Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Late Night at the Movies

Went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at midnight at The Grove with a bunch of friends. Going to be a late morning... I can tell...

Opinion of the movie... well, it was about damn time it came out, what with the extra delay. Almost two years since Order of the Phoenix! HBP is getting AMAZING reviews (95% last I looked at and I'm hard-pressed to understand why, versus the other HP films (which, in release order, are at 78%, 82%, 89%, 88%, and 77%). It's a very slow, methodical, well-made film. Lots of character and relationship stuff and comedy. But to be honest, it doesn't have the magic and thrills of the last two adventures (which were adventures) or the first three films, which were far more magical and kids-y entertainment... and then, y'know, people started DYING. My favorite remains Prison of Azkaban of the movies.

In fact, a lot of the action from the book was removed entirely! And I damn well want to know why. I wouldn't be so sodding ambivalent about HBP if Deathly Hallows were being released all at once. But as it's being split into two parts, HBP is no longer the prelude to the end. In the films, it's not, with DH being two parts (rather than making a five-hour long movie... I totally get it...), and we all remember the stop-and-go search that was the first half of DH... I'm not going to be getting a full serving of my Potter magic and amazement fix until 2011 (and, oh boy, does that final movie installment have to deliver in spades). Perhaps some of the action from HBP was saved to spice DH: Part I up?

Technically, and story-wise, HBP is the most filmic since PoA. The pervading sense of doubt and confusion and fear and loss couples brilliantly with muted color tones, tons of fog and mist and clouds, and some very stark black-and-white lighting contrasting. So, um, go Bruno Delbonnel (the director of photography)?

Acting continues to improve with age on the part of the young leads (including Tom Felton's Draco), while having more Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix is always, always, always a welcome thing.

But the fact of the matter is, this movie is all about "the snogging". Harry and Ginny. Ron and Lavender. Hermione and Cormac. Ron and Hermione. Which, okay, they're 16... of course it's about the snogging. Surprisingly little is actually made of the Half-Blood Prince itself in the film (though, to be sure, the prop gets tons of screen time). Voldemort's presence is felt less in this film than in any besides PoA (which was, of course, more about the Dementors and Sirius than about Mr. V). Odd, considering his resurrection at the end of Goblet of Fire and his overwhelming presence that pervaded OotP. Ralph Fiennes is nowhere to be seen (besides a quick flash / glimpse of footage from OotP), though we are, of course, treated to a few scenes of Tom Riddle (which may have been enthralling in the book, but on the screen they, of course, play purely as exposition so thankfully there are only three Pensieve memories). Considering what's to come, I'd have preferred a far more ominous tone.

To sum it up... a friend found it incredibly boring while another felt herself nodding off halfway through.


But, hey, at least it's not incredibly stupid like Transformers 2 (which, despite it's seeming mission statement to be nothing more than a barely connected series of massive explosions, chases, and giant CGI robot battles, ALSO managed to be boring for a sizable chunk).

I've rewatched, in theaters, PoA, GoF, and OotP. I won't be making the return trip for HBP.

Can it be Summer 2011 yet?

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