Bi-Polar Reviews: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince II

Part Two of the Harry Potter Reviews, courtesy of the Fold.

So…Harry Potter number six. First and foremost I will accept that adapting the colossal, latter Harry Potter books was always going to be a tough task. What does one keep? What can be left out? Until now, I would say the movies have for the most part made successful choices when disregarding the odd Hogwarts class, Quidditch matches and so on. It is true that the fanboy will always be disappointed no matter what hits the cutting room floor.


I must state that I am not a particularly avid fan of the series. Yes, I have enjoyed the books, but do not consider it heresy to remove a plot point here and there. The problem I have with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is that plot holes run throughout the movie, leaving it nothing more than a subdued attempt at an adolescent rom-com with wands and beards. It is not that the text has been diluted that affects the flow of the fantasy. It is that Kloves expects the viewer to have already read the books, then leaves them to fill in the blanks along the way. This leaves Harry in a bit of a predicament, as fans and cinefiles alike, are left alienated by a narrative which seeks to expel (see what I did there…sorry) them from the fantasy. Is this a film targeted at the readers of the series or a film that seeks to attract new audiences into a summer blockbuster? I’m not quite sure if Half Blood Prince truly knows where it wants to be.

Okay, enough of the who’s and whys, get to the how.
Certainly imaginary reader!


Little ikkle Potter has now become Mr Potter since we last left him, and the girls are starting to notice too. There’s certainly something about Harry. From the opening shot of Harry in the café, we can clearly see that Mr. Potter has become something of a ladies man. In fact, everybody appears to be afflicted by the love potion. Rupert Grint’s Ron has returned to pull a face, and a lady friend or two. In contrast, Hermione and Ginny serve as fodder for the boys frolics. Appearing on screen only to whine and chirp, blush and frown. Hermione was the strong, wise female protagonist in previous films. Here she offers little more than grunts and snarls at her rivals. However, Ginny in particular, is so unobtrusive on screen, I find it hard to believe how or why The Chosen One is so besotted with her. Maybe she reminds him of Ron.


What served as a subplot within the book, becomes the focal point for the flick. This is clearly teenage angst in a twilight era. It could easily be Hollyoaks with brooms, Grange Hill with robes and [insert show] with [magical implement]…you get the picture.

The film could have focused its intentions on other matters, more poignantly, Harry and Dumbledore – given the the importance of the ending. Speaking of the ending, it’s a wonder how the climax is so, well…anti-climactic. Rowling’s depiction of said event is the perfect set-piece in written form, it’s a wonder how the director was unable to portray such a cinematic gift in such ambivalent fashion.

harry n albus

I get that this film is supposed to act as a transitional film to the big finale, but the run time is noticed fairly early on. The pacing of the movie give the appearance not of a six hundred plus book packed into two and a half hours, but of a ninety minute story dragged out for an hour too long. But what I can’t seem to get my head around is how a film that feels so long, manages to say so very little.


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