sugoll (sugoll) wrote,

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

We saw this last week, and quite enjoyed it. Given the on-going mantra that surrounds every sequel these days that "it's darker than the last one," there was an awful lot of mirth in that cinema. In a good way. I mean, the audience were laughing at things that were supposed to provoke that response. Not necessarily to that level, mayhap, but even so - surprisingly amusing.

Having said that, it's a down-beat ending. Even though I'm assuming you've read the books, or at least heard what transpires, I won't spoil it, but whereas the preceding films finish on notes of triumph, this one ends on a well, at least we're not dead. It's the Potter equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back, and I think it's better for it, given the alternative.

There's a fair amount of angsting over relationships - Ron and Hermione, Harry and Ginny, plus a few others scattered here and there. It's handled surprisingly well - by which I mean I wasn't continually overcome by an urge to run screaming from the cinema, or at least hide underneath my coat until the farce had passed. And, I'm pleased to say, the kids have learned how to act. Yay.

Thinking over the film in the last week, I realised that Ron and Hermione didn't get an awful lot else to do, in this particular movie. It wasn't a story of anything like equal parts. Heck, even Harry doesn't have that much to do. The principle characters are mostly passive as far as the actual story arc goes here; what's surprising is that this isn't obvious until hindsight kicks in.

I read an interview in SFX a couple of issues ago, about whether they filmed it with knowledge of the last book, since this is the first film to be made after publication of Deathly Harrows. Nope, said the director, at which I call shenanigans: there's one particular scene which I don't remember in detail from the book, but I'm pretty sure has been directed with the final book in mind, if nothing else.

Jim Broadbent is marvellous. He plays Slughorn to perfection. I don't remember the character at all from the book (shows what I took away from that particular novel), but I thought his performance was beautifully nuanced. Ton Felton, as Malfoy, has quite a few scenes, and almost no lines. In interviews, he's commented on how much of a bastard he gets to be, this time around, but really, he's played for pity all the way through. Alas, poor Neville just gets the one line, I think, and Hagrid doesn't fare that much better.

There's still Quiddich - shame - but there's also a fair helping of Snape, which never goes amiss.

Anyway, a fun, light-hearted film for most of its running time, and the darker aspects are reasonably well handled.

Tags: movies, sf
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