With the final installment of the Harry Potter movie franchise coming out, we thought it would be fun to revisit the phenomenon with a special edition series of Harry Potter Book v Movie columns.
Name of Book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
By: J. K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Copyright Date: US Edition July 2005
Number of Pages: 672
Reason for Reading: It’s Harry Potter, do we need a reason?
Director: David Yates
Release Date: July 15, 2009 (USA)
Running Time: 153
IMDB Linkage: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0417741/
Rating: I am wavering between a C+ and a B- because the pacing was sooo slow but the end scenes were so well-acted!!!
In book six, the wizarding world has finally wised up to the fact that Lord Voldemort has indeed returned. The tone is more ominous and the danger level has increased dramatically. Harry is taking special lessons with Dumbledore to learn more about Voldemort’s past in order to gain insight into how to ultimately defeat him. In addition to navigating danger and school, our trio is finally experiencing the first pangs of love.
This book is one of my favorites. I love it for the fact that we delve into Voldemort’s past. I really like flashbacks and gaining insight into characters, especially evil ones. The tone of this book is a lot darker and a lot scarier what with Snape making an Unbreakable Vow and Malfoy assigned a dangerous unknown task. I did like the introduction of love. I thought it lent humor, therefore, lightening up the tone, not to mention realistic for the age our trio has reached. This book really builds up to the climax that awaits us in book seven. The end is heartbreaking and unsettling. Rowling doesn’t hold back and lets us know she means business. I appreciate that quality as sad I felt because casualties happen in war, and not just to the minor characters. In this respect Rowling reminds me a bit of Joss Whedon.
When it first came out I went to the midnight showing. I think my love for this installment blinded me on the first viewing. I vaguely remember people expressing disappointment in this film but I initially loved it. By the time I re-watched it yesterday, I couldn’t remember anything specific about it except that I liked it.
However, on a second viewing, I am a bit more objective. The film definitely captures the dark and scary feel of the book. As always the casting is superb. Jim Broadbent is impeccable as Slughorn. Evanna Lynch is sublime as Luna. Hero Fiennes-Tiffin and Frank Dillane as the young Tom Riddle (age eleven and sixteen, respectively) are downright sinister. Tom Felton as Malfoy has really grown and does justice to the development of Malfoy’s predicament. I also have to mention that Alan Rickman in that final moment with Dumbledore just nails it. His expression, knowing what we know after having finished book seven, is absolutely perfect. Michael Gambon completely embodied Dumbledore in this installment. The scene I was most curious about was at the fountain, but he was the Dumbledore described in the book and the one I imagined whilst reading. The final scene with Snape was devastating.
I do have to say that the pacing was quite slow! I don’t know if they thought because it was so scary and serious they had to slow it down, but I thought it took away from the heightened sense of danger. The scene at the burrow was the most fast-paced and it worked! Why they couldn’t have increased the pacing is beyond me. Also, I understand they have to condense things and sometimes they add things that weren’t in the book, but the liberties taken with book six felt somewhat egregious. Perhaps, I only feel this way because I watched it so soon after re-reading it. Nonetheless, it irritated more in this installment than any of the previous ones. It really irked me that Dumbledore didn’t stun movie Harry. Also, the kiss between Harry and Ginny? Very anti-climactic and kinda lame. The book kiss was so much better.
THE VERDICT: The book!!! Was there ever any doubt? On my first viewing I loved this movie and could see no wrong in it. However, on a second viewing I had more criticisms. It was still worth watching, and I’ll definitely watch it again in the future (when I get the ultimate editions hehe). But I have to say that it was a weak job overall compared to the awesomeness and momentum built in book six.