Friday, July 8, 2011

Wily Wizards and Witches

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter
Released: July 15, 2009
Viewed in theaters: July 15, 2009

Oscar nominations:
Best Cinematography (lost to Avatar)

Since the last chapter in the Harry Potter film franchise will wrap up a week from Friday, I've decided to watch the last two movies so I'm caught up for the final one. First up is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth installment in the franchise.

Harry and his friends are sixteen and their hormones have caught up with them. Harry has a crush on Ginny, Ron's younger sister, but she's dating Dean Thomas. Lavendar Brown starts dating Ron (or "Won-Won" as she calls him) and Hermione is jealous. Cormac McLaggen is interested in knowing Hermione on a "first-name basis" and Ron is jealous. Not to mention love potions play a very large part in this role. Unfortunately, for the people who only watch the films and don't read the books (those crazy people!), it doesn't make any sense to them why Harry is suddenly so hung up over Ron's sister because there has been absolutely no build up of a budding romance between the two in the movies. In fact, the only time they ever interacted was way back in movie 2 when Harry saves her from the Chamber of Secrets. While it's true that their relationship didn't start until the sixth book, there was an arc to their relationship in the previous books, so unless you were really blind, you could see it coming. It wasn't as obvious as Ron and Hermione (their imminent relationship was as obvious as an anvil!), but there were clues. But in the context of the movies, it seems to come out of nowhere. It doesn't help either that Bonnie Wright, who plays Ginny, is not a very good actress. Pretty girl, terrible actress. What I can't stand about her acting is that she says all her lines in the exact same tone. No matter if she's trying to convey happiness, fear, sadness, sarcasm, whatever it is, she says it in the same tone. Ugh! So frustrating!

But being this is a Harry Potter film, there is an element of darkness. We learn more about Voldemort's upbringing and when he was a student at Hogwarts, back when he was Tom Riddle. The kid was creepy as young Tom Riddle, but the teenaged Tom Riddle really sent chills down my spine. Am I the only one who finds Tom Riddle creepier than Voldemort? (Yes, I know they're the same person...) Yes, Voldemort is creepy-looking and evil, but there's just something creepier about him when he's still a human (a TEENAGER) and is plotting all this sinister stuff and planning to murder all these people. I find Tom Riddle more fascinating than when he becomes Voldie.

Jim Broadbent plays Professor Slughorn, the newest Professor to teach at Hogwarts (and possible one of my favorites). Dumbledore recruits him because he know he has information that will help Harry hunt down Voldemort. We find that Slughorn, who was one of Tom's professors, told him about how Horcruxes work. Big no-no!

Harry takes Slughorn's Potion class and comes across an old Potions book where the previous owner had written down helpful hints on brewing potions. The back of the books says "Property of the Half-Blood Prince" and it isn't until the end of the film when we learn the true identity of the Half-Blood Prince. (Hint: it's not Tom Riddle).

Gee, do you think they could have given Ron a couple of lines at the end? I understand why he's not standing next to Harry and Hermione on the balcony so he can't hear what Hermione says to Harry about Ron being fine with Harry dating Ginny, but they (the writers) could have given him some dialogue! When I saw the movie in the theater, this young guy in front of me said really loudly, something to the effect of "God-awful ending!" I was snickering as I walked out of the theater and all the way to my car. I don't know if he was a Ron fan and was mad he didn't get any lines or just thought the ending was lame in general, but it certainly made me laugh!

One really trivial thing that always bugs me about the movies is how the bathrooms at Hogwarts look like any bathroom you'd find at a regular school. I will say the bathroom since the first movie has certainly become larger, but they still have the white porcelain sinks attached to the wall. Shouldn't they be floating or something? (If the library has floating books, the bathroom should have floating sinks!) Shouldn't there be House Elves with towels over their arms, ready to dry hands? Maybe they only give all that fancy stuff to the Prefects' bathrooms.

The movie ends with the death of a major character and I teared up at his funeral even though said character was 150 years old.

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