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Half-hearted Half-Blood Prince

July 5, 2009

hp1No major spoilers – even for those who’ve not read the book. But don’t read if you want to keep your hopes up!

To London on Friday for the Half-Blood Prince preview. It was (apparently) the first ever international screening of the film. Which is why I was a tad confused later in the veening when Wossy told Hermione he’d seen the film and loved it – his show is pre recorded no? Maybe he got a special uber-celebrity viewing. Or maybe he’s lying.

In fact, he *is* lying because… Would it be breaking the embargo to say I was pretty much let down by it? Sod it, the Guardian have stuck a review up early, and as BMTV is more or less on a par with them as far as quality writing goes, I shall publish away! I know I was utterly excited by it – so much so that I actually had butterflies whenever I thought about it the day before. I shouldn’t have got my hopes up – I only did because Order of the Phoenix was so good. Half-Blood Prince basically ignores one of the central strands of the plot. I found that quite difficult to grasp until I got my head around it. I came out of the cinema thinking, “Hmmm. Something wasn’t quite right about that. It was OK. The snogging and teenage-ness was bearable – it’s more or less all you think about as a teen really. But no… it was something else. Ah yeah! They ignored the whole HBP thing!”

hp2In the book, Harry is obsessed with finding out the indentity of the Half-Blood Prince – the mysterious owner of his second-hand Potions book.  He’s so obsessed with that (and trying to work out what Malfoy’s doing scuttling around in the Room of Requirement) that he ignores Dumbledore’s mission; to get Slughorn’s hidden memory. He ignores it so much, that by the end of the book, he sufferes immense guilt that he hadn’t found it sooner – if he had, then perhaps certain tragic events wouldn’t have happened… By the time of the big reveal in the film, “Yes Harry – *I* am the Half-Blood Prince!” you’re left feeling not at all surprised (who else could it be, really – although in the book, this first thought is red herring’d only to pull the rug under you at the final twist, but as they didn’t delve into this strand of the plot, there’s no confounding to be done and therefore, no surprise at the end), but also you’re left going, “Oh yeah… there was something about that at the start, like, three hours ago, right?”  Because the film is also far too long.

hplavhpginnySlughorn is wonderfully cast, as is Lavender Brown – Jessie Cave has great comic timing and presence. Why she wasn’t cast as Ginny way back when I’ve no idea. Seriously, anyone could have done a better job. I don’t mean to be cruel because she is young, and I’m sure she’s got a lot still to learn (boy does she have a lot to learn) but surely someone, somewhere down the line should have said, Bonny, love, how about maybe using some expression? Remember, Ginny has loved Harry since she was able to know who he was. Maybe use your eyes a bit? Maybe make your lip wobble when you’re feeling emotional? Maybe use the tone in your voice to show when you’re excited, angry, upset? Something like that? Otherwise, we maybe as well use a cardboard cut-out and save on your fee.” Please don’t think this is hyperbole. She honestly made even Emma Watson look RADA-trained.

hpdracoThe film itself was fine. As a teen film. Good comedy from Harry, Ron – even Hermione. Great Broadbent stuff, and extra special kudos to Tem Felton who did a wonderful torn, bitter and confused Draco. For once, he had something to do other than snarl a bit. I’m just a tad upset that – even though it was an epicly long film – they didn’t really do much in terms of characters and plot. It just seemed to be a lot of snogging and Rom Com stuff. They could have made more of Draco’s mission, Harry’s obsession with the HBP, Hermione’s anger at Harry for not turning in the book (and jealousy for not being the best at Potions anymore). Half-Blood Price is such a rich book – the teen Rom Com stuff is only a small part of it.

hp3I’m not sure how the film works in the series as a whole. Maybe they’ll make more of who the Half-Blood Prince is and their backstory in the next film – although they’ve enough to cram in, even with the splitting of the Dealthy Hallows into two films! They should have split Half-Blood Prince too. Why they didn’t is beyond me – and why JK Rowling let them ignore this HBP strand I’ve no idea. It’s a shame because it does a lot for the characterisation of the HPB. It starts to ball rolling into your vision of them as the multi-structured, tortured, character they are. Without the pulling apart of the HPB thread I’m afraid the films will make them into a 1D villain. And they’re not.

Anyway. Enough of that. I’ve most probably triggered some kind of Harry Potter Cyber Alert and any minute now Harry Potter Cyber Ninjas are going to burst thru my ceiling and comendere my laptop (I think that’s what my next job is going to be – a Harry Potter Cyber Ninja, sounds excellent fun!). I’d like to say more about the trip to London (you know how I love my London rants) but I’ll save that for my diary as I’ve not posted over there for a while, and this has already turned into an essay.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2009 10:10 pm

    I’ll only go if my 13 year old want to drag me. Thanks though, nice review.

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