Archive for July, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

astronomy tower

“Did you like it?” I asked my 11-year old son after we watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

“Yeah, it was okay,” he said.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I didn’t like some of the changes they made. I mean, I still like the movie.”

Yeah, it took me a while to decide whether I like it or not. Oh, no, don’t get me wrong. It’s always a treat to watch a Harry Potter novel come to life. But you see, I’ve just finished re-reading the book the day before we watched it. I actually read the entire book in only five days, quite a record for me. So the story was still very fresh in my mind. Although much of the movie stayed pretty close to the story, I noticed right away the differences, what wasn’t included and what was added that wasn’t there in the book. The new scenes, I didn’t care so much about them at first, but now that I’d have a bit of time to think about it, I think they give the viewers a sort of a different experience. So, yes, I like the movie.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is one of my favourite books in the HP Series. It is has a darker theme, just like the later instalments in the series, but it has some of the funniest moments of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and their friends. And that brought a balance of comedy and darkness, and I like that.

Spoilers Alert!

In the Half-Blood Prince, Harry and his friends are now 16 years old. Their hormones are raging. And they’re showing more of their rebelliousness towards Snape, especially, Harry and Ron, and I like the smart-ass answers they would throw at their most hated professor, which unfortunately didn’t make it to the movie. Also, their friendships are now developing into budding romance and you could tell who’s going to end up with whom in the end. Of course, the love potions make the story interesting and funny, too. 🙂

There were two match-ups that didn’t make to the movie though, that of Bill and Fleur, and Lupin and Tonks. The last two were seen together in the movie, but there was nothing much about them. I hope to see Bill and Fleur’s wedding in the final movie, not because I love the couple, but because there were a lot of important things that happened at that event. But where will the wedding take place now that the Burrows is gone?

“What’s your favourite part of the movie?” I asked my 11-year old son again.

“When Ron won the Quidditch. He saw that in the mirror of desire in the first movie,” he said.

“Oh, you mean the Mirror of Erised,” I said. I was surprised that he remembers that.

I have three favourite parts in the book and they were the ones I was looking forward to seeing in the movie.

First. Harry and Ginny’s first kiss. This is my most favourite part of the story. I’m sorry, maybe it’s because I’m a girl or it’s just the kind of thing that I like in stories the best. This is the part that I was looking forward to seeing the most. I really like the way it happened in the book. Harry wasn’t able to play in the Quidditch match against Ravenclaw because he was in detention with Snape. So he replaced himself with Ginny as Seeker. When he came back to the Gryffindor common room, he heard them celebrating for they have won. Ginny came running to him and she hugged him and he kissed her, there, in front of everybody. It was so spontaneous. And I like it. And then he sought Ron’s eyes and saw his best friend’s approval. I like that, too.

Sometimes I don’t mind when they make changes in the movie. But this is the one part which I wish they had not changed. The way it happened in the movie, it just seems that Ginny had it all planned. And I like it better to happen spontaneously. But that’s just me.

Second. The trip to the black lake and the cave. This is one of the parts that I vividly recall. I like the way it was interpreted in the movie. Although, the potion in the basin was supposed to be emerald liquid. It was a clear liquid in the movie. And even though I knew it was coming, I still jumped on my seat when the Inferius grabbed Harry’s arm. It was like watching a horror movie. Great special effects on the ring of fire.

Third. The scene at the Astronomy Tower. Harry was under Dumbledore’s orders to follow the professor’s instructions, not to question them and to just trust what he tells him to do. When they reached the tower, Dumbledore told Harry to fetch Snape. And then Draco showed up. In the book, Dumbledore Immobilised Harry while he was under the Invisibility Cloak. And that’s why when Snape came to do the deed that was tasked to Draco, Harry wasn’t able to save Dumbledore because he was powerless. Yes, in the movie, he was hiding and wasn’t immobilised, but it happened all so fast that he didn’t get a chance to save Dumbledore anyway. But I just thought, that with Dumbledore immobilising Harry, it would give the viewers something to think about. Because it was all part of the plan, wasn’t it?

Well, that was my initial reaction, until I read a blog that discussed this deviation from the book. Do fans like it better that Harry was powerless to save Dumbledore (book) or that he made the conscious choice to follow Dumbledore’s instructions (movie)? And then I thought about it. Snape was supposed to kill Dumbledore. Harry was to witness this and not be able to do anything about it. He now hates Snape more than he did before. Same thing as the book. In the movie, Harry didn’t feel guilty that he wasn’t able to save Dumbledore, he shouldn’t anyway, since he didn’t know Snape would do it and as I said, it happened all so fast. So the change didn’t really bother me that much. It just gave me a different experience of the scene.

The movie was two and a half hours long. As much as I’ve always enjoyed watching a Harry Potter movie, I think it was quite long. That’s probably why they decided to make the final movie into two parts. I’m sure they would want to include as much as possible there to please the fans, but yet not bore them by having to sit for more than two hours.

I noticed that Daniel Radcliffe has bulked up a bit, much more macho, as Ginny would say. 🙂 He said in an interview in a magazine that he likes to play his role more seriously. This movie is lighter. So he didn’t have a lot of the more serious scenes like he did in The Order of the Phoenix. Harry was angry a lot of times in that movie and Daniel’s acting was more intense in The Phoenix. In The Half-Blood Prince, he just got to be his charming self. 🙂 On the other hand, Ron’s character is the funniest. And I agree with what they say that Rupert’s got that comedic timing, or whatever you call it. Well, anyway, I think J.K. Rowling made this story lighter because the final one is the darkest of all the books, and that will probably require a lot more from the actors.

Just one more thing that I noticed, and this is after my 15-year old son, who hasn’t read the book, asked me. What does the Half-Blood Prince mean? I guess they forgot to elaborate on that in the movie. Snape revealed to Harry that he was the Half-Blood Prince, but it wasn’t explained that he called himself so because his mother was Eileen Prince, a wizard, and his father was Tobias Snape, a Muggle-born, making Snape a half-blood. Since the title of the movie is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, isn’t it an important bit of information that should have been included in the movie?


July 24, 2009 at 8:56 pm 2 comments