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Love Is In The Air July 14, 2009

Posted by Alichat in Life.
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Last night, I saw Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince.  I won a pair of tickets through a contest with the local NBC station……hell, I won 4 pair of tickets, Mere won 3, Abby 2, Carla & Jeff,  Julie, and Betsy got a pair each.  Yep, there were 24 of us altogether.  We took up three rows at the theatre.  Last time I saw a sneak preview of Harry Potter, the show was at 7:30.  Mere and I arrived at 4:30 to turn in our invite and get our wrist bands.  We then marched around the corner, down the sidewalk, and to the back of the theatre to get in line.  We were standing by the dumpsters.  Yep, 3 hours before the show, and the line wrapped halfway around the theatre already.  We were searched, wanded, and patted down.  So, fast forward two years, and I’ve repeated this story to all who are coming.  Since the show starts at 7pm, we decide to be there between 4 and 4;30.  Abby and I enter the theatre at 4:00pm to find we are the first people there.  **cue laughter here**  Yep, we got there before anyone.  We’d left our phones in the car, so it wasn’t until a few others showed up that we were able to get texts and calls out alerting people that leadfooting and running red lights wasn’t necessary.  We took over two tables and 16 chairs and sat in the lobby chatting about this and that, breaking out in loud, spontaneous laughter, renditions of the School House Rock songs upon learning that Courtney’s daughter Morgan didn’t like The Happening because it was grammatically incorrect.  (Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?!), and our own hilarious version of We Are The World (we are the line, we were the first ones, we were the ones who got here right at 4, so you’d better back offfffff)  The theatre security had seen us show up first, so kindly, they let us enter the theatre first.  We also were not wanded or patted down, and cell phones were allowed as long as they were turned off.  Funny how in our world of bootlegging, they have become more lax with security.

On to Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince.  DON’T READ PAST THIS POINT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED!!!!!   As always, there are things in the film that I would add, take out, or change.  If you’ve read the book, you know that there’s alot of teenage love and angst, alot of flashbacks or backstory, and all the action is in the last two chapters.  Director David Yates has added a few scenes that were either not in the book, or were merely mentioned in passing.  Visually, the two biggest additions were stunning.  I especially loved the Death Eater’s attack on Diagon Ally and the destruction of the Millennium Bridge (Brockdale in the book,) which has us zoom between buildings and through windows as if we are flying with the Death Eaters.  I can’t wait to see it in IMAX!  The second scene is the attack on the Burrow, which was not in the book.  I’m a little torn on this scene.  Again visually enthralling, but I think I’m torn mostly because of how it ended.  I won’t go into too much detail about the film but do want to point out that Jim Broadbent as Professor Slughorn, the new Potions professor, is fantastic.  While he doesn’t physically epitomize the character from the book (think Raymond Burr with a bushy mustache,) he has the heart of Professor Slughorn, who loves to be in the company of those who are exceptional and famous.  Broadbent, who you will remember from such films as Bridget Jones’ Diary, Moulin Rouge, and Iris, is charming and flutteryHis best scene is in Hagrid’s hut, where Harry finally extracts the long sought memory.  Alan Rickman is, as always, commanding and vile.  My only complaint was that his confrontation with Harry at the end needed to mirror the book more.  It was lacking.  Tom Felton, who has spent the last 5 movies making snide remarks and scowling as Draco Malfoy, comes into his own in this film.  Draco’s mission is a big thread throughout the book, and Felton is brilliant at conveying the layers of emotion torturing Draco throughout this school year.

But, we must not forget that love is in the air at Hogwarts.  Harry is just realizing he has feelings for Ginny, with Hermione making the same realization about Ron.  Bonnie Wright does a wonderful job as Ginny Weasley, taking on a larger role in this film than the previous.  Ron, who is blissfully ignorant at times, acquires a new girlfriend in Lavender Brown, who loves to smother her ‘Won Won’ and snog him through most of the film.  Jessie Cave is the recast Lavender Brown, and does a terrific job as the fawning and swooning girlfriend.  Rupert Grint….LOVE Rupert Grint….is hysterical as Ron.  He has natural comic timing which is especially great to see when Ron has gotten into Harry’s love potion laced chocolates.  Even Daniel Radcliffe gets to stretch his comedic chops after Harry gets a little punch drunk from his Felix Felicitis potion.  “And pincers!”

