Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince: A Movie Commentary…


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Date: July 28, 2009

First, let me say that I outright loved this movie, was engrossed from the moment it began until the end credits…and I will likely go see this in the theater again (which is very rare, for me).

Second, I have not read any of the Harry Potter books, so I am not biased by that standpoint…I merely went into the theater (from The Prisoner of Azkaban, onward), anticipating a good time, watching a fun story unfold…and I’ve never really been disappointed…In fact, the movies have made me contemplate reading the books.

Third, The Half Blood Prince, is a true flip flop in form for this series, in the sense that it introduces a lot to us, in a short period of time, while leaving a lot of unanswered questions. This movie, just did not flesh out certain, core things, nor give to everything a sense of proper gravity…In fact, it did this to such a degree, that the story progression feels jumbled…and doesn’t always feel right. In previous movies, you knew where the characters were going, and why, because it was well explained…Not so much so, in this movie, however.

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[If you read from this point onward, then it is your own fault, for stumbling across unwanted spoilers!]

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The movie, itself, is jam packed with action, interesting plot and comedy, which leave you no chance to get bored…though, you probably will feel lost, at some moments…and leave the theater thinking, “Yeah, that felt like a great movie, but…that was it?”…

The pace of this movie is so fast, that it does not feel like two and a half hours have passed, by the time the end credits roll…and this throws you off, because you are anticipating various things introduced into the story, to really be fleshed out…yet, they are not…

…and if you are like me, it might not be until you are well gone from the theater, that it dawns on you, just how sloppy the story telling was in this movie.

…and I feel like, things which are more trivial to the plot line, got way to much attention, in this movie, and burned up a lot of screen time…when it could have been better spent, on other things.

“Love” is a huge theme, in this movie…and a source for much comic…Even though it is fun to watch, and I was not displeased with it…I still would have chosen, to have at least a couple of other things, better presented in this movie, than to watch the silly, love drama unfold.

I cant help but presume, that certain things suffered, because the movie focused so much on that.

For one thing…

…”The Half Blood Prince”…

…It is the name of the movie…

…It is the name of the book, the movie was based on…

…and it is supposed to be some core element, to push the story forward…

…Yet, I am hard pressed to define, just “what” the relevance of “The Half Blood Prince”, even is…or why it matters.

[This next sentence, is factually wrong, and I will correct it later in this post.]

Harry goes to a forbidden section of Hogwarts library, and finds a book…

[The rest is accurate, or at least truthful opinion.]

We later learn, over a few quick and nonchalant scenes, that Harry has become “obsessed” with the book…and we get a quick glance inside it’s pages, showing us that it has instructions for something…presumably potions and/or spells…

Nowhere is it even suggested, that Harry is learning spells out of it…and nothing about these scenes, really impresses upon you, that this is a heavy part of the story…The acting surrounding it, just does not make you sense such.

Then, we find Harry giving up the book, so it can be hidden somewhere…where he’ll never find it…

At the end of the movie, I was left kind of dumbfounded, that Harry tried to use new spells against Snape…which Snape quickly repelled, and floored Harry with…

Snape then says, “You would dare use my own spells against me?…I am, the half blood prince!”…

The whole revelation, just feels like it comes out of nowhere…and you’re not even sure why you were supposed to care.

This movie was primarily about fleshing out Voldemort (telling his back story)…and it is very interesting…but, with this movie being titled, “The Half Blood Prince”, you really feel that it should have fleshed out Professor Snape, a lot more also.

Reviews from book readers, makes it plainly clear…that a lot of the books content was left out of the movie…and there were many thing omitted, that would have been good to include.

Dumbledore…

…After all these movies, where he really has been a more distant character, we finally get treated to some really interesting, and impressive, scenes involving his character. For once, we get to see him do something major, with his magical powers, in probably one of the most impressive scenes, in the entire series…but, a brief few scenes later, he is dead.

Very somber, yet…I have to agree with others…It did not feel like the movie, gave this event the grandeur that it should have gotten.

This is one point in the movie, where it seems the ball was dropped.

The relevance of where Harry and Dumbledore were going, or the mission they embarked upon, leading up to Dumbledore’s death, is not really even explained, at all.

Now, if they told me, that elements of “The Half Blood Prince”, are going to be better fleshed out, by further introducing them into the next two, “Deathly Hollows” movies…then, I suppose I can better accept all of this…but, it’s very clear…Like “Order of the Phoenix”, this movie does not stand on it’s own, as a coherent story.

Funny thing is…It is still a great movie, and I was just happy to be there, watching it…While it was unfolding, I noticed these things…but, they did not bother me.

Maybe it is because of the inherent, interconnection of all the movies to each other, which leaves me understanding…that’s just the way these movies flow, and “The Half Blood Prince”, really does deserve it’s accolades as a great movie…and perhaps, the best of the series, so far.

A Second Viewing…

I saw this movie again, as I intended to, a week after I first viewed it…

It was playing on the huge screen, at my local theater, so I figured I’d better see it “now”, while I still can get to see it on the huge screen.

I originally chose to see it at an alternative theater, because it was opening weekend…and I did not want to have to get there hours early, just to get a decent seat…nor to be packed in a huge room with other people, like a can of sardines…nor to tolerate all the inconsiderate idiots, who wont shut up, or stop receiving/sending text messages for the third/fourth time…So, I went somewhere, where more competition existed, the screens/presentation wasn’t so spectacular…and the crowd would be much more dispersed…It worked out well, and I loved the experience.

I still wanted to see it on a massive sized screen, and by this time, the rage was over…and again…perfect seating available…only a handful of other people in the theater…wonderful!

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie a second time over, though, my enjoyment was more rich in understanding of the plot…and not just, “Wow!…That effect was neat!”…Hence, I didn’t walk out of the theater, psyched by the adrenalin, thanks to all the action scenes…like I did, the first time.

I noticed some plot elements, that I got wrong…most glaringly, Harry did not get the book mentioned above, from a trip to the restricted section of the library [that was something else, related to the book]…but, instead he gets it, after loosing a bid to grab a nice, new textbook, out of a cabinet…instead, being left with an old, half fallen apart book, while Ron makes off with the nice book…However, Harry’s book proves invaluable, as it lets him exceed in his study of potions.

Scribed in the front pages is, “This book is the property of the Half Blood Prince”…

Again, there were a lot of things thrown at the audience in this movie…and one might not catch it all, through one viewing…especially if one is not familiar with the books, that this movie series is based upon.

Over all, I found the second viewing more satisfying…because, the things I did not catch in the first viewing, were more obvious to me this time.

I really do not have much else to say…other than, I very much enjoyed this installment in the series…and I am looking forward to the remaining installments.

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