Me, the confirmed Potter-fan - and Weasley-fan, and Snape-fan ~ That Movie Blogger Fella

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Me, the confirmed Potter-fan - and Weasley-fan, and Snape-fan

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
My rating:

My review of the 6th Harry Potter film can be summed up in 4 words: I love these characters. It was a joy to watch Harry, Ron and Hermione again on the big screen; Harry is of course in almost every scene, being the main character, but it's when he is together with his two best friends that I found myself having the most fun. And while their actors may not be the most polished, they nevertheless make their characters immensely likable.

So much so that I wonder if I can no longer be objective with this movie.

The wizarding world is now well aware of Lord Voldemort's return, and that Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is the Chosen One destined to defeat him. But first, Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) enlists Harry's aid in getting close to new teacher Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), who has a dark secret involving Tom Riddle, the younger Voldemort who was once also a Hogwarts student. Meanwhile, teenage romance blossoms between Ron and Hermione, and Harry and Ron's sister Ginny. And two people will begin their first steps down dark paths - Draco Malfoy, and Professor Severus Snape.

In Order of the Phoenix, Harry was constantly beleaguered by the fact that nobody believed his account of Voldemort's return. Here, it's the exact opposite - the wizarding world is now well aware of the growing threat, yet ironically there is less of an ominous and menacing atmosphere than in the previous film.There's the opening scene of Death Eaters destroying a bridge in the Muggle world, but after that the main plot consists mostly of scenes of Dumbledore's and Harry's hushed conversations in his study.

In fact, that's the biggest problem with this movie - it's slow. There's little urgency or suspense, and the action scenes are few and far apart. And frankly, the main plot makes no sense. It revolves around Harry attempting to uncover Slughorn's memories of Tom Riddle, memories that Slughorn is unwilling to revisit for some reason. But once we learn what those memories are, we simply find more exposition - not, as you would have expected, the key to a means of defeating Voldemort. No, Dumbledore found that all by himself. Aiyoo, movie, what laa??

But then there's Harry, Ron and Hermione. And they are loads of fun. Their easy camaraderie and good-natured ribbing never fails to liven up the story, largely due to the terrific chemistry that all three actors share. The subplot of Ron's girlfriend Lavender Brown, and Hermione's subsequent heartbreak, earns both laughs and pathos. And although it weaves back and forth between the main plot and the romantic hijinks, the storyline never feels disjointed or episodic like previous instalments. Daniel Radcliffe is now a more confident actor than ever, and his performance under the effects of the luck potion is delightful. But for LOLworthy comic acting, he's outshone by Rupert Grint - there's a boy who I'm willing to bet will have a bright future as a comic actor once the movie series is completed. Emma Watson is the weakest of the three, but she handles her scenes competently.

As for the rest of the cast; Jim Broadbent is the most prominent newcomer to the world of Harry Potter, and does a nice balancing job between being comical and sympathetic. Draco Malfoy gets more character development here than he's ever had, and Tom Felton is impressively up to the task. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of Bonnie Wright, who plays Ginny Weasley. She's really quite wooden, and her romance with Harry is flat. But one of the most consistent and reliably enjoyable performances of the entire series is Alan Rickman as Severus Snape. Boy, can he sneer - he does delicious things with every one of his lines, and he's been doing it since the first movie. After staying in the background all this time, he finally takes on a pivotal role here, and I can't wait to see what he's really up to. (It's a Harry Potter movie - surely you ought to know by now that there's more to what you saw?)

So how can I possibly justify giving a lethargically-paced movie with a weak plot a 3-star rating? I'm a fan, that's how. Through 5 films in the series, there've been hints and promises of some serious awesome that's yet to come, and even if it didn't come in the 6th, I'm still willing to forgive this movie and wait patiently. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1 is scheduled for November 2010, and Pt. 2 for July 2011. That's two looooong years from now - but I can wait. And this movie still gives me faith that the wait will be worth it.

Update: Rating revised to reflect my new five-star rating scale.

NEXT REVIEW: Skrip 7707
Anticipation level: *cringe*


McGarmott said...

Eh, that's fair enough. If I had bothered to review it, I would have said that objectively I'd give it a 7 or 7.5 and subjectively more like a 5/10. It's not that I don't like the film, it's just that I consider it unmemorable and am strangely annoyed by conflicting views; by fans who again insist the film sucked compared to the book and by those who didn't read the book who insist the film should occupy one of the 10 Oscar best film nominee spot ...

TMBF said...

I still have to wonder about people who think the first 2 are the best. Chris Columbus should've been shooed off the property before he ever got his fingers on it.

wankongyew said...

Good observation that for some inexplicable reason, this film feels less tense and dangerous than the previous one. The scenes showing the wizarding world are okay but the students in the school just seem too isolated.

For all your love of the trio, it seems like only Potter has any significant role to play in this film, with the other two being relegated to only the teenage lovesick plotline.

TMBF said...

That was the case in Goblet of Fire as well. Didn't really mind.