Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Just Awful
As the world devours the new Harry Potter film as it has done with everything to do with Harry Potter since the first book came out so many years ago, I’m struck with a disparaging thought: have we all lost what little good taste we had in films to the slobbering mob mentality of fan boy mania?
Let me start off by saying this: I’m not a huge fan of the old movies in the Harry Potter series. I’m more of a Lord of the Rings kind of guy and I never liked the way that the story closely followed Harry even though the far more interesting adult wizard action was taking place off camera and often times purposefully hidden from the viewer.
Now, I haven’t read all of the books. In fact, I’ve only read one and it coincidentally was the Half Blood Prince. I picked it up because I enjoyed the Prisoner of Azkaban film and wanted to see how much darker Harry could get. Sadly, dark seems to mean awkwardly anx ridden and romantic to JK Rowling.
I’m not going to start digging on the Harry Potter books because this isn’t the hub or the place and I’m sure there are hundreds of passionate Harry Potter fans who would just love to criticize my views on the books, I’m here to talk about the latest film and that’s what we’re going to do.
I went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on opening night.
To put it bluntly, this film was god awful. I sat in my chair watching the whole thing with my head in my hands and cringing and I almost fell asleep four times! There was so much wrong with this film that the stuff they got right paled and flittered out of existence like a poorly made potion. The acting was terrible, the pace was sluggishly monotonous, scene after scene was filled with unnecessary side plot and strange cuts to unnecessary innuendo and the big dramatic sequences that made this story such a hit in the first place were completely rushed and anticlimactic.
When Actors Feel like Actors All Magic is Lost
You know you have a good actor when you forget that they are acting. If the job is done right the actor becomes the character in your mind and you completely suspend your disbelief and fall into the film. I don’t think that the actors in this movie have really learned their craft. I mean, it was understandable back in the first couple of movies because they were young kids fresh into the acting scene. Now, they just plain suck.
Every scene had at least ten unnecessary pauses in the dialog. It felt like after every line delivered the actors suddenly forgot their lines and were listening to the off stage crew feeding their next sentence to them. Every single conversation between the three central character, Harry, Hermione, and Ron, was flat and uninteresting and they were the ones on camera 95% of the film!
The older veterans weren’t much better either. The actor playing Dumbledore gave a decent performance but it was inconsistent. Most of the time his lines fell flat and it felt like he didn’t care about the action going on around him. Maybe that was the point? The only time I truly felt anything for him was during this one poison drinking scene. He made me believe he was actually in pain then but the rest of the film I felt like I was drinking the terrible Voldemort potion.
Speaking of the fabled villain, where the hell was he the entire film? He doesn’t make any appearance at all. Instead we're treated to some no-name henchman who are never even introduced and they barely make any noise. Who's that guy that looks like an uglier magical version of Sabretooth anyway?
Now, in other movies this is done well and you still get that ugly foreboding feeling whenever the villain is thought about but in this one he became almost laughable because the flash backs of him in his younger days show him as this prissy little baby faced kid who isn’t scary in the least.
Haven’t Read the Book? Too Bad, You Won't Know What's Going On
Its one thing to ruin a novel but it is a whole other issue when the film relies on the fact that over 80% of the audience has read the book five times. There were some major plot holes that only made sense because of the novel’s background information. I would hate to be someone who has never read the books and only likes watching the films.
For example, why was that girl trying to get Harry to drink a love potion? The offhanded excuse Hermione gave that the director tried to pass off as plot progression didn’t cut it. Yeah, Harry’s the chosen one but he’s been that way for a long time. Why do the girls like him now?
Why does Ginny tie Harry’s shoes?
If the above sub heading doesn’t make sense to you then you need to join the club. There were a number of scenes in this film that were grotesquely sexual but because it is a kid’s film the director had to play them off as innocent. Why does Ginny tie Harry’s shoes in next to the vanishing cabinet? Unnecessary innuendo, that’s why. It was only made even clearer when Ron asks Harry if they’d done it in there.
Oral sex doesn’t belong in Harry Potter guys, come on!
SPOILERS! Entirely too Anticlimactic.
Before you read this little paragraph I’m going to give you the option. I’m going to reveal the ending of the movie (though most of you should already know what went down anyway) and I don’t want to have anyone go crazy about it. So here is your spoiler warning, skip to the next section if you want to never think of what happens until you see the film.
As you probably already know, because it was thrown around the internet and the world when the Half Blood Prince first came out in book form, Snape kills Dumbledore. Gasp! I know. Awful right? This one's certainly going to end up in a movie trivia quiz somewhere.
This is a major turning point in our character’s lives but in this film it is handled so poorly that I really didn’t care about it at all. Maybe it was due to the fact that everyone already knew it was going to happen anyway but not a single person in the theatre seemed to react when this happened: First there is a really intense yet whiny scene between Malfoy and Dumbledore and then the villains walk in, Snape shows up, Bam, Dumbledore dead. It happened that quickly in the film too and Harry watches the whole thing with a look of mild discontent when he could have easily saved them all.
Boring! But to make things worse, the villains casually walk out of the HIGHLY FORTIFIED school of GREAT MAGIC without having to disarm but one inept guard. Where’s the bloody battle scene between awesome and powerful wizards? Where’s the defense system that was so hyped up earlier in the film?
A Total Waste
In the end of the film Harry has a little discussion with his friends and he says something along the lines of “It was all a waste of time.” Well, I have to give it to him there because this film was a waste of three hours of my life and I won’t be getting it back any time soon. My advice? Skip this Harry Potter movie and wait for the next one. The only plot that moves forward at all is the relationship between Ron and Hermione and to be honest, it was poorly pushed forward anyway.
There's more I could say about this film but really at this point why bother? You get the picture: it was a terrible, no good, just plain uninspired, boring piece of fiction that had so much potential but fell completely flat on the nose.
Maybe I’m wrong though, maybe I’m not giving them enough credit. I went with four other friends (who have read the Harry Potter books over and over countless times) and they seemed to enjoy the movie. What did you think about the latest Harry Potter film? Am I right in my criticisms? Let me know with a comment.