Excitement is in the air as Harry Potter fans storm theaters around the country to see the 6th installment of Harry Potter better known as Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (I shall refer to it as HP6). Last night midnight screenings across the US grossed $22 million, which is astounding considering fans were seriously thinking about protesting the film due to Warner Brothers’ decision to push back the release from November 2008 to 2009. I was fortunate enough to attend the advance screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but figured I’d wait until the release date to post something. I thought it would be cruel to write about the movie, get everyone excited, and still they would have to wait… so now that everyone can see it here we go…
I am a Harry Potter movie and book fan, that read Half Blood Prince in the fall of 2007 immediately after reading Order of the Phoenix. I couldn’t stand how emo Order of the Phoenix was. If you’ve seen the movie you know that it was a heavy story (if not go here to catch up)… I remember leaving the theaters feeling incomplete and depressed. I missed the magic. I wanted Harry to finally catch a break. I felt like all hope was lost…On Monday night at Ward Consolidated theaters, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel (and no it’s not a fast approaching train). Harry is back!
The thing I was most impressed with in HP6 was how well the story was translated to film. I’m sure you’ve been a victim of this… you read an amazing book, you go to see the motion picture, you leave disappointed (i.e. Da Vinci Code and Twilight). David Yates did a great job in selecting crucial moments in the book and building the scenes from the book in real life. To me the movie was exactly what I envisioned in my head when I read the book. The one fatal flaw, as always, is you can never fit all 704 pages of a book into 2 1/2 hours. In this movie, you don’t really get to see the story of the Half Blood Prince, nor do you get to see all of the memories of Lord Voldemort, but we all knew they were going to have to leave things out. Was the story of the Half Blood Prince that important in the grand scheme of things? Not really. If you want to know all the nitty gritty details, read the book, but if you don’t and you just watch the movies, you’ll still get all the main points.
HP6 breathed life back into the Harry Potter Film series… its not the studio or director’s fault that the movies hit an emo point, its just how it was written by JK Rowling. Life can’t be happy and magical all the time, you know.
In the previous movie, everything sucked for Harry… Dumbledore distanced himself from Harry, an annoying lady took over Hogwarts, Harry struggles to find good in himself, and in the last big battle of the movie, Harry loses his God Uncle, Sirius Black, who was the one person Harry looked to as family. How could any of that make you feel good? Director David Yates and his team (with a little help from JK Rowling) brought everything we loved about Harry Potter back in Half Blood Prince. Everything seems to go back to normal…Dumbledore is back in command and once again Hogwarts is the one safe haven for Harry and his friends. YES! JUSTICE! But wait it gets better. Throw in the first awkward puppy love moments, a serum that makes you totally lucky, and memories showing the origins of the evil wizard known as Voldemort and you get the perfect come back. Oh and did I mention they brought back Quidditch, the awesome wizard version of soccer/football?
The story is not all warm and fuzzy… there is death and there are tears, but you’ll understand that the loss suffered in this movie gives Harry a purpose in the next two movies. Harry is no longer this helpless kid that cheats death with the help of Dumbledore. Harry is now the “Chosen One” forced to take on the mission of bringing down, Lord Voldemort and saving the rest of the wizarding world. You almost want Harry to end the movie by saying, “Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing” with Ron and Hermione at his side as the screen fades to black… with the Optimus Prime voice of course.
To keep this short, Half Blood Prince brought hope back to the film franchise and will leave you anxious for the last installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So forget your principals and all your anger at Warner Brothers for pushing it back… get to the theater. You won’t regret it.