Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Prince Harry is a Half Blood Prince.

Sorry, what I mean is, here's my review of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (David Yates, 2009)

16-year-old Harry Potter is now in Sixth form at Hogwarts. However, with Voldemort still at large, now with a growing entourage of Death Eaters out to get him, he could be forgiven for putting academics at the back of his mind. Danger is brewing aplenty, including a very ominous meeting occurring between Narcissa Malfoy, Draco's mother, and the ever-ambiguous Professor Snape. What's more, the teenagers Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ron's sister Ginny struggle with their feelings for each other, causing a complicated mess of emotions. Dark times, indeed.

As with all five of its predecessors, Harry Potter VI is suitably pretty to look at, a masterclass in the art of gliding cinematography. Filmed in ominous navy hues, it lacks the strokes of life that the earlier films' bright colours evoked, though, with such grim themes as death, murder, power and hidden secrets, it seems about fair, and makes me wonder in what colours the final installment will be painted. Handheld camera is employed in the odd scene and this gives the film a grainier edge, which is done well. At times, one wonders if David Yates fancies himself a bit of a Terrence Malick with the odd lingering shot too many, and on the whole, it contributes the the visual flair of the film, which is surprisingly sensual at times, yet harshly austere at others. One cannot fault the CGI, however, which intricately creates some of Rowling's best ideas - the dreams sequences are atmospheric and chilling, Weasley's Wizarding Weezes looked like a place that every child wants to go to. Sound also plays a big role in Harry Potter VI; in a few crucial scenes it is employed to create a menacing presence and the claustrophobic, nauseous sound effects, coupled with the images, do just that.

The cinematography, however, is not the only reason I derived pleasure from looking at this film. On a superficial level, there are two other rather nice things to look at in Half-Blood Prince, and I do believe their names are Tom Felton and Rupert bunging Grint. Rupert Grint gives yet another stellar comedic turn; without giving too much away, a scene where he consumes something intended for Harry and bears the consequences is one of the funniest things you'll see in the cinema all year, and it is Rupert's impeccable timing that gives it such warm humour. On the other end of the spectrum stands Tom Felton. Rather, stands Tom Felton in a black suit, hair gelled back, an expression on his face that is both terrifying and terrified. In Half-Blood Prince the novel, I felt real pathos for Draco, no matter how nasty a person he was, and thankfully this has translated onto screen. Felton gives a terrific performance, in one vital showdown we see the side of him that has hidden behind the bullying demeanor for so long.

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Sadly, the rest of the cast are not so talented. Emma Watson, after many years, still has no clue how to act. It's very sad because in the books, I absolutely adore Hermione, and in the sixth book I found her loveliest, both caring and perceptive to Harry's feelings for Ginny as well as vulnerable in her own love for Ron, as well as completely oblivious to just how amazing she was, which of course made her even lovelier in my eyes. Emma Watson conveys absolutely zero of this, and instead spent the entire film getting on my tits. Speaking of which, Miss Watson's babylons give a supporting performance in Slughorn's Christmas party, which should please the lads. Emma Watson will be pleased to hear that another actress has surpassed her poorness in acting. Whereas Watson overacts to the point of incredulity, Bonnie Wright is so dull that she could put out a fire just by looking at it. Her lack of chemistry with Radcliffe is absolutely embarrassing. Daniel Radcliffe himself seems to be battling against the waxwork model of himself at Taussads for the accolade of being most wooden actor. There are some scenes in this film which require a level of emotional maturity and empathy, and Radcliffe just reverts to what can only be reading the lines off the autocue. Nice.

Thankfully, in a world where badness is balanced out by good, there are some truly talented performances in Half-Blood Prince. Everything Miss Evanna Lynch touches is magic, her Irish accents only contributes to her sense of whimsical charm, and I thought it inspired for the filmmakers to kit her out in a lion costume pre-Quidditch game; she looked adorable. You can tell Helena Bonham Carter is having a whale of a time as Bellatrix, as she reeks havoc all round and generally brings the house down, and Jim Broadbent captures Professor Slughorn very well. The screenplay is a bit duff, the film feels too episodic and disjointed and as ever, too much of the novel has been omitted. However, the episodic nature is not totally bad; in a few scenes, we see Draco lingering around the sidelines menacingly, which is a nice little touch. The humour, when it comes, is welcome - Rupert Grint the court jester, and Jessie Cave, as Lavender Brown, his clingy girlfriend, is utterly hilarious. There are also moments which genuinely scared me. Therefore, I find myself saying what I always say when another Harry Potter movie comes out: I was entertained no end, I laughed and giggled, I fancied Rupert Grint and despised Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. Except this time, I have two more things to add: Tom Felton is completely beautiful and when we were treated to that Tarantinoesque shot of his feet I just wanted to bung, and omg, someone get Bonnie Wright an acting lesson. And a meal or two. And a decent haircut. When all is said and done, however, it sits my favourite film of 2009 so far.

51 comments:

anahita said...

Bung!! It seems really good!! I CAN'T wait. What I always notice in hp films is that dan and emma seem awkward in the first few minutes but end up improving a lot as the film progresses. I don't know if it's cos I get into it or because first scenes are always a bit awkward but yeah. Hopefully it'll be like that for this film too. Cos I do really want to like them - after all, they're the actors we're stuck with so we may as well notice the good we can. and if not, there's rupert grint :P

Encore Entertainment said...

okay first, totally feeling you on the lack of chemistry between bonnie and daniel. off topic, do you like ginnie in the books? my friend hates her in the book. She refers to her as the slut, anyway moving on...glad to see Rupert was good, just wish they'd meat up his character. I'm sure if they were allowed they'd make Hermione and Harry end up together. They just seem to ignore Ron in the films. And glad to HBC is great, but when isn't she.

