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July 22, 2009

Whining and pining: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

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Written by: Kat Clay
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Forget magical spells, secret passages and mysterious prophecies. Love stinks, even for wizards who have survived Voldemort. That’s the moral of the newly released Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Emotions run high in the new Harry Potter movie

Emotions run high in the new Harry Potter movie

In the sixth installment of the Potter franchise, Harry finds himself again at Hogwarts in the wake of Voldemort’s attack on the Ministry of Magic. Together with buddies Hermione and Ron, they… Actually I’m not sure what they do in the movie. They don’t attend many classes. They don’t hunt down Voldemort. They don’t really investigate mysterious goings on. They just seem to float from scene to scene, like a contemporary Odysseus with a wand. Oh that’s it. They spend the whole film trying to attract members of the opposite sex, and when they’re not doing that, they’re pining about unrequited love. There’s more teenage angst here than a vampire in high school.

Apart from love-lorn teenagers, there’s not much to this Harry Potter film. The movie suffers from trying to fit too much content into a small space of time. There’s no coherency between scenes and a great deal of prior knowledge is needed before you can understand what the hell is going on. At one point, we are told that Dumbledore is travelling, only to have him reappear in the next scene. The supporting characters whizz in and out like a game of Quiddich.

Going to the film with my non-Potter reading husband, I suffered through a series of glaring plot hole questions.
‘Who are those guys?’ he asked, stuffing his face with maltesers. ‘They’re the good guys,’ I said.
Five minutes later: ‘Who are those guys?’ he asked, pointing to a group dressed in black trying to kill Harry Potter.
‘They’re the bad guys.’
Ten minutes later: ‘Where did that giant spider come from?’
‘Shut up,’ I whispered. ‘I paid for your ticket. You have no right to complain.’
‘This movie sucks.’ And so it continued for the whole 153 minutes.

The young actors in the film look increasingly out of their depth when compared with such stalwarts as Alan Rickman, who revels in his role as the sneering Professor Snape. He’s one of the best things about the series, being perfectly cast as the ambivalent professor with a distaste for all things Potter. Solid actors, such as Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) and Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall), are underused in what is a jilted, time starved and confusing film.

Some of the special effects are great, such as the ink drops forming memories and the initial five minutes of dementor destruction. But the ambience can only carry the film so far. As a Harry Potter fan, I enjoyed being back in the Hogwarts world once more, but as a film reviewer I can’t help but dislike the movie. I just wish I could cast Reparo over the entire film.

About the Author

Kat Clay
Kat Clay loves fiction, travelling and giant squid. She is trained in fencing, speaks five languages and is being considered as the next Bond villain.



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  1. Saul

    Ha, interesting. Most people are saying this is the best of the film series, and I certainly thought it was up there. It was more character-driven than most of the others. Sure, it’s not the book, but none of them are. I’d really rather the films had never been made, but oh well, that’s the price of success.

  2. Amy

    Good review, although maybe a little harsh :)

    You did miss out the character who I thought absolutely stole the show – Luna Lovegood. She was the best!

  3. Jared

    Kat, great review – I completely agree, and I haven’t even seen the film. But I’m sure if I ever got around to seeing it, dragged kicking and screaming, after having first embarked on a mass shooting spree, I would concur.

    As my dear friend Peter days, Harry Potter and the Chamberpot of Secrets. Sums it up pretty well, I feel.

  4. #1

    I was actually enjoying the film. Right up until all of a sudden Harry and Ginny *might* have become an item without any of the publicity of the book, and all of a sudden the movie careened off the rails and I was left wondering what had happened. Dumbledore could apparate out of Hogwarts?! There was no battle? No Bill? No Fleur? No spell preventing Harry from acting on his instincts to save Dumb- wait… he didn’t do anything even though he wasn’t being magically prevented from doing – who was that and what did Steve Kloves do with Harry?!

    Did you sit through the credits? There was an actual-factual Snape listed!

  5. Jenna

    hahhaha!!! I loved it!!! you took the words right out of my mouth!!!!…. I’ve read the book and i was like, i don’t remember all the lovely-dovey stuff happening!!!… gimme action!!! Well done! loved the review!

  6. Grant

    thats how I feel, but I still think alot has to to do with David Yates!! Not the next two movies as well!! ARGH!!!!!!
    His control of the material sucked in Pheonix and this one was def. worse!!! NO STANDARD DIRECTION, give us back Directors with Imagination, style and understanding. They made what works in books and gave that material life, energy and pace on screen. Get rid of YATES!!

  7. Erik

    A good read – though I still enjoyed the movie ;-)

  8. This film sucked. And I don’t like how you have portrayed your husband KC. (give me some more maltesers)

  9. Jonathan

    I generally agree with what you wrote but I also enjoyed the movie, and I like the movies better than the books. I enjoyed the movie because it started to tie up a lot of loose ends in the books. As a movie in the sequence of movies it was pretty satisfying but it mightn’t be great as a stand-alone.
    And I agree with Amy that Luna Lovegood is stealing every scene.
    I was also surprised there was so little Snape in the movie. I vaguely remember the book was much more about Harry & Snape than the movie was.
    Anyway, still had a rocking time watching the movie. And we get two more!! That’s one BONUS movie.

  10. On the whole, I agree with you. It was an enjoyable enough watch, but I thought it could have been a much better film. It just seemed a bit all over the place to me.

  11. Felicity

    Now that I got around to seeing the movie, I do agree with most of it. Though since I have basically forgotten what happened in the books (like the massive fight) I guess it didnt annoy me that much. And I had the same issue with the husband, though it was “who does that chick get with in the end?” and I didn’t have any maltesers to shut him up with.

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