Thursday, 16 July 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

We (all six of us) went to see HP6 yesterday afternoon, Anna and I are seeing it again tomorrow morning before the schools break up. The reason we have to see it again is because as well as being quite exhausted from the non-stop entertaining, dinner-making and day-tripping we've been doing this week while we had guests (not to mention me sleeping on "the brown" for four nights), the film was so damn exciting and full of "good bits" that I really don't think I took them all in in one viewing!!
Yes, those who know me (which I assume is all who read this blog) know that Harry Potter is high up on the list of Amy's interests, if she was to go on Mastermind then Harry Potter would probably be at least second choice for specialist subject- if not first. Harry Potter is my life. Harry Potter has been my life for ten years. Sure, I might also say that Drop the Dead Donkey is my life- and I frequently dream entirely new episodes and wake up convinced that they resurrected it, and I watched it. Anyway, every time I go on the internet I check (a)my emails, (b)the Jonathan Pryce Appreciation Society message board and (c)The Leaky Cauldron- ie Harry Potter News. So in short, I've been looking forward to this film for AGES.
And oh my god, everyone, almost EVERYONE has suddenly learned how to act!! Even Alan Rickman has learned how to act!! I was so happy! I say I'm a fan of Harry Potter, that doesn't mean I think the films are great- I do think they're great, but I think there's tons of things wrong with them; I can't stand Emma Watson's eyebrow-acting, I didn't like Daniel Radcliffe, I hate how everyone is cast around the mis-casting of Alan Rickman as the 60-year-old Snape, I don't like how certain characters and certain actors are given less screen time than everyone else, and I obviously hate the appalling CGI. BUT I love changes that have been made for the better plot-wise, I love certain kid-actors in them (Neville, Draco, Luna, etc.) I adore Michael Gambon's Dumbledore, I love most of the casting- the mad British ensemble, and I love the running commentaries that me and Kirandeep or me and Anna have developed over the years. The films are fun, but I don't expect good acting or good adaptations after all these years.
The Half-Blood Prince was obviously as good an adaptation as any other Potter film, nice little changes, and big ones!- burning down a significant building to get out of the fact they omitted certain characters that were extremely important to the final book's opening! No building- no wedding! Changing Ginny's character to adapt to Bonnie Wright's flat and uninspired performance, ho hum, it had to be done. She can't be feisty and passionate when the actress is so blah (This pains me to say btw, I've always liked Bonnie's face and was convinced that she'd be great as soon as they let her have some lines, turns out she's the worst and I desperately missed Neville and Luna who were practically cameos). The only thing I really missed from this one is that Uncy Morphin was omitted, he was comedy gold, surely?!
I'm too excited about seeing it again to even try and review this properly, so I'm concentrating on performances- the film as a story was jam-packed and the kids' romances were most entertaining, hilarious, excellent and heartwarming (Ron's and Hermione's anyway) the only criticism I have of the Half-Blood Prince was that when the HBP's identity was revealed I forgot I was supposed to care, because in the book it's all you want to know! Who is he? What is this mystery?! But in the film because so many other exciting things were happening I forgot I was supposed to be wondering who the Half-Blood Prince was. Could have done with a couple more scenes: one of Harry sprouting theories like "maybe it's my mum!" "maybe it's Voldemort!" "Maybe it's Sirius!" whoever, and later a scene of Hermione saying: "Yeah Snape's mum's maiden name," so that people don't leave the cinema thinking, "Snape is royalty!?"
I don't like Emma Watson in any of the film, over acting eyebrows spring to mind, so I wasn't expecting much, but I adored her!! I couldn't believe it! I had tears in my eyes! I felt so bad for Hermione! She was so cute and funny and not stuck-up or anything that Hermione usually is!! They gave her scenes where she wasn't up-herself and in control, she was normal and vulnerable and sad! I thought she was great! Much more like book-Hermione!
Rupert Grint was as usual great, my favourite line after the first viewing was when Harry asks what Ginny sees in Dean and Ron says as though it's obvious: "He's brilliant!" Not enough Luna, though good that they changed some things so she got more screen-time. Fuck-all Neville! Good comic relief though, they'll make sure he's great in the last film. Jessie Cave's Lav-lav was super cute, I loved her scenes but Cormac McClaggen was the fucking BOMB, that guy was brilliant, never before has quidditch been exciting or funny, but he was genius (so was Ron) on a broom, and genius in all his skin-crawling slimy scenes pursuing Hermione.
Draco, who has been my favourite since it began- best child actor, well, I was disappointed that he didn't get more lines, but at least he was there. At least he was always acting in the background, and when he did get to do some acting it was excellent. I didn't like it when he was crying, it made me sad, some girls in the front row laughed and I wanted to shout "Shut up!" it's a shame they didn't keep in Moaning Myrtle, didn't show enough of Draco's human side that he was always on his own crying. The boys playing young Mr Riddle were fab, both really creepy, the little one was scary and the middle-sized one was terrifying!
Now to Radcliffe. There's no doubt he has improved in every film, and no doubt that off-screen he is a charming (though intense and mad) young man, well, suddenly Harry was a charming young man. In fact, when Radcliffe does comedy he is at his best (which is a shame considering all the bad shit that happens to Harry) lots of scenes with Ron- and the scenes with Slughorn when Harry is "high" were fucking hilarious. He was much more Daniel Radcliffe than Harry Potter and I loved it. Luckily though Radcliffe is also good at "pain" and the action scenes were great.
Slughorn may look the complete opposite of his on-page description but it didn't matter, Jim Broadbent played Jim Broadbent as always and was just fine. Helen McCrory wasn't in it enough for me to care about how awful her hair was, Tonks and Remus were cute but not in it enough. As per usual it is down to Rickers to ruin the film with his dramatic pauses and inappropriate hamming.
Will update tomorrow. It was great, but especially if you know the book (and so understand everything they don't explain)- and if you don't know the book by now, why the hell are you going to see the film?!

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