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17 July 2009 @ 10:31 pm
[movie] Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince review  
Well, since splited wants to know how I feel about Half Blood Prince, I shall write this long review for her. ^^ Also, I love to rant during my reviews so if you are planning to read this, just try to bear with it? xD

To be honest, despite the rave reviews by the critics so far, I actually walked out of the movie feeling disappointed. The other three of my friends who accompanied me to watch the movie thought it was pretty good and probably the funniest movie yet but I didn’t feel that way. Since I enjoy analyzing things, I started to wonder why I felt that way when my friends (who all completed the series and love it) didn’t. That was when I realize the root of the problem. I didn’t enjoy Book!Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince to begin with and so how on earth would I be able to enjoy the movie?!

Yes, if I were to rank all the books of the series, Half Blood Prince would be pretty high up the list but not because it was on its own an amazing book but because it is the book which completes the series. Half Blood Prince was the book that initiated Harry’s path on self-discovery and the truth, it’s also when we were exposed to not only the hardships the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore’s Army had to go through due to Voldemort’s comeback but also the Death Eaters and most importantly it was when we started to comprehend Voldemort’s past; where he came from and how he ended up being who he is today. Frankly, those were the parts that kept me intrigued by the book, and not really the hormonal rage we got from the canon pairings because let’s face the fact, J.K.Rowling is not going to be famous for writing love stories anytime soon. And, this is exactly why I was disappointed with the movie, because it accentuated things I didn’t like about the book and left out things which I loved.

To quote from my past review of Movie!Order of the Phoenix;
I think I mentioned that if you strip GOF of all the CGI effects and humour, there's really nothing great about the movie at all. However, OOTP spins a more satisfying yarn.
As it is, I feel the same way about HBP with GOF, in that if you strip the CGI effects and the humour, there really is nothing much left of the movie.

Well, first, let’s move to the main issues I had with the movie…

01. Harry Potter not being frozen/paralyzed or whatever before Dumbledore’s death.

I never actually though that I am book purist until I watched the scene and hated it. Harry Potter is supposed to be a true Gryffindor-ian. He will never in his right mind leave anyone, least of all Dumbledore, to face the Death Eaters alone, even if he was helpless and wandless. It was disasterous. In the book, it was so much more moving to watch Harry lying there silently, having to watch Dumbledore die but being completely powerless. I know some felt alright with the change but personally, Harry’s representation in the scene from the movie could not have been less accurate. Harry was never even obedient to begin with. I'm not sure if the change was meant to show how much Harry trusted Dumbledore or to lead the audience to not blame Harry for Dumbledore's death but it didn't work for me.

02.Yes, young Tom Riddle in the orphanage was pretty well portrayed. It’s the 16-year-old version of him that I felt…lacking?

Think about it for a moment. Voldemort is far from a one-dimension pure evil (more on that later). Tom Riddle from the book knew how to suppress his desires and instead uses his charm to “make” people perform deeds for him. This also explains how older Voldemort gets support voluntarily. Let us bear in mind that not all of his followers are as cowardly as Peter Pettigrew. His real Death Eaters were the ones who consisted of Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix and Severnus Snape, the ones with good wizarding abilities and who very well knew the consequences of their actions but still offered their service to Voldemort because they truly believed that they will be able to gain from it. Granted they might have regretted half-way and still serve Voldemort due to fear, but I truly believe that they first joined Voldemort more out of awe, respect and greed rather than the idea of dying.

16-year-old Tom Riddle from the movie was outright menacing and that didn’t work for me. Being under the likes of Dippet, Dumbledore and McGonagall, surely it wouldn’t have taken young Tom Riddle too long to find out that sometimes it’s one’s “softer” actions that garners the most respect and gets things done, so rather than be menacing and evil 24/7, he would have picked up some tricks and learn how to charm people when he needed to and in some cases, manipulate people into doing his bidding rather than forcing them to. Additionally, I’m sure no professor would have tolerated Tom Riddle’s malice if he started torturing his classmates to gain followers at his age. Movie!Riddle came across as threatening Slughorn, which didn’t bode well.

Slughorn may or may not be a coward but to give in with the real answers to the most gruesome and absolutely darkest magic in history after being threatened by your 16-year-old student does not make much sense.

03. Dumbledore’s collection of memories

This probably stems from bias but even as a fan of the book, I would have rather had everything about Quidditch taken out and allow Harry to divulge in more Dumbledore’s memories.

