I saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Friday night.
It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great, in my opinion, but it wasn’t bad.
Now, I read the entire series several years ago now. In fact, I finished the last one while I was in the hospital getting chemotherapy. But, it’s been so long since I read the books that I don’t remember all the fine details. I did, however, see the movie with a friend who does remember that kind of thing and he said that the movie was very true to the book. The one deviation is that the funeral at the end of the book is not in the movie.
Now, here there be spoilers, so if you don’t know the story, skip to the last paragraph now.
So, okay, most of what I remember from the book was there, for sure. A little different and compressed, of course, but mostly still there. I have to admit, I skipped a couple of these movies, in part because I was going through a divorce and cheating death when at least one or two of them came out. But, also, I just wasn’t that into the movies. I couldn’t stop