A Completely Gratuitous Harry Potter Review

If you are any kind of Harry Potter fan at all, you have probably already seen the sixth installment of the film series, and I probably don’t even have to say this: *Spoiler Alert*.

DearDR and I finally went to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Saturday night. (Much thanks to my MIL and SIL, and the impromptu and, I’m sure, rowdy sleep over that ensued at my MIL’s that evening.) My thoughts about it have been percolating in my allergy-ridden head since. The movie is clearly occupying brain cells formerly taken up with Lost theories.

What I Didn’t Like:

That Useless Scene: You know the one I am talking about. Why send the Death Eaters to set the Weasley’s house on fire and have Ginny and Harry running around in tall grass? I have no idea how this scene figures into moving the Harry Potter film stories forward. Seemed utterly pointless to me.

The Memories: Not enough memories of Tom Riddle were shown in the movie. Not enough exposition of what the memories mean to what becomes Harry’s quest in the last book. The oversight is going to have a huge impact on how they decide to write the last two films. Somehow or another, they are going to have to get Harry the information regarding what Voldemort’s Horcruxes are. Look for a raid on the headmaster’s office early in the next movie.

Hiding the Book: The whole scene where Ginny went with Harry to hide his potions book was pathetic. Hated it. Well, except for the kiss. The kiss was very sweet. But the kiss in the book was way better.

Totally Petty Thing that No One Else is Having a Problem with: Ginny is taller than Harry in the movies. This is very distracting to me as a tall girl who could never date a guy the same height as me, let alone someone shorter. Totally irrelevant to everything and besides the point, but I notice it. Wish I didn’t.

What I Liked:

The Laughs: I think this is by far the funniest (and yet the darkest) of the movies to date. At the expense of the characters, of course, and their romantic whimsies. Rupert Grint is hysterical as the confused romantic object of girls’ affection. Cormac McLaggen’s aggressive pursuit of Hermione was laugh-out-loud funny; for a brain, Herimone certainly catches the attentions of some major jocks (remember Krum?). On the other hand, watching Herimone and Harry struggle with their jealousy makes me remember that I never, ever want to be a teen again.

Malfoy’s Story: I think the writer and director made a brilliant choice of how to portray Draco Malfoy’s role in this book. Instead of Harry’s obsession with Malfoy and the long-winded explanation we get at the end of the book, we get a minimalist treatment of Malfoy’s plan and execution of it. Just spot-on. (Another irrelevant aside: Tom Felton is a hottie.)

James Broadbent as Horace Slughorn: I really enjoyed Broadbent’s turn in the film. Much less blather than in the book. He made Slughorn, to my mind, a more sympathic character. Probably something to do with that hangdog expression he wears.

What I Missed Most:

The battle at the end between DA members and Death Eaters. If they had cut that Useless Scene out, they could have put this in instead.

Overall, I completely loved the movie, though. David Yates and company capture the encroaching darkness of the book so well. It hits (almost all) the important points. The next two films cannot come along quickly enough for me.

Note to my husband with whom I love to see movies: Please start reading these books. Tonight. Instead of an hour of classic NHL games and WWII documentaries on cable, crack open Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Because if you keep asking me questions about how the movies are different from the book, I’m going to see the last two movies without you. I have read (and reread, and enjoyed) the LOTR books and films with you. Harry Potter is my LOTR. Get cracking. Yer ever lovin’ wife, rpm

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8 thoughts on “A Completely Gratuitous Harry Potter Review

  1. Regarding your totally petty thing…I’m not as tall as you but am fairly tall (and seemed moreso in HS since I shot up to my current height early), and I can say that some girls do date guys who are shorter than them. I did it in high school. I did it in college. I did it after college. I don’t do it anymore just because I’m married…to a shorter guy.

    I know why some women don’t, but I guess Ginny and I (and a few others I’m sure) are okay with it.

    • Full discosure: I should add that height has sometimes slowed would be courtships. When I first saw my husband I infamously thought “he’s cute, but he’s a bit short.” So, it’s not like I’m completely cool with it until I get to know someone.

      • Oh, yeah, the height thing is totally me. I always felt horribly self-conscious being with a guy shorter than I. Showing my superficial side, I guess. 🙂 DearDR is not even all that tall — he only has about two inches on me.

        thanks for the comments!

        ciao,
        rpm

  2. I totally agree. I can see them adding the Burrow scene for excitement IF they hadn’t cut the battle – that made no sense. I guess they felt like they needed more excitement mid-movie, but it was dumb. It was a good, exciting scene, but stupid.

    All the little stuff, too, is really going to have to be fleshed out in the next (two) movie(s) to make sense to anyone who hasn’t read the books.

    The love potion scenes were HILARIOUS.

    And the kiss was way, WAY better in the book.

    • I think one of the advantages that people making the movies have is that the majority of their audience is intimately familiar with the source material. Very few are like my husband, who has barely read anything. So they can get away with little omissions. But I don’t see how you leave out all that information about Horcruxes. It’s totally the point of the last book.

      I think Rupert Grint was brilliant in this film. Emma Watson came into her own about movie three (still one of my favorite scenes is when she punches Malfoy). But as the kid who’s been in Harry’s shadow for six years, Ron is breaking out is certain areas, and it’s fun to see Grint have a good time with it.

      And: yep. It’s one of my all time favorite things in all seven books, Ginny & Harry’s first kiss. And then Ron’s reaction.

      thanks for the comments!

      ciao,
      rpm

      • There was an interview with the director in some magazine my husband showed me (was probably Wired or some SciFi something…) and he said he wasn’t going to cater this movie to those who hadn’t read the books, there wasn’t time.

        Still, I can’t fathom how they could cut so much out of 6 and still intend to make 7 into 2 movies. Unless parts missing from 6 get tucked into 7, such as the missing memories. Tho that would be even further from that book… It would have been just fine to cut out that Burrow scene (though it is the only scene including Tonks!) and the stupid book scene and added a 1/2 hour more of Dumbledore and the memories, or an explanation of what happened to his hand (did I miss that? they show the hand but I don’t recall an explanation.).

  3. @Kelly,

    The Harry Potter story, like LOTR, is just a good story, so I don’t mind the movies taking the liberties they do. Well, okay, a couple of things I mind. (Ask me to bore you about the Useless Scene in the LOTR: Two Towers — out of my husband’s earshot though. He’ll bore you with more.)

    Seven and Eight will be the furthest from the books; Six practically guarantees that. I’m curious to see how they do it, and really hope it’s not ultimately disappointing. And even if it is: We’ll always have the books.

    ciao!
    rpm

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