This is due to the fact that
a) All Quidditch scenes actually slow down the pacing of the movie overall
b) The actual Quidditch match itself didn’t reveal much except the fact that Weasley is the King (Which by the way didn’t quite make sense. They should have at least shown a Slytherin seeker catching the Snitch but still have Gryffindor winning on points BECAUSE of Ron’s great defense.) and Lavender and Won-Won started snogging after.

Movie!Dumbledore actually left EVERYTHING to chance, with one of his own memory and another bad one. If Slughorn’s memory turned out differently, everything would have to start from scratch again. This was really different from Book!Dumbledore, who on his own, did everything he could to research about Tom’s past and finally came to the conclusion that Horcruxes were probably the missing key. All he needed was just a mere confirmation.

Moreover, it was from all the other memories that we know how and why Voldemort turned out the way that he did. Voldemort as I mentioned earlier is far from a one-dimension pure evil. He was a sad soul who grew up in an orphanage and used what he had (his inborn magical abilities) to torture other kids for other things he wanted because of his own lack of prized possessions (which explains the items used as Horcruxes) and quite possibly even for more attention and care. He knew his was different and hated everything that connects him to the ordinary (which explains why he changed his name and also the significance of Harry calling him by Tom through Deathly Hallows) Later, he even finds out that the cause of his sad childhood happens to be his own father. There are probably too many memories to really depict Voldemort’s past which has affected his present character but even if only the Gaunt House scene was included, it would have been a more telling movie.

It’s also through those left-out memories that Harry figures out Voldemort’s obsession with collecting prized possessions, the almost-exact clues to the remaining Horcruxes. (Although this last point is debatable as the moviemakers should have sufficient time to tie it up in the last two movies).

04. No mention of the continuation of the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore’s Army

Again, this is probably too much but now that Voldemort is back and stronger than before, doesn’t it come across as weird that there is no mention anywhere of not just the DA but also the Order? Even a brief mention of Harry inheriting Grimmauld Place or Kreacher (a key to one of the Horcruxes) would have helped instead of some of the Ron/Lavender scenes.

I also missed Kingsley Shackelbolt dearly. He was a delight in OOTP. And did anyone else feel that Tonks reminded them of Alice Cullen? LOL. xD

05. Too much pairing scenes

Like I said, I didn’t like the pairing scenes from the book and therefore, the movie would not have been able to change my mind. I probably shouldn’t/couldn’t complain much since I always felt that Harry/Ginny was too abrupt in the book and it’s nice that they took their time in developing their relationship in the movie. However, as wonderful as Cormac McClaggen was casted and portrayed, I felt that the development between Ron/Hermione was probably took a tad too long and could have been condensed, especially the Ron/Lavender scenes to give way to the other vital scenes I’ve mentioned above. At least Draco and Pansy were not all over one other, thank god for that.

06. Two lines from the book which I would have wanted to watch on-screen.

Harry (to Snape): You don't need to call me sir, professor
I was pretty bumped that we did not get to watch any of Snape's classes as a Defence Against Dark Arts teacher.

Dumbledore: I am not worried, Harry, I am with you.


That was long! Now that I’m through with my main problem with the movie, I can now move on to the things I actually enjoyed.

01. The cinematography, wardrobe and acting

OOTP had darker primary colours as its pallete, but they were rather brilliant/vividy done, especially during the Department of Mysteries scenes. So, for me, HBP was not much different, just that the colours were much washed out and pale in comparison. Good nevertheless.

Harry is back being the "chosen" one. Both Ron and Hermione are sometimes still spotted in vibrant striped clothings while Harry is in darker colours and reverts back to the sweater he used most during Movie!Prisoner of Azkaban. In a way, it felt like Harry was returning back to the state before he met Sirius. I've not met anyone who have any complaints with Tom Felton's wardrobe as Draco Malfoy but aren't the Malfoys suppose hate to everything muggle-related? Then again, it is Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy we are talking about and it's rather refreshing to see him in something else compared to the usual school robes. Plus, he looked great in them, so why bother?! xD

And since we are on the topic of Tom Felton, let's just continue on with it. I thought he did a splendid job with his character. Loved the scene where Katie Bell spotted him and he started feeling all nervous. He barely had any lines from that part to the part Harry confronted him in the toilet(this does sound a little wrong) but his acting was spot-on.

Michael Gambon improved remarkably with his version of Dumbledore I still didn't get why Dumbledore is now without glasses, did his metrosexual self kicked in? only to see it being killed and as always the rest of the cast were as amazing as usual, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith and Robbie Coltrane just to name a few. There were also marked improvement on the trio's (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint) acting and the other new teen characters were also brilliantly casted.

Jim Broadbent did Horace Slughorn justice and perhaps even more. The only thing that bugged me was how familiar his faced looked because I've seen him in quite a number of his previous works. LOL.