My three biggest complaints about the film concern the cave, the major death, and final fight scene.  In the film, Harry and Dumbledore venture into a cave where Voldemort has hidden a horcrux.  I love this scene in the book.  And while it is a powerful scene in the movie, the cave did not appeal to me.  I expected your standard seaside cave, worn from the constant crashing of the waves.  But the cave in this film reminded me of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.  It didn’t appear to be made from rock, but from big chunks of crystal.  And what happened to the green glow from the basin?   And after the cave exploration, Harry and Dumbledore return to Hogwarts just as Draco is letting the Death Eaters into the school.  Dumbledore orders Harry to hide and not come out or intervene no matter what he sees.  This scene bothered me greatly.  In the book, Dumbledore puts Harry, who is under his invisibility cloak, in a body bind.  Harry wants to, but can not move to assist Dumbledore.  There is no way that Harry would just stand there and let Dumbledore die, no matter what he promised him.  Having this in the film seems a dramatic turn in his character, and I’m startled that JK Rowling let it pass.  Lastly, where was the fight between the staff of Hogwarts, Dumbledore’s Army, and the Death Eaters?  It didn’t have to be a long fight, but even a few minutes of  them fighting in the halls of the school.  Eliminate the scene of Bellatrix destroying the dining hall.  Add them fighting in the halls, as Draco, Snape, and company make an escape.  It seems illogical that a professor and student walking with known Death Eaters and a wanted Werewolf would just be able to stroll out of the building.  And, as previously stated,  the fight between Harry and Snape was slow and lacking.  Otherwise, I really enjoyed this movie, and the good outweighs the bad.  There’s loads of  humor, Fred and George’s Joke shop, which was whimsical and fun, Luna! (greatly under-appreciated character), interiors of the Burrow (“Harry’s here?” “Did I hear an owl?”), and more Quidditch than we saw in Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire combined.  Again, can’t wait to see it in IMAX!  It leaves you impatient for the release of  Deathly Hallows.   

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Comments»

1. Joelle - July 15, 2009

I agree–it all makes sense to me. While I loved it, I did leave the theatre feeling a bit “Is that all?” When Cora turned to me and told me it was 10 after 2 this morning, I replied, “So we’ve got half an hour and then we wait another year?” :o)

I wasn’t able to re-read 6 before the movie, so I’d forgotten a lot of the details, but right, the torching of the Burrow didn’t “feel” right to me, nor did the final fight scenes. I feel the same thing you did, A, about wanting more of the fight scenes. Oh, and I remember reading Dumbledore’s ceremony through tears and imagining Fawkes’ haunting singing—I would’ve loved to see how that looked on film. Yes, Yates captured the love theme throughout, and perhaps this is the 30/40-ish me rambling, but I would’ve liked some of the other themes to have been portrayed more, too.

That being said, I think Felton did a great job of conveying his inner turmoil throughout, but I would’ve appreciated more of that developed in the film. Rickman was fabulous and yummy as ever, and those kids have really grown up into their own. Wow!

2. Alichat - July 15, 2009

Yeah, at first I was ok with Dumbledore’s funeral not being portrayed. Well, I shouldn’t say ok, but it didn’t bother me as much as the lack of fight at the end. But I was talking to Abby last night about the film, and it seems to bother me more and more. The entire conversation between Harry, Ron, and Hermione at the end in the tower could have taken place at the funeral. Even if it was a situation where we saw the funeral in the background while we were watching this conversation between the three (as it was in the book). At least there would have been some acknowledgement that there was a big funeral for the man, and he was buried at Hogwarts.

But I suppose none of the movies will ever be perfect, right?


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