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[personal profile] salmakia
Although, the day before I wrote this I had worked a 12 hour day with no lunch break. So that's why it's written in bullet points. There are some spoilers, but for anyone who gives monkeys, I suspect you already know what happens. But here's what I thought of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

• Jim Broadbent was brilliant. Wonderfully captured Professor Slughorn. Shines out in an excellent cameo as Kenneth Branagh did in the Chamber of Secrets.
• Alan Rickman was very good, but at times Snape still remains a bit too opaque for the audience to connect with what, if anything, he might be thinking. At least he doesn't mince so much anymore. In the first film, I kept expecting him to break into song. He was too camp for words.
• Daniel Radcliffe was a lot better in this film and he has great comic timing, but he still can't pull off the heavy stuff. Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy acted him off the screen in ever scene they had together and held his own a lot more comfortably with Michael Gambon et al at crucial points. You genuinely felt Draco's pain and confusion, though you never really, truly, felt Harry's.
• Maggie Smith, good but just seems like she's going through the motions.
• Helena Bonham Carter, beautifully demented, shame she's not in it more.
• Evanna Lynch, effortlessly weird, sadly underused.
• Rupert Grint, the best of the main three, but it's a shame he's not given more to do besides comic relief.
• Emma Watson, not nearly so annoying and over done as in previous films, though her friendship with Radcliffe's Harry feels like a more convincing one than her supposed romantic entanglement with Ron.
• Bonnie Wright can actually act now. Surprising.
• Voldemort aged eleven. Not very scary. Doesn't act interested enough in being a wizard. Sounds like a wannabe cockney rude boy. Voldemort aged 16ish, has metamorphosed into someone who sounds like he came from Eton. Charming and intimidating.
• The annoying thing were Fred and George talk in unison the whole time is back. Shudder.

• They go to school. Teenagers do that teenage thing. Large parts of the book missing. Not much takes a long time to happen. Suddenly, Dumbledore discovers a possible Horcrux. They go to look for it. They come back. Bad things happen. The end.
• Random additions such as an attack on the Burrow do nothing to move the film forward. Cutting the final battle at the end makes Draco's flight seem too easy and the film just sort of tails off. It was shame not to include Dumbledore's funeral but it was pretty long as it is.
• The dialogue was at times incredibly well done but at others also incredibly clunky just to fit as much exposition in as possible. There have to be better ways.

• This film looks brilliant and the whole thing is leached of colour which gives a sombre and foreboding feel to it. It's not quite black and white but it's getting there. A lot of people wear a lot of black.
• Scenes are nicely linked together, with characters, usually Draco Malfoy, appearing in interesting bits of the screen framed in an usual way, propelling us into the next bit of the film.
• The visual effects are all very smoothly done, though the Inferi in the cave scene are not very convincing and the fire which warded them off seemed a little overdone.

• Could have done with a bit less teenage romance. It's funny and well-acted, but the film could have been shorter without it. I've been reading the book again and have come to the conclusion that it's just there to hide the fact that not much happens in this book. Harry does his sixth year at Hogwarts. The end. The book is filler and while this film tries hard not to be, there's not that much it can do to avoid it.
• It can't have escaped the film makers' notice that the particular angle at which they shoot Ron and Cormac McClaggen astride their broomsticks with handles protruding from between their legs is indecently phallic. Seriously, it's not just me.

I have never been able to understand why anyone would go to see these films if they hadn't read the books. You only know that things are significant because they're so obviously signposted the whole way through and without the background knowledge some of the film's big reveals, like the identity of the half-blood prince, make no sense. The plot of the film is strangely paper thin yet also trying to cram in an enormous amount of information, but it's not always the right information. The strange thin and thickness of the plot may be because the pacing is very choppy between ACTION and exposition. I enjoyed it very much and liked the final scene and can't wait for the next two. But I know I only like them because I fill in all the details of the books myself. I know I only put up with the methadone of the films because the supply of heroin of new Harry Potter books has long been exhausted.
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July 2011

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