02. Changes in the movie I enjoyed

a) I didn’t mind the Burrow attack scene because it was the first real sense of danger we get from the movie. Yes, it was redundant and the bridge attack scene at the start was spectacular but it lacked any emotional connection to our main characters. Watching the Burrow burn to flames was heart-wrenching.

b) Every scene with Luna. I missed her dearly in the book and so it’s nice to still see her around. Plus, Harry/Luna's friendship really stood out in the movie too though I felt pretty bad after chuckling when Harry said he was going to invite someone cool and Luna came along. She is cool. xD

I find it really weird though that the Patil twins and Cho Chang practically disappeared into thin air. EDIT TO ADD: Apparently, some spotted Cho cheering on the Gryffindors during the Qudditch match? LOL. I didn't notice. And Alfie Enoch has grown so much over the years. I honestly thought that they casted someone new as Dean Thomas until I watched a clip from behind the scenes. *shocked*

c) When Dumbledore said something along the lines of “every dark magic leaves traces of evil” and Harry did the Voldemort neck-movement-thingy from OOTP showing that Harry himself is a Horcrux as well. That one was good.

d) Dumbledore’s wand. Being that now we know he has been using an Elder wand all this while, I think it’s quite appropriate that they changed the wand a bit. It’s not in the book but it’s pretty interesting.

e) The rather random mentions about Lily by Slughorn here and then. Cliche but good enough for me.

03. Book-to-movie scenes I enjoyed

a) I was really glad they kept the other trio’s confrontation this scene (Spinner’s End) from the book since it’s my favourite chapter of the book. The disappointing thing though is that the impact of the scene from the book never quite translated into the movie despite the brilliant acting. That and probably the fact that I was still trying to come to terms with Narcissa Malfoy, who was quite different from how I imagined her to be from the books.. Still, I loved the confrontation.

b) Scenes with the original trio, especially during Hermione’s crying scene. Emma Watson did a fantastic job with Hermione's heartbreak and it was a really nice touch to see Harry comforting Hermione (because Harry was more tactless in the book) in the movie. Once again, I really love the chemistry of the trio.

Hermione: "How does it feel?"
Harry: "What?"
Hermione: "How does it when when you see Ginny with Dean?"
(Ron/Lavender entrance, Hermione weeps harder)
Harry: "Just like this."


c) Sectumsempra! xD It’s nice to see a take two between Draco vs Harry since the Dueling Club scene in Chamber of Secrets. I actually re-watched the first two movies the night before I watched Half Blood Prince and it’s really nice to watch the progress that both the actors and the characters have made since.

04. The humour. Here is a small compilation of some of the funny scenes in the movie.
Harry Potter on Felix Felicis (where the general consent by the main cast is that that side of Harry is much closer to how Daniel Radcliffe is in real life) xD *pincers*

Slughorn: HARRY!!
Harry: ...SIR!!
---
Slughorn: Had a family?
Harry (answering for Hagrid): Oh yes...

Ron Weasley on Amortentia
Ron: I'm in love with her
Harry: Do you even know her?
Ron: No, can you introduce me?

Before Slughorn’s party
Hermione: She only likes you because she thinks you are the chosen one.
Harry: But I am the chosen one.

Ron Weasley on discarding the Half Blood Prince’s Potions book
Ron: Did you and Ginny do it yet?

McGonagall after asking Harry to attend Slughorn’s Potions class
McGonagall: Take Weasley with you, he looks far too happy over there.

Ron Weasley’s scenes during Gryffindor Keeper’s tryouts


Overall, I would have probably enjoyed the movie better if I wasn't reading too much into it as a fan of the book. In truth, it was probably the right blend for those who did not read the books since they kept the most essential dark moments and interchanged them with lighter ones. Now that I've learned my lesson, I probably wouldn't touch Deathly Hallows until both the movies are released, just so I wouldn't get worked up over the details they missed.

I don't really like the movie's plot but I will definitely re-watch the movie purely based on the brilliant acting (it was pretty enlightening to watch from Draco's POV, his attempts in repairing the Vanishing Cabinet) and cinematography. ^^

P.S: I know there are a few people who were not as satisfied with the ending of the movie but I actually liked it. It's said that Dumbledore's funeral will be in the opening for Deathly Hallows 1 so that's that. Also, having the Death Eaters coming in through the Vanishing Cabinet just to create some havoc in Hogwarts was sufficient enough for me. I think at core, Voldemort wanted the Death Eaters there not to destroy Hogwarts or create a fight (bear in mind, he loves that place and that one of his Horcruxes is still in Hogwarts) but rather to have a trusted set of witnesses to Dumbledore's death as one, he will actually have eye-witnesses to prove that he was the master behind the murder of the "greatest" wizard one earth and two, deep down I think he might even have been scared that Dumbledore made a Horcrux to survive because every villian's biggest fear is their own self and if he was in Dumbledore's position, he would have made at least one. Not that Dumbledore would have ever thought of it. So there, my thoughts on that issue.
 