Emma said...

I'm not a fan of Ginny, books or films, I'm afraid. I always wanted Harry and Luna to get together!

Clara said...

I hated this one, which was such a shame as I loved the sixth book. The burning of the willow, for example, was a pointless scene, when lots of important parts were cut out. Emma Watson can't act.

Nigel said...

What did you think of Rickman? I thought he was EXCELLENT. Even though I know Snape does the right thing in the end, I felt myself wondering what side he's on. His voice is annoying and I used to think he's just a very wooden actor, but it's that level of emotional control that Snape needs at Rickman's one of only a few actors that I think could pull it off.

I think I have a mancrush!

Anonymous said...

Hey do you know where I can find XXX rated nude pics of Emma Watson?

Emma said...

Not being funny, but do I look like I do? NOPE.

Nigel said...

Email me :$

Joking. I don't think they exist though bro.

Emma said...

Yo, Nigel! I'm feeling nosy, so do indulge me. What did you do for ASes/A2, what did you get in them, and which five Universities did you apply for?

Told you I felt nosy. :P

Nigel said...

Did:

Maths
Chemistry
Physics

to A2. All those plus Critical Thinking (lol) and Further Maths to AS. I got A in FM, I only did critical thinking this year so I don't know yet but I'm predicted a C. Maths Chemistry and Physics I'm predicted As and think I might have got them, but it's quite close.

I applied to Cambridge, ICL, Bath, Leeds, Aston. Cambridge rejected me :# but the rest gave me offers. I've accepted ICL's offer AAA with As in every maths module, my backup is Leeds ABB.

It's fair enough to ask. I am a randomer, but I find your blog strangely addictive. I guess it's because it's well-written, about subjects that interest me and of course the fact that you're a Chelsea fan is a pretty good sign. Can't go far wrong.

Emma said...

Hey! :-)

I definitely consider you way more than a randomer, more like a *very* cherished reader of my blog, and a Chelsea-supporting-mate. :D

I also got rejected by Cambridge! I applied to Peterhouse. I was pretty distraught about it at first, but then I learnt to get over it and resolved to work hard for Imperial. ... Which I didn't, as I got that B in Physics, but oh well! Loving life at Bath, so things worked out awesome. And ICL didn't even ask me for As in every Maths module! :# I had to get As in my Further Maths pure modules though (which I didn't). They sure do like to make things difficult for their students. :P

Nigel said...

Aww thanks!

I got rejected by Downing. I think I'll have a better time at uni not going to Cambridge. I'm also doing a work experience placement in a gap year - have you heard of Year in Industry? It's that. I'm going to be working for the MOD at Salisbury next year. I'm really looking forward to it, and I'll enjoy not being in debt!

Emma said...

Oh, you're taking a gap year? Lucky! Yeah, very practical, to work for a year to make the money and not worry about student debt and overdrafts. And working for the Ministry of Defence! I'm sure that's what most engineers aspire to. I'm currently working at the mo, basic data entry stuff, but can't complain, as I'm grateful to even have a job in this economic climate, and anything that brings in the money is appreciated.

Nigel said...

Yeah - I'm currently trying to get some temporary factory stuff just over the holidays to get a bit of cash to tide me over until I start in December, but it's stupidly difficult. Even with a dad who works in the job centre!! The main problem is I'm only around for a few weeks and within those weeks I go away on holiday twice too :$

It's depressing I have no money at the moment. But I have an interview kind of thing next Monday. So fingers crossed!

chrissie said...

emma watson overacts. fo sho.

Anonymous said...

I lol'd in RL at the title.

Movie Blaster said...

The most recent Harry Potter movies aren't that good anymore especially since most of the young characters got older now.... There was a certain cuteness to Harry Potter before that appealed more to kids... I doubt if its still there.

Free Movies said...

Wow!What a movie man. I was waiting for thousands year for this movie. It makes my dream true. I have enjoyed more than 100 times Harry Potter. And most probably watch again today.
Thanks for your wonderful reviews
Bye

Timeshare Resales said...

Harry Potter before that appealed more to kids... I doubt if its still there.
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Nasim said...

Hi,
May be it is made for kids but i like Harry Porter. Do you? Specially the new romantic scene has been added.
Thanks for your nice blog job.
Most probably I will enjoy it again.
have a nice time
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Hopefully it'll be like that for this film too. Cos I do really want to like them - after all, they're the actors we're stuck with so we may as well notice the good we can.
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Simi Valley Real Estate said...

I'm sure if they were allowed they'd make Hermione and Harry end up together. They just seem to ignore Ron in the films.
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Anonymous said...

Personally I thought that Rupert, Evanna and Tom were dreadful to the max. Different opinions huh ?

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I felt real pathos for Draco, no matter how nasty a person he was, and thankfully this has translated onto screen. Felton gives a terrific performance, in one vital showdown we see the side of him
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I'm sure if they were allowed they'd make Hermione and Harry end up together. They just seem to ignore Ron in the films.
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Thankfully, in a world where badness is balanced out by good, there are some truly talented performances in Half-Blood Prince. Everything Miss Evanna Lynch touches is magic, her Irish accents only contributes to her sense of whimsical charm.
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Nasim said...

I felt myself wondering what side he's on. His voice is annoying and I used to think he's just a very wooden actor, but it's that level of emotional control that Snape needs at Rickman's one of only a few actors
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Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince said...

I read the the book on this part before watching movie. I think this is good adaption of book. I watched it my friends and we all loved it.

Juliette said...

Hello Emma, I laughed at your title and thought the movie was about something else! Great review, I haven't seen so it's on the list now.

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Walkydog said...

Thanks for great review, yes I like the sound of this movie - I've read the book so looking forward to seeing.

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