Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mini- Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Jami's Take

So Sean & I finally got out of the house and saw "Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince" and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Despite the fact that it was critically very well received, I had only personally know 2 people who enjoyed it at all! Couple that with the fact that it was being directed by the same man, David Yates, who I thought had ruined the film adaptation of Book 5, and I went in very skeptical that I would get much enjoyment out of this new film at all. Still, while I had a few quibbles with things here and there, I wasn't nearly as bothered by Prince as I was by Phoenix.

Why not? My problems with Phoenix were much more sweeping: the whole tone of the film felt off for me, I hated the performance of the usually wonderful Imelda Staunton as Delores Umbridge, and it felt so rushed and chopped that I felt there needed to be at least another half hour to properly tell the story the way Yates was choosing to. Prince felt much more properly paced to me and the with the lack of Imelda Staunton and addition of Jim Broadbent, the performances were mostly pitch-perfect.

While there were a lot of cuts again, I felt that the cuts made were acceptable in the scope of the film. The small additions, save one egregiously erroneous scene, didn't feel as though they were distracting us from the story at hand. The Half-Blood Prince story line was seriously trimmed down to nearly-nothing, but even this is forgivable in my book as the bulk of that storyline involves Harry using it in classes, which would have been hard to fit into a film without sacrificing alot of time better spent on plot. It's sad that this makes the reveal loose al ot of its punch, and that the very title of the book/ movie becomes more or less of an afterthought, but so it is.

Bottom line for me is that Rowlings books are so dense with action and plotting, that it is impossible for anyone to squeeze it all in without a lot of allowances. For me, this movie is right in league with the film adaptations of Books 3 & 4 - not as great as the first two films, but an acceptable adaptation.

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