 
 
ladylavinialadylavinia on July 17th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
All Quidditch scenes actually slow down the pacing of the movie overall


This has been a problem for me in all of the movies . . . aside from the one featured in PRISONER OF AZKABAN.
Valerie: YooChunrubus_phoenic on July 17th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
I felt that it went well with the first three movies but in this one, it just stood out like a sore thumb.
Debnaoboo on July 17th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
I am not worried, Harry, I am with you.

I forgot about that line! Why did they leave it out?1 D: It's one of my favorites too!

Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one who was disappointed. My problems with it are the same yours. And tom Felton did do great! I haven't liked him much in the past movies because I felt like he over-acted. ._.
Valerie: Flowersrubus_phoenic on July 19th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
Yea, it would have shown just how much trust Dumbledore had in Harry.

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who was disappointed with the movie. xD

I guess Tom Felton didn't have sufficient lines to begin with in the previous movies. Regardless, I have always liked how he acted as Draco Malfoy.
x_ondeafears_x on July 17th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
Hi, I saw your review from the harry_potter community, and I just was wondering if you had seen this previous post about one of the issues you had from the movie?

http://community.livejournal.com/harry_potter/4513884.html

It's in regards to the fact that Harry is not paralyzed during the final battle when Dumbledore is killed.

It's just a different POV, but I actually quite like it...

Otherwise, I agree with much of your review!! Especially the part about Malfoy. He had a fairly small role in the majority of the movie until the end, but his presence was definitely strong and well done.
Valerie: Minister!Siwonrubus_phoenic on July 19th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
I just read the article and it does seem to make some sense but poor Harry will not be blaming himself for both Sirius and DD's death. But I guess in a way, that would make for more excitement in both the later movies and have Harry feel more remorseful towards Snape when he finally discovers the truth.
iceman77_7 on July 17th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
I agree with most of your points. Some other disappointments I had were no Battle of Hogwarts in the end and taking out Dumbledore's funeral. I thought the lighted wand tribute at the end was a bit tacky as well.
Valerie: Soo Youngrubus_phoenic on July 19th, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC)
Hey! How have you been? ^^

I actually liked the lighted wand tribute, almost similar to a candle one but more magical. xD

I also think they had a good reason to remove the Battle of Hogwarts (since they will be doing a bigger one in movie Deathly Hallows Part 2) as to avoid being repetitive. And Dumbledore's Funeral is apparently going to be the introductory scene for Deathly Hallows Part 1, so I'll be waiting for it. :D
Olesiadongbang_sarang on July 17th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
Tiffany icon in HP fandom o__o
k-pop is taking over the world
XD
Valerie: Geng is HeeChul?rubus_phoenic on July 19th, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC)
LOL. Well, can't be helped, can it? My icons are almost entirely dedicated to K-Pop.
Stan Ford forever!romine on July 18th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)
Hey, followed the link to your review from the HP community. :)

I so agree about that Dumbledore line, it should have been included. It was the only line I actually kept waiting for, I was majorly disappointed when it didn't come. Would have given the Harry/Dumbledore dynamic more depth, too.
Valerie: Tiffanyrubus_phoenic on July 19th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
It's a great line in the book. I wondered why they decided to do away with it. Maybe they thought it will make Dumbledore look less vulnerable? I have no idea why it would be a bad idea to portray DD that way. Even during the scene where he was drinking the potion, it was less painful to watch in on screen as compared to reading through the pages of the book.
idao: [HP] Harry & Ginnyidao on July 19th, 2009 02:25 am (UTC)
I came over here through the Harry Potter community, and I just have to say AMEN! Seriously, I couldn't agree more with this post.
(I am slightly annoyed by the ending though, I wanted the DA vs Death Eaters fight damnit. But it does sort of make sense what you said about Voldemort not wanting Hogwarts to be destroyed)

I was going to quote the parts I agreed with the most, but that would pretty much be the whole thing so I'll just pick out a few things.

