Yesterday, Ilene and I ducked out of work at the end of the afternoon to catch a screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Our impressions were pretty mixed. Both of us agreed that this film is probably best left to die-hard fans. Here’s what Ilene had to say at the end:
It’s all raging hormones and Death eaters in the new Harry Potter movie, but mostly the former. The kids are getting bigger (though some are getting bigger than others; Ginny Weasley seems to have a good couple of inches on Harry) so the boy-girl thing makes sense. But really, a third of the movie devoted to a love triangle between Hermoine, Ron, and Lavender Brown? (BTW, attention all Weasleys: enunciate!) It’s a good thing most of the audience of HBP will be fans of the book, because without a little backstory about the important bits, you will be lost. Like all the movies in the series, this one is Harry-Potter lite, but it would have benefited from a little less snogging and a lot more Half-Blood Prince.
I agree. Newcomers to the story will be pretty clueless – and even bored. Here’s a tender moment between Harry and Ginny that shows them well-matched in height, but perhaps Harry is standing on a riser:
And while the movie seems to be making a purposeful effort to grow Harry up in all the typical awkward teen ways (in one of the first scenes, for example, Harry breathes anxiously into his hand to check for bad breath after asking out a beautiful waitress), all the ensuing crushes and jealousy are much less interesting than the magic. But kids who want to see Death eaters in all their streaking, shrieking terror will find them wonderfully realized here.
In the end, it’s the handful of great performances (mostly from the adults; Alan Rickman, especially) and the big-budget special effects that make this worth the matinee price.
Have you seen it? Tell us what you thought.