Reflections

Half-Blood Prince: Double the Wait, Double the Profit

Was Half-Blood Prince worth twice as long the wait? Well, to Warner Brothers it most certainly was, as it raked in nearly $20 million with just the first midnight show alone (late Tuesday-early Wednesday morning release), which no other movie has ever achieved, according to MTV. Sure, the franchise has always been successful, but this movie in particular was much-awaited, and its delayed release increased anticipation for fervid fans and piqued curiosity for the indifferent tag-alongs just the same.

For me personally, the movie was amazing. This was the first Potter movie I’d seen after reading the series, so maybe that’s why I enjoyed it so much. But overall I thought the movie was extremely well done, besides the weak ending. Readers of the series will be pleased the screenplay sticks to the storyline, but the way the movie was edited makes me think those who haven’t read the books would most definitely be lost at some scenes, for instance, those involving werewolf Fenrir Greyback, or Harry’s Hogwarts arch-nemesis Draco Malfoy. Some viewers may be thrown by the new Death Eater, or by Malfoy’s outbursts and inner turmoil.

However, all of the actors have matured in their skills. Despite scathing reviews I’d read before the show, and discussions with my friends about Daniel Radcliffe’s inability to show emotion, I think he made a breakthrough with this film. Harry’s character comes off as witty, compassionate, recklessly daring and charismatic, instead of the stony stoicism he displays in other films. Rupert Grint, too, skillfully portrays a lovestruck Ronald Weasley, but Grint has never failed to put on an entertaining performance before. I’ll admit I was a bit put off by a few scenes between Harry and Hermione (Emma Watson) because they came off as too sappy, but otherwise the flirting and fighting of the teenage wizards provided ample relief to the dark themes of the main plot. This was at once the funniest and darkest of all the Potter movies yet.

There were only two major disappointments for me, and both involve our beloved Alan Rickman’s character, Severus Snape. Rowling’s Sixth Book makes us loathe Snape, truly produces a reason for us to hate his guts. We even feel that lump in our throat when we discover Dumbledore’s fate as we read through the last few chapters. Yet, the film elicits none of these emotions. Frankly, it fell flat. To make matters worse, Snape’s brief admission that he is in fact the Half-Blood Prince comes as a side note,  whereas it is given extensive attention in the books (hence the title).

Aside from some questionable awkward scenes between Harry and Ginny, the rest of the movie was so entertaining I would venture to call it my favorite. Well, for now at least, it’s a tight race between this and the last one (well, maybe not for Warner Bros).

One thing’s certain: whatever doubts we had in our minds that the final few films would not be able to capture the charm of the written series are now dispelled.

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5 comments on “Half-Blood Prince: Double the Wait, Double the Profit

  1. I like your wordplay in the last sentence.

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  2. “but the way the movie was edited makes me think those who haven’t read the books would most definitely be lost at some scenes, for instance, those involving werewolf Fenrir Greyback, or Harry’s Hogwarts arch-nemesis Draco Malfoy”

    Fenrir Greyback was never mentioned to be a werewolf, which can be absurd to readers but doesn’t confuse film audiences. It’s just not mentioned and there has yet to be a reason to call for. In the book it was mentioned because Lupin talked about how he was bit by Greyback, but in the film there was no die hard reason to put that scene in the script. To audiences he is a Death Eater, which is accepting.

    As for Draco being Harry’s nemesis, well, that was established in the first film in the scene after the Hogwarts express ride when Malfloy to join his circle of friends.

    I feel that this film, like just like the films preceding it, can be understood just fine to movie audiences whether or not if you read the books as long as you’ve kept up with the movies. I feel the script writers have the movie audience in mind more so than the readers. In The Half-Blood Prince, they never mentioned apparition classes or the fact that Harry owns the deed to the Black residence. Wouldn’t that information conflict with travel and shelter in the next two films? I feel they’ll figure something out, for these films are based on J.K. Rowlings books, so the producers can do what they want, even if Harry gets around in a flying car and breaks into the Black residence with a crowbar to find a Horcrux.

    I totally agree with you about the title of the film. It should be retitled Harry Potter and the Horniest Wizards and Witches.

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  3. Yes, Draco is obviously at odds with Harry Potter. That is clear to the audience. But there is more emphasis given in the book to his role as a newly-initiated Death Eater. We read more about Harry’s obsession with Malfoy’s activities, and right at the beginning we know Malfoy is interested in that opal necklace and matching “pair of” items. The vanishing cabinet explanation becomes pretty cool then.

    I do not doubt the intelligence of the audience, but when I was watching I felt, just as I did with the fifth movie, there’s naturally not enough time for explanations. Things just happen. The audience may understand what is happening, but does not have the luxury of knowing why it’s important. For example, before I read the series I did not understand at all the significance of the prophecy. It made more sense after reading the book. Similarly, I feel the magnitude of Draco’s mission is downplayed, even becomes lost among the web of teenage romance. Perhaps they could have allotted that time to Draco instead, but they did not want to make the film darker.

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    • True. Ahh the perks of reading the book. Time after time, it’s what makes the book always better than the film.

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  4. Anuradha

    I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ll probably come to the same conclusion. I’m really wary of this one though because it’s my favorite book. All in all, a very well written review as usual 🙂 When I actually manage to load your blog, I’ll start commenting again, but for now it seems to be taking up entirely too much bandwidth for my fail connection…

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