It has been less than 36 hours since the newest installment from the billion dollar Harry Potter franchise hit theaters and it is already breaking records. It is even being reported that by the end of the month, it will surpass Bond as the number one movie franchise. It’s no doubt that these movies are brilliantly made…but is the hype for “Half-Blood Prince” over the top?
The first five Harry Potter films have had the feeling that there is something bigger to come and that a final battle is somewhere in the near future, waiting to happen. “Prince” isn’t any different. Lord Voldemort is back and his henchmen of Death Eaters are acting as terrorists, attacking both Wizards and Muggles alike. Starting the film with the destruction of the Millennium Bridge sets a sudden mood over the audience and makes it clear that the Wizarding World is at war. Harry returns to the school to find that headmaster Albus Dumbledore has a new task for him. A task that, if accomplished, will bring Voldemort one-step closer to his downfall. Traveling through a series of memories, Harry and Dumbledore step into the past to get a better glimpse at the boy Voldemort, also known as Tom Riddle.
The subplot of the movie lies in a tattered old potions book that Harry inherits. The book, once property to the “Half-Blood Prince,” assists Harry with his class while offering him some education in the dark arts. Or at least…that’s what one is supposed to understand. Unfortunately, the film does not explore the significance of the potions book like the novel does. But you’d think they would, seeing as it is the title of the movie itself.
But bubbling even more than the potion Hermione fails to conjure up are the rapid hormones. Harry suddenly finds himself interested in Ginny Weasley, who has a boyfriend. Hermione and Ron grow closer but the latter gets a girlfriend/stalker once he becomes the star of the Quidditch team, causing various amounts of crying and jealousy on Hermione’s part. Meanwhile, Draco’s personal mission from the Dark Lord keeps him out of the romance loop and focused on what he must do: kill a certain someone (no, surprisingly it’s not Harry).
This Potter film stands as an outcast from the rest. While the previous five have all been action packed with a hint of romance on comedy, this one falls directly under the Romantic Comedy category. And when the second hour strolls along, you’re left wondering what the point of the movie really is. Is it to figure out who the Half-Blood Prince is? Or is it to find the ways to destroy the Dark Lord? Rowling’s novel reads both, but unfortunately, the film doesn’t.
The story feels rushed and choppy and doesn’t allow for the audience to pause for a second to think before presenting them with a new dilemma, or in most cases, more “snogging.” And by the time the plot returns, you will have forgotten about the “half-blood prince,” only to be reminded again in a very anti-climatic scene.
This is also the first Potter film where there is less thinking required. You forget that there is a war and are left to focus more on why Ginny is taller than Harry in the awkward kissing scene they share.
The climax of the film is amazing and is clearly the film’s shining moment. The acting is well done and the musical score sets the right tone. But when the moment the audience has been waiting for comes, they are once again left disappointed to find that screenwriter Steve Kloves has omitted the battle scene that takes place at Hogwarts. Instead, a rather pathetic chase down happens, a couple of very anti-climatic lines are said, and…all is done.
Though the film does hold true to what director David Yates calls it: a Romantic Comedy, avid readers of the books will leave feeling a bit empty. Having read the books a few times each myself, I know Half-Blood Prince is possibly the darkest of them. Unfortunately, the major plot points were either rushed or entirely removed to pay more respect to the hormones of the characters. I honestly wonder how Kloves will be able to tie this into the next installment with so much missing! Many scenes are often contrived, leaving you feeling underwhelmed.
On the brighter side, the acting of the cast has improved and the new additions have fit in very nicely. This is a thoroughly enjoyable film but without much intellect necessary. Personally, I absolutely love the books and understand that they are not and cannot be the movies. Nevertheless, Half-Blood Prince fell short of my grand expectations.
By: Kenni Nwajagu
Contributing Editor for Gossip On This
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