Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I saw Harry Potter 6 last night, and I really enjoyed it. 3.5 stars from me. I mean, it was still a Harry Potter movie, meaning that it wasn’t exactly High Cinema, but I was really impressed that it felt more like a movie to me than a Harry Potter movie. Does that make sense? I mean, the movie was good enough to stand on its own feet instead of having to rely on people having read the book or seen the others. The Quidditch scene, for example, was about character first and Quidditch third or fourth, and because of that, I thought it was one of the coolest depictions of Quidditch I’ve seen. (Imagine the difference between a basketball scene that’s just about how cool it is to play basketball. Now contrast that with Hoosiers, and hopefully you see what I mean.) Add to this the fact that the movie brought in quite a bit of humor to balance out the dread, and you have one very happy Me.

But what about you? Will you like it? I suppose that depends. I haven’t read the book since it came out, so I didn’t have much to compare it to–just my fuzzy memories. If you’re the sort of person who has reread the series multiple times–perhaps in anticipation of seeing this film in the theater–then you might be disappointed. It’s not the book, folks, and I don’t mean that in a good or bad way. (If you haven’t read my blog long enough, I’ll just tell you now–I really dislike it when people say something along the lines of “the book was better than the movie.” Would you say that the apple was better than the orange because the orange didn’t taste enough like an apple? Grumble.) I strongly discourage people from going into a Harry Potter movie with an expectation of 100% fidelity. Even 75% fidelity. The books are way too massive to be able to portray everything or even most everything. The director’s job is to capture what he or she felt the book was “about”, then transfer that to the screen. I felt like that happened in this movie. Yes, they made changes. But as far as Harry Potter films go, this was one of the best for me. The characters came across as characters, the threats were real, the acting was very well done, and the movie fit together well. Actually, my only quibbles with it were when the book intruded too much on the movie. (SPOILER! For example, when Snape says “I am the Half Blood Prince”–I was sort of like “Who cares?” That just wasn’t that big of a part of the story that the film was telling, but I felt like they felt like they had to keep it in, mainly because that’s what the book was titled. And the last little bit to the film felt like it was trying too hard to tie up a few last loose ends. But these are nitpicks–nothing major. END SPOILER!)

At any rate, there’s a reason this film’s getting such good reviews. FYI, here’s a breakdown of the Rotten Tomato (and IMDB) ratings for each film.

Sorceror’s Stone 78% (7.2 out of 114,000 votes)
Chamber of Secrets 82% (7.2 out of 104,000 votes)
Prisoner of Azkaban 89% (7.6 out of 94,000 votes)
Goblet of Fire 88% (7.7 out of 92,000 votes)
Order of the Phoenix 77% (7.4 out of 87,000 votes)
Half Blood Prince 85%(8.2 out of 12,000 votes–still needs a lot of input to be a solid number)

If I were to rank the Potter films, this would be my breakdown, from best to worst:

1. Half Blood Prince/Prisoner of Azkaban (tie)
3. Goblet of Fire
4. Order of the Phoenix/Chamber of Secrets (tie)
6. Sorceror’s Stone

6 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince”

  1. I think HP6 has a lot of really great moments–particularly character moments–and I enjoyed it for those, but overall it feels narratively disjointed. Even having read the book, I found myself wondering what exactly this movie was about, what the story was. It felt to me more like a collection of (well-done, enjoyable) vignettes from the life of Harry Potter than like a a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Or even, for that matter, like a chapter of a continuing saga.

  2. I’ll be interested to see where you put #6. I’ve been talking to a surprising number of people who didn’t like it, and I can’t quite figure out why not.

  3. I’ve talked with some others who felt the same way. I didn’t see those problems in the film at all–with the exception of the pieces that were forced in apparently to stay “true” to the book. Although I’ll grant you that the film was much more a slice of life movie than any of the others. Maybe that’s why I liked it–for depicting how it would be to live a life like that. But still, the movie had a definite plot arc–it’s just that it centered around Draco Malfoy instead of Harry.

    Will and I saw it, and we didn’t DISlike it per se, but we didn’t love it. My personal beefs:
    1) The length of time spent on the romance fluff at the expense of more plot-furthering action. I know that it created a lot of good character/funny moments in the movie, but for a 2.5 hour movie there was too much of it. Seemed like it could have been tightened.
    2)It’s been a long time since I’ve read the book, but I’m pretty sure there was a lot more with Snape involved (since he FINALLY gets to teach Defense against the Dark Arts and seeing as how he’s mentioned in the title of the book/movie).
    3) Some nonsensical plot holes. Harry practically kills Draco, and nobody bats an eye?!?!?! What the heck?? And Dumbledore is gone for a while, Harry’s asking what happened to him, and all of a sudden D’s back and in mid-conversation with H and it’s like he was never gone. It looks like the bad guys obliterate Hagrid’s cabin at the end…but Harry says nothing about it, and nothing is mentioned about whether Hagrid was inside…? Guess I’ll have to open the book back up to brush up on some plot points, but again – seems the movie could have trimmed some of the lovey-dovey for some of the plot in these places.
    I agree that it was well filmed and well acted, but just couldn’t love it, even though I wanted to.

    Maybe it helped that I saw it with a theater full of high schoolers in Harry Potter outfits. Lots of positive energy in the room. 🙂
    Yeah, the lovey dovey was a bit much at times, but that seemed to be what the movie was trying to play up. It makes me wonder if there’s not a 3.5 hour version waiting to be released. The book was so big, trying to cram even a portion in there would be difficult.

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