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Harry Potter & The Half-Baked Plot

July 19, 2009

So I just got back from the Cinema and have now seen the Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince movie adaptation……Cara is not pleased >.<  I’m quite a big Harry Potter fan, the obsession has waned a bit since the release of the last book (which I did not like at all), but its hard to get rid of the HP fangirl who has taken root inside me! :p

I’m going to have a short rant about the film just to get it out of my system.  If you are not familiar with the HP series and how it all ends or if you really enjoyed the HBP film – stop reading now!

This was by far the worst of the HP film adaptations IMO – even Goblet of Fire was better than this film!  I know that it is hard to squeeze one of the HP books into 2-3 hours, but that’s no excuse for cutting out plot relevant material in favour of adding stupid adolescent love scenes or an entire action sequence that doesn’t even happen!!!!

Yes that whole scene of the attack on the Weasley family home (The Burrow) is entirely fictitious – it doesn’t happen!  In fact Harry et al are in The Burrow at a wedding at the beginning of Deathly Hallows!  However since they cut Bill and Fleur from this film I’d assume that they aren’t going to have their wedding at the beginning of the next film.

Also cut from the film was Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minster of Magic and a rather important character – but I do know he is in the next film (Bill Nighy has been cast in the role) so I’m not overly worried about that.  The lack of house-elves (namely Dobby, Winky & Kreacher) was another oversight – I don’t know how they are going to cover their roles in Deathly Hollows – Sirius’ will was not covered at all either.  In fact apart from Bellatrix singing ‘I killed Sirius Black‘ during the attack on The Burrow the fact Harry lost his godfather at the end of Order of the Phoenix is not mentioned. >.<  This is relevant because Harry inherits Grimmauld Place which becomes a key location in Deathly Hallows as well as becoming Kreacher’s master!

Then there is the hiding of the Half-Blood Prince’s potion book.  Harry is meant to desperately hide it in the Room of Requirement, lifting a few notable objects (including the all important tarnished tiara) to highlight the hiding place……expect in the film Ginny comes into the Room with him and forces Harry to close his eyes while she hides the book so no one can ever find it again!  Hello??  Tiara is a Horcrux you kind of needed to leave that in!!! GAH!!

The major gripe I have with this film though is how poorly they dealt with the scene on the Astronomy Tower, Dumbledore’s death and Snape’s actions during that whole sequence.  These scenes are the climax of the book and are very important, but the film did not handle them well at all!  Malfoy’s role was done well, but Harry should not be free to move nor should Snape know he was there (Harry should have been under his Invisibility Cloak and Immobilised by Dumbledore).  The entire scene lacked impact – Dumbledore’s  slow-mo fall from the tower instead of bringing a tear to my eye actually set me and my siblings off into giggles!

Then there is the total absence of the fight in Hogwarts – where on earth did all the aurors and teachers go!?  The Death Eaters just waltzed through the castle and out the doors with out any bother at all.  Bellatrix even had time to dance about the Great Hall breaking all the windows!  And then when Harry sets out in pursuit of Snape he’s meant to be livid with anger – screaming at Snape to turn and fight and eventually calling him a coward (the dialogue is kept, but Radcliffe fails to convey the anger).  At this point it was very important that Snape turn and get extremely angry with Harry “Do not call me a coward!”……but he doesn’t say that line!  They do manage to shoehorn in that Snape = Half-Blood Prince, but that also had me giggling as the line just comes out of nowhere!

The scene with Harry going to Dumbledore’s body at the bottom of the Astronomy Tower had me in floods when I read the book as Harry at that point is inconsolable and completely consumed by grief -but in the film he’s just a bit teary!  And what the hell was up with the cheesy raising of the wands!?  Again my siblings and I burst out giggling at the poor directing choices during what were meant to be emotional scenes.  But what really irritated me was the scene were Harry is talking to Hermione (Ron being relegated to the background for some reason) about the locket Horcrux being fake and how he plans not to return to Hogwarts…..the mood in that scene is too humorous and they are way too lighthearted about everything.  There is no sign of the despair and depression that the death of Dumbledore should have caused.

In general the film was just way too light – Half-Blood Prince was not a cheery book, everything starts to go very wrong in Harry’s world at this stage and although Rowling made sure to keep quite a bit of humor, it was tempered with lots of dark scenes.  The film seemed to cut a lot of the darkness, kept the majority of the humor and added even more (Lavender Brown was hilarious but way too OTT).

I was very entertained by the film – I found the humour to be good (if inappropriate at times).  There were things that were perfectly done too – Slughorn was a triumph of casting, the Cave scene was just as I imagined it (even if the Inferi looked a wee bit too much like Gollum from LOTR :p), Tom Felton did a great job as Malfoy, the Unbreakable Vow scene in Snape’s house was also perfectly realised (although Narcissa should have been a bit more emotional IMO), Ron’s poisoning was also well done as was the Quidditch scene (complete with Luna’s lion head hat!), Slughorn’s Christmas Party and Aragog’s funeral.  The pensieve scenes that they left in were also very good (even if the acting of the Tom Riddle’s was a bit wooden) – tis a pity they didn’t leave in the stuff with Voldemort’s family though.

Well I’ve ranted a bit longer that I planned…..my final thought on the film is that its entertaining as a piece of cinema and for those that either haven’t read the books or are just casual fans its pretty good.  However for people like me who are big fans and know how things should have gone there were just too many changes and omissions for me to be entirely pleased.  It will be interesting to see how they attempt to patch up things that they really shouldnt have cut in the Deathly Hallow films.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. A concerned child permalink
    July 19, 2009 2:43 pm

    I thought it was a good film on the whole, but I didnt particularly like the ommisions. I felt the scenes that should have been quite powerful just felt weak. I suppose being a 12a they had to tone down the darkness and sadness ¬_¬ but leaving those parts in would have made a much more emotional film. Oh yeah too much romance. Hmm that ending it was sad and all but just kind of pathetic. I dont understand why they chose to do it like that.¬_¬

    • July 19, 2009 3:06 pm

      Yeah I know they had to keep it 12a in order for it to be profitable and that changes had to be made so that its an accessible film for those who don’t read the books – but changing the entire tone of the film and therefore robbing the climax of its emotional impact was an awful choice. The 1st words my brother and sister said to me afterwards were “They ruined it” – they’re not even a big fans like me!

  2. Yuuki permalink
    July 20, 2009 10:48 pm

    Well, I hope the last movie is better.

    • July 20, 2009 10:52 pm

      Well Deathly Hallows is going to be two films so they should have enough time to not ruin it!

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