Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - The Experience & Review

I saw it on Wednesday evening with my wife, 10 year-old daughter, 14 year-old son and his two friends. We bought our tickets this past Sunday and arrived an hour before show time, just to make sure we had good seats. Frankly, the only bad seats in a stadium seating theater are those few whiplash rows way down below the screen. It was playing in a few theaters at a time and the lines were huge.

The sister of my son's friend was at the midnight show eight hours earlier. Apparently, the movie was shown on fifteen of the sixteen theaters, and the lines wrapped around this gigantic building twice by 10pm.

So, to all those concerned that the Harry Potter franchise might be in doubt what with the written series at its completion.... It's just fine, thank you very much.

One note - there was a trailer for the upcoming Twilight film, during which there was much chatter followed by giggling, girlish applause at the end. *sigh*

On to the 2 1/2 hour movie (yes, it's long, and... ***SPOILER ALERT***)
Favorite bits:
Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn. His facial expressions were absolutely priceless.

Alan Rickman was terrific as usual as Snape. But, here he really leaves the moviegoer unsure of his intentions in the penultimate scene. And does he ever enunciate e-v-e-r-y lassssst syll-a-ble. *grins*

Ruper Grint as Ron was really funny, especially when under the influence of a certain love potion.

The teenagers-in-love theme was sweet. They only stayed semi-faithful to the book, but still handled it well. Hermione crying over Ron while asking Harry how he feels when he sees Ginny with Dean was quite touching and well acted. I did prefer how Ginny and Harry hooked up in the book, but the movie version worked nearly as well. I definitely saw chemistry there.

Other delights: Jessie Cave as Lavender Brown. Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Borgin and Burkes. Hermione just a little tipsy when returning from Hogsmeade.

Creepy bits: A cursed Katie Bell. Fenrir Greyback. Tom Riddle, both of them.

Wishes not granted:
The climax. Ah - we can't have everything. They cut some of my favorite parts. In the book, prior heading off with Dumbledore, Harry gives Hermione & Ron the Felix Felicis, asking them to share with Ginnie. This turns out to be important later for the old members of the DA. Speaking of this, the death eaters don't simply leave the castle. They wind up fighting the Order of the Phoenix while still at Hogwarts. Little felix keeps the DA safe from harm, but not so Bill Weasley, who suffers a bite at the hands of werewolf Fenrir Greyback.

As for Bill, we don't get one of my favorite scenes - the one in the hospital wing with Fleur Delacour and Molly Weasley, where Fleur says, "I am beautiful enough for both of us, I think." This scene also leads to the Tonks & Lupin love affair. They do address this last part earlier in the movie, during a scene that doesn't actually take place in the book.

And there is no funeral. I would have liked the funeral scene, with all those folks from the books coming by, and with Grawp showing up dressed nicely. They accounted for Fawkes the Phoenix, but not with the phoenix song at the funeral. Without the funeral, also, we don't see Dumbledore's final resting place, which is extremely relevant in the final book - wonder how they'll manage that?

And while the movie does have Hermione & Ron telling Harry he's not looking for Horcruxes by himself, it misses the bittersweet end of the book, where Harry tells Ginny he can't see her anymore because of the certain dangers ahead. I don't think the movie took their relationship as deep as the book did. There is some emotional investment in the HBP book that carries over into the Deathly Hallows. It will be interesting to see how they handle the next two movies.

Overall: Loved it. Hopefully, I'll convince the wife to go see it in IMAX later this month.

Reason to be excited:
Two more movies! And Bill Nighy as Rufus Scrimgeour! Ever since Love Actually, I have been a big fan.


Anonymous said...

I heard that they'll be adding the funeral scene at the beginning of the next movie...I'm going to see it tomorrow night...here's hoping I'm not totally disappointed!! *crosses fingers*

I decided that I'm going to approach the movies as the following:

"Films that are loosely based on and have vague similarities to a certain series of books."


Jay said...

You won't be disappointed, Mireyah. It's really, really good. All the bits that I miss - I didn't miss them during or immediately after the movie - well maybe except for the funeral, but it was 2.5 hours at that point and I was ready to go home. :-)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

ah, Jay! I'm so excited to see it! Can't wait!

I could just hear Snape talking when I read your blog. LOL.

yes, it's too bad they cut out that scene w/ Fleur and Molly. That scene had me in tears.

I'm super excited!