Monday, July 20, 2009

Horcruxes versus hormones

NOTE: Spoilers in here for those who have not read the book or have yet to see the movie.

What is going on with David Yates? My 13 year old son and I went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on the second evening of its opening. Our hopes were high from the exciting previews we saw, and then… eh!

The only word I can use to describe my feelings for the new Harry Potter film is ambivalence. For what was one of the most emotional and revealing books of the series I was left wanting much more from the film. Yes it was fun to see the old gang at Hogwarts yucking it up again. Most of the scenic elements we have grown to admire were there, but some were altered for no reason like the pensive that now looks like a modern day bathroom sink and the Quiddich pitch witch looks like a strong wind hit it and knocked off all the siding.

These minor alterations don’t really affect the story, however, what was David Yates thinking when he left out the biography of Tom Riddle? Almost every piece of exposition from the book that explained his ascent into evil and the birth of the Horcruxes was left out of the film. Instead we got to see an overabundance of Hermione pining for Ron, Lavender pining for Ron, Ron infatuated with Slughorn, Harry and Ginny infatuated with each other and most of the girls in Hogwarts along with Professor Slughorn desperate for Harry. Funny yes, essential to the plotline, not so much.

The movie did get one scene spot on and that was Dumbledore and Harry in the immensely creepy cave with the underground lake searching for one of the horcruxes. That type of imagery and attention to the plotline of the book should have been in more of the film. Mr. Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves didn’t even let us see the Tom Riddle’s family home or the bloody betrayals of the Gaunt family.

I was also sad to see no hint of Dumbledore’s funeral which was a poignant ending to the book and left anyone with a heart a bit misty-eyed. I kept waiting for the merpeople, Hagrid's brother and the centaurs. I can only assume production costs removed them from the storyboard only to be replaced by lit wands held in the air reminiscent of the ending to any kick-ass rock concert.

The last scene in the movie shows a bird flying off and unless you read the book it is very hard to tell that this is Fawkes, Dumbledore’s faithful, mystical phoenix. I needed binoculars to get the full effect. I can only hope there is some back-tracking in the next two films to get the plotline back on track. Those of you who follow the wands will know what I’m talking about.


  1. Wonderful to see SB writing again. You made my day! Nice job Sue,

  2. I totally love this review. I thought that for a story that was growing darker, the teens happy-go-lucky attitudes didn't work well. I did not really like the 6th book and had been hoping to see it improve with the 7th. Alas no.

    I do wonder now, what sort of audience will the last two movies bring in. I don't think they'll do well.


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