02.Yes, young Tom Riddle in the orphanage was pretty well portrayed. It’s the 16-year-old version of him that I felt…lacking?
Exactly, I liked the 11 year old Riddle a lot, he just seemed... right in a way. You could really see how he was almost bragging about what he could do and how he could make people hurt. But the 16 year old Riddle was supposed to have changed a bit, he was supposed to have understood that he could get further by being a bit more charming. The way he got the info about Horcruxes out of Slughorn was just weird. Slughorn seemed scared, and I can't see why he would divulge this very dangerous information to this creepy, threatening student. And on a shallow note, in the book he was several times described as very handsome, which added to the charming effect. I did think the actor fitted when I first found out who was playing him, but I just think he seemed wrong in the movie.

03. Dumbledore’s collection of memories
I didn't mind the quiddich, I actually sort of liked in this movie. But I would have LOVED the Gaunts! I missed them so much in this movie, I really wanted them to be in it.

About the Horcruxes, why was there no mention of how the horcruxes are probably things that Riddle cared about? They even changed the dialog from the book where Harry asks if they can be anything and Dumbledore answers that they are most likely things Riddle valued, instead Dumbledore says they can be anything. WHY? Are they just supposed to guess the objects in the next movies? Also, why did the ring react? Isn't it supposed to be destroyed?

Wow, that was longer than I intended this reply to be, but I just came back from seeing it so I have a lot of thought about it at the moment :P Sorry.
Valerie: Flowersrubus_phoenic on July 19th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed the review and I love long replies. xD

Slughorn seemed scared, and I can't see why he would divulge this very dangerous information to this creepy, threatening student
Exactly, shouldn't there already be a huge red flag?

As for the actor, I've no idea. Maybe Yates was the one who suggested him to take a creepier/more menacing approach? The lines given to him seemed more threatening than charming either ways.

Also, why did the ring react? Isn't it supposed to be destroyed?
Good point there. Never really thought of that. But I guess even though the soul of Voldemort in it has been destroyed, it still leaves an evil presence? Who knows...

As for the Horcruxes, they definitely left it wide open. It will be interesting to see how the trio uncover the truth behind them. Maybe there will be some twists here and there? At least, Mundungus Fletcher has been casted. I just hope they wouldn't leave it open and have the trio discover the Horcruxes by sheer luck.
dreamcatcher: Se7en - Bookwormsplited on July 19th, 2009 08:26 am (UTC)
Thanks for the review!
I am sorry if me asking for the review made you reading too much into the movie. =/ I am not a HP purist (blame my poor memory), can't remember much of the book. I do think that the Ron/Lavender scene was one too many. Felt that this movie was a blend of humour, darkness and sadness. I totally agree with you on many points especially the part where Movie!Dumbledore left everything to chance. Ditto to that! Thanks again (:
Valerie: Geng is HeeChul?rubus_phoenic on July 19th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
No worries, I love writing reviews and it's been long since I've written one. Did you cry watching any parts of the movie?
dreamcatcher: Osen - Beautifulsplited on July 26th, 2009 08:35 am (UTC)
I don't think I did but got slightly teary eyed at the wand part. I know that part didn't make you cry eh?
Valerie: Soo Youngrubus_phoenic on July 26th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
I really can't recall which parts I actually teared but I think they should be scenes involving Hermione. LOL. Dumbledore's death was just.... xD
ext_200427 on July 22nd, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
wow
my gosh beetheng... this is seriously a long review... me on the other hand, kinda enjoyed quidditch for the first time, i mean...ermmm... it felt more like quidditch ^^ other than those you'll find in the previous HP movies... but seriously, the only thing which i gave credit to in the whole movie, is still quidditch... =.= if you ask me, i'll say this movie is not worth watching for the second time...
ext_103954 on August 6th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
HAHA!
I went to watch HP6 with my bf, and we were having this live commentary/debate about most of the things you mentioned DURING the movie. I damn tak boleh tahan how they tried to make it funny/random by making ALL of them seem sooo despo/hormone-charged! Pfft. HAHA

Also, I was quite relieved when Dumbledore died, always thought this guy gave Dumbledore a baaaaaaaad/crazyyyy representation. IT'S ECCENTRIC PEOPLE, NOT CRAZYYY. pfffft.

But I did enjoy the "I'm the chosen one" part! HAHA
Valerie: DBSK - Keep the Faithrubus_phoenic on August 9th, 2009 03:07 am (UTC)
Re: HAHA!
Basically, the despo/hormone-charged parts were the parts I would rank last of the Half Blood Prince. So, yea, I didn't like them in the movie either.

I've grew quite fond of Michael Gambon as Dumbledore though. I think Richard Harris would have been a little weak to portray the character, even if he's still alive. They should have casted Ian McKellen. Sigh~