Half-Blood

by KV

KV would just like to reaffirm here that he is behind those who believe the whole Moon trip is a massive conspiracy!

We all knew from the beginning no Potter movie could ever, EVER, come close to matching the ultimate experience of the Potter books. I only hoped that any of the movies could at least make an enjoyable cinema spectacle, or do some justice to the awesome world & plot Rowling created by transferring a little magic to the people who had not the chance to experience the books.

When Sorcerer’s Stone was made into a film, people complained it was way too kiddish & long. I adored the wonderful  choices of Rupert Grint & Emma Watson, as well as most of the rest of the primary cast, but cringed at Radcliffe. (Of course, I didn’t know at that time Radcliffe would require more than 3 movies to finally learn how to act)

Next was Chamber of Secrets, to which everyone agreed was better than the 1st, but still, too tailored for kids.

Then aboard came Alfonso Cuaron to make what is my favourite Potter movie, Prisoner of Azkaban. Thrilling & faithful to what was probably the best plot twist of all the books, only the casting of Gambon as Dumbledore laid a sole sour note on otherwise pretty much the definitive Potter movie.

Goblet of Fire was proof that a brilliant plot from one of the best books does not necessarily translate into a good movie. It was quite the Bollywood-ish mess, with a completely destroyed Yule Ball depiction & an embarassingly worsening mis-potrayal of the very much beloved Dumbledore (not forgetting Cho Chang).

Order of the Phoenix took the best aspects of its respective book & turned out to be quite excellent, though not without flaws. Gary Oldman, Evanna Lynch, Helena Bonham Carter & Imelda Staunton were terrific in their roles, easily slotting Phoenix alongside Azkaban as the best Potter bigscreen adaptations to date.

Now, we arrive at Half-Blood Prince. Come to think of it, there’s really not much to complain from apart from the plot holes & drastic changes, so what made it such an unsatisfying experience? The whole movie was quite beautifully made on screen, along with stellar acting. It did have its engaging & chilling moments, so why did I left the hall feeling like it was the slowest unhappening movie ever?

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Yes, every Potter fan is not going to stop grumbling about the many changes & left-outs of the book’s complicated plot, from the roles of Dobby & Kreacher to the Gaunts memory. I didn’t actually feel too bad about those, understanding that condensing the books to fit a film is required, but admittedly, this movie has strayed so far from the books it begs the big question of how the movies are going to bring a justified closure to the Potter journey in Deathly Hallows Part I & II. The humour was aplenty & quite brilliant, but over-switching between all those subplots & the more crucial main story of the Horcruxes, Voldemort’s past & Malfoy’s plan made it quite confusing, losing all sense of urgency & significance of the final build-up towards Deathly Hallows. Despite a handful of scenes that were brilliantly executed (such as Katie Bell being poisoned), addition of new scenes & the exclusion of the roles of Fleur, Bill & Scrimgeour were questionable, while Neville as well as Tonks were wasted (especially Tena’s Tonks, who made such an interesting presence in Order of the Phoenix). Yes, most of the crucial scenes were polished & beautifully done, but honestly, all sense of suspense & build-up were lost all the way towards the end, culminating in a non-climatic way. Dumbledore’s death felt hollow on screen, & Snape being revealed as the Half-blood Prince, & more importantly, as a pivotal ambiguous character, did not have its predicted impact.

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Of course, despite all this, it’s still freaking way better than Twilight. Romance included.

But enough about that, if I were to continue debating about the plot I could construct a whole thesis out of it. There’s also not much to shout about Nicholas Hooper’s scores, notably since I felt the best moments of the film happened to have no background music. Quite frankly, the later Potter film scores have never been the same since John Williams left. Now I’m going to have to give it to the spectacular performance of the cast that made the movie a much more bearable experience. The main trio have outdone themselves yet again, bringing Harry, Ron & Hermione’s maturing lifes to screen amazingly. Radcliffe, I must admit, was quite awesome in that Felix Felicis scene. Watson & Grint were simply perfect during those romantic scenes, & Lynch continues her stellar quirkiness. Helena Bonham Carter was incredibly seductive, newcomer Jessie Cave was a perfect & hilarious Lavender, & Rickman gave an impeccable performance as Snape. Gambon does improve, but still does not channel Dumbledore’s aura in any way. Oh, don’t forget both the actors who played the young & teenage Tom Marvolo Riddle; those were chillingly engaging performances! I would especially like to remark upon the intensed captivating Tom Felton as Malfoy, which without doubt is the outstanding performance in the movie. Finally, he gets the screen time he deserves!

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Of course, getting more screen time is not always a good thing, as Bonnie Wright displayed. Throughout all the Potter movies, the castings have rarely been wrong, rather more astonishingly spot-on (think Ron, Hermione, Snape, McGonagall, Hagrid, Malfoy, Lupin, Sirius, Trelawney, Umbridge, Luna, the Weasley twins, etc), with the exception of Gambon’s Dumbledore & now more glaringly, Wright’s Ginny Weasley. Wright lacks so much of the feisy personality Ginny is known for, instead giving us a mundane & unflattering Ginny.

At this rate, they should really just do all of us a favour by making Harry go get it on with Hermione or even Luna, seeing that they are way more interesting & share much more chemistry together in the movies.

KV is finally beginning to bang his head to the tunes of Paramore’s “Ignorance”.

Read KV’s review on Order of the Phoenix here.

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