Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book to Movie Group Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

WARNING: May contain spoilers in the reviews

Jenn's Review: I re-read the whole series everytime one of the movies comes out and this is the first Harry Potter movie in a long while that I haven't walked out of the theatre grumbling. Did I miss Kreacher jumping up and down screaming "won't, won't won't"? Sure, but I never thought it would make the cut.

They streamlined the Ginny & Harry relationship in order to keep the details of Ron & Hermione's relationship which is good, because if they hadn't, Ron and Hermione would barely have been involved at all. I would have liked to have seen more of Harry & Ginny together for purely selfish reasons, but I think they padded it enough to make it work.

The other lesson's with Dumbledore regarding Tom Riddle and the horcruxes would have been interesting... but those are details they can get around that in the next two films.

Yes, I would have liked the final battle scene but I knew as soon as Harry drank the entire Felix Felicitus in order to retrieve Slughorn's memory that it had been cut. Perhaps having that time to adjust to it made it easier to accept. They've pretty much cut the eldest of the Weasley boys from all the previous movies, so it wasn't too much of a surprise that there wasn't a Fenrir/Bill encounter... and the rest of that battle would have been really complicated so, with the inserted battle at the The Burrow, it wasn't necessary.

Actually, I didn't cry over Dumbledore's death as much as I thought I would. Then I remembered it's Hagrid' reaction, the discussion in the hospital ward, the phoenix song, and the subsequent funeral that make me cry the most in the book. I really think the funeral scene would have been nice; it would have given a nice sense of closure.

This book was all about growing up and young love and I think they handled that beautifully. So for me, more Ginny and a funeral would have made it perfect. On the whole, though, I'm happier with this as an interpretation than I have been since the Chris Columbus films.

Jenn's Final Take: 4/5

Julie's Review: I don't re-read books before the movie comes out because I know inevitably I'll be disappointed. The book is always better than the movie, no matter what. It's obviously been a couple years since I've read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but I did remember most of the story and the essence of it. I thought they did a great job of showing the changes that are going on between the kids (aka growing up, puberty, girls/boys, first kisses) and the wizarding world. Of course there are plot points missing, they left out a lot of the plot on the Half-Blood Prince but how do you put that in a movie and make it exciting? If you hadn't read the books the reveal of Snape being the Half-Blood Prince would have been huge and I thought it was handled well. I'm with Jenn in thinking that I would have liked more Dumbledore and Harry conversations about the Horcruxes which are so key in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I knew that Dumbledore's death was coming but I still cried. Dumbledore was Harry's mentor, father figure and friend and he will be missed by Hogwarts, the wizarding world but most of all Harry who will now need to find his way on his own. I think it was a decent movie but not the best (IMHO that is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). It's a strong segway into the final movies.

Julie's Final Take: 3.75/5

Lisa's Review:
I normally re-read before the movies, however due to lack of time in my schedule I didn't this time and I'm very glad I didn't. I've been aware for ages that the movies will never be able to capture the rich details that J.K. Rowling included in each novel. I had accepted that and have been pleased with the adaptations thus far. Up until now that is. Before I nitpick, I will say that this was a good movie and it holds up to scrutiny well but that's if and only if it wasn't an adaptation.

Besides the blossom of young love, this book was all about two things for me. The reveal of the Half-Blood Prince and Voldermort's story. I'm not quite sure how they could have done the
Half-Blood Prince story well and besides the fact that the name is included in title, this could have easily been left out. To the non-reader, it was confusing and the idea that the HBP could have been Voldermort was never well-developed, thus the Snape reveal just fell flat.

Speaking of Voldermort, the shallow part of me is very disappointed that Ralph Fiennes never appeared on screen. I mean JKR did say that Tom Riddle was handsome and Ralph Fiennes...well it doesn't need to be said. However, the lack of Ralph Fiennes (yes, I love saying his name) also meant that the horcrux story was completely half-assed. I suppose the two memories that we saw were the most relevant to this story, but I think more time should have been spent to explain exactly what horcruxes were, how they were made etc., because they figure so greatly into Deathly Hallows and the conclusion of the series. Frankly that novel is so chock full of stuff going on, that this needed explanation now and not later.

I had major issues with the fact that Harry just stood there while Dumbledore was attacked. Totally out of character for him. He really needed to be stunned, seriously. Finally, I was not affected as deeply by Dumbledore's death and I agree with Jenn, that it would have been nice to have the funeral. There are other little things, like how will Harry know that there's a horcrux in the Room of Requirement, when he didn't have to get past it when he hid the HBP's textbook? I mean he needed to kiss Ginny at some point, but I can just see how annoyed I'll be when they just figure it out while hanging out in the jungle. *sigh* Not. Happy. At. All.

Lisa's Final Take: 2.5/5

Note: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies are to be released as follow:
Part I: November 19, 2010
Part II: June 15, 2011

as of 7/21/09 per


Anita July 29, 2009 at 12:25 AM  

Wow! I'm completely impressed with your HP knowledge!

Jenn August 3, 2009 at 8:36 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn August 3, 2009 at 8:36 PM  

Lisa, I was okay with Harry not interfering with Dumbledore's death. At first he was following orders, and then, just as things got out of hand and he might interfere, Snape was there. And though Harry didn't trust him, per the movie, he had no reason to think he wouldn't at least defend Dumbledore.

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