basically just anorexic Gollums.
- In lieu of a funeral, everyone just lamely raises their wands like they’re calling for an encore. Possible zombie!Dumbledore spin-off in the future?
As was mentioned in a prior Harry Potter movie themed post from Cassie-wa, the movies try to portray its characters in a better light than the novels. In the prior film rather than having Harry purposefully look in the pensieve at Snape’s worst memory, he accidentally witnesses it when they are practicing Occlumency. Kind of odd considering Snape is such a skilled Oclumens that even Voldemort cannot read his mind, so how come Harry can? PLOT HOLE!
In this movie as well a lot poor moral choices are glossed over to make the characters less realistic and therefore less human. No one likes a goody two-shoes, a phrase which I’m sure offends amputees everywhere. This occurs most often in Ron’s leech like relationship with Lavender Brown (he totally has a thing for crazy haired chicks). In the book he makes out with her merely because he is jealous that everyone but him has gotten some- at least according to Ginny. In the film he kisses her merely due to lust and excitement over winning the Quidditch match. Making out with someone to show up your sister = creepy and bad, making out with someone because she’s impressed with your ball fondling skills = still pretty pathetic but slightly less bad.
Harry is also written in a better light when it comes to his Advanced Potions Making book. In J.K.’s version after enacting Sectumsempra on Draco, Snape demands to see Harry’s textbooks and he switches his with Ron’s and hides the Half-Blood Prince’s book in the Room of Requirement where he plans to get it later. Although for some reason, probably because Dumbledore dies he forgets about it. If this is somehow a spoiler to you please kindly evacuate the planet. In the movie however Ginny and Harry hide the book after he uses Sectumsempra on Draco for the good of his fellow students. To protect them or something noble like that.
Harry Potter isn’t a saint, and he certainly isn’t perfect. Sure he can be brave and good-hearted, but he can also be a whiny self-centered douche. If you want a realistic character you need to take the good AND the bad. And if you want to experience Harry Potter the way it should be experienced, read the damn books.