As some of you may now be aware, as I posted on my twitter, I was privileged enough to go to an advanced press screening for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince this morning.
If you haven't guessed by now, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I have been for over ten years. The books have touched my life in ways that I could never begin to explain. I have laughed along with the Weasley twins, felt the beginnings of a crush with Harry, and cried inconsolably when Deathly Hallow was finally in my hands.
In July 2005, I read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in a day. Over the last few years, I have picked up the novel a variety of times as it has always been one of my favorites in the series. You can imagine my excitement in going to see the film.
From the gate, there were countless bits that I loved in this installment, but, if I'm going to be honest (as I always am to all you wonderful readers), there were equally as many things that I disliked.
If you are looking for a completely faithful rendition of Rowling's emotional narrative, you have come to the wrong place. However, should you keep in mind what this is supposed to be - a movie based on the novel - you should come out it relatively okay.
The most irritating part, as a fan, are the deviations from the novel, which Yates has spread liberally throughout the film.
Remember the clip, I posted last week:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Exclusive Clip
First of all, as most of us know, Bellatrix and Fenrir don't go to the Weasley home in this novel. It is not until Deathly Hallows that the Burrow is attacked.
The inclusion of this scene in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is not only arbitrary, but also unwelcome. Whilst I'm sure it was added to speed up the pace of the film, as a Harry Potter fan, it only serves to pull you out of the moment due to your sudden annoyance at its inclusion.
Speaking of the Burrow, if you were hoping to see Fleur, you will be left wanting. I admit myself curious about the upcoming wedding in Deathly Hallows since, after this film, the Burrow is completely burned.
Harry's obsession with the Half Blood Prince? Almost none existent. Snape telling Harry that he is in fact the Half Blood Prince after no build up in the film? RANDOM
Didn't Draco go by himself to Knockturn Alley to view the Vanishing Cabinet? Wasn't his mother worried sick since she didn't know his plans? Didn't Snape constantly harass Draco about his plans? Not in this film. In this film, everyone knows the Vanishing Cabinet is the way in and out of Hogwarts... even Mr. Weasley!
HP Fans, the jury is out. I have one question for you: did Voldy ever brand Draco with the mark? The answer is NO. However, Yates sure seems to think that this addition would be favorable.
Hmmm.... I do believe J.K. Rowling wrote something along the lines that a contributing factor in Draco's issues rises from his need to be accepted by the Death Eaters. One of his redeeming qualities is the fact that he never actually joined. The dark mark is a sad and unnecessary inclusion in the film. Wag of the finger at you, Yates. Wag of the finger.
Relax! It's in the film. However, I seem to remember something about Dumbledore immobilizing Harry. I also seem to remember something about Dumbledore using his last moment to protect Harry... yeah, that's not how Yates sees it. No, apparently, Harry Potter hides under the Astronomy tower watching the events from below, while Snape sneaks up behind him before going off to kill our beloved professor.
All I have to say is: WHAT??
In which alternate universe would (an un-immobilized) Harry Potter stand below whilst Dumbledore is being murdered? Terrible. Terrible. Terrible. Congrats Yates, you have managed to paint Potter as cowardly.
Speaking of Dumbledore's death scene, if you were expecting to see the funeral. Again, you are left wanting. Personally, I am rather saddened by this.
I will say, however, Dumbledore's death was emotional, albeit perhaps not done as it should have been. It definitely got this reviewer choked up (years of waiting, I sure you can understand). The students and staff's tribute to Dumbledore was especially moving.
There have been rumors for months that the battle for Hogwarts had been left out of this film. I can unhappily report these are true. I am sure this was to make the final battle more exciting, but nevertheless it was missed. Harry chivalrously sharing his elixir to save his mates? Yates says, "Not this time, my friends."
Multiple other important aspects of the books felt skimmed over in this installment such as Harry's relationship with Ginny, Harry's obsession with the Half Blood Prince and the subsequent search for him, the lack of emphasis on the tiara in the Room of Requirement, the lack of development of Voldemort's back story (i.e. no Gaunt scene), etc. Other minor changes were made, but none that would prove hard live with.
The actors are definitely doing a better job in this film in comparison to last providing the film with various endearing parts (i.e. Hermione pinning for Ron and Harry's conversations with her. Let's not even mention the Weasley twins...love them!) as well as a few hilarious ones (i.e. Lavender Brown is LOLtastic). While it is a bit more scattered than the other films, this can be easily blamed on the novels density. It is thus understandable that somethings had to change.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was good. Perhaps better than some of the others, but definitely not the best. Let's just hope the next film blows all the others out of the water...or cauldron as it were. Who else is looking forward to Deathly Hallows One and Two?
As always, should you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to email me at ReadersPen@Gmail.com