Archive for Rannoch Moor

Harry Potter and the half-blood prince [debate]

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , on July 23, 2009 by xi'an

“The film is great, but it was made quickly and without true feelings. But it is a series, so it has good points.” Rachel

I watched the sixth Harry Potter movie in the series with my teenage kids last afternoon and I came back rather disappointed. My daughter does disagree and so here are our opposite views, written together.

On the [lack of] depth of the plot (in the movie rather than the book), we concur that (new) secondary characters are missing (and even a major character like Voldemort only appears through a few childhood memories), that the surroundings have shrunk to three or four places, that the little snapshots on the “usual” life of magicians that made the earlier movies so fun are missing (except for Fred and George’s Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes joke shop), that the students’ studies at Hogwart are almost inexistent, with much less students visible through the movie, and that the story is proceeding at a fairly chaotic pace, lacking a driving line. The central role of the half-blood prince’s book is clear at the beginning of the movie but it disappears too quickly with no clear explanation, except at the end when Rogue claims his crux back. This also makes the train scenes amazingly long given that they involve hardly any action (even though the views of Rannoch Moor are stunning).

The major characters are alas far from convincing in my opinion, including Harry himself who is mostly one-dimensional (with a surprising limited range of expressions and an impossibility to communicate with his friends) but who appears in about every scene, while my daughter thinks Ron and Hermione played well. We both agreed that Draco Malfoy may be the best role in the movie, with much more depth than others. Dumbledore is also mostly convincing, as well as the new professor, Horace Slughorn, especially in his armchair disguise (my opinion!). The obligatory Quidditch scene is rather well-set, although Ron turning into a champion thanks to a placebo is too unrealistic, even for a magician. My daughter enjoyed the special effects surrounding the flight of Ron and Ginny in the field, I did not. My own preferred scene may be the early one in the subway dinner when Harry is treated as a “normal” teenager…

The central issue is the prevalence of the “love scenes” over the action scenes. I find them simply unbearable because poorly managed and badly acted, while my daughter considers the main drawback to be less magic and less action. Both of us think that the relation between Lavender and Ron is completely botched, especially the breakup scene in the infirmary. (In my view, Ron confirms his total lack of acting abilities from previous movies!) And my daughter does not see the point in the magic birds being thrown by Hermione at Ron!

So, overall, maybe not the worst Harry Potter in the series (two was really bad), but a very unexciting one, way below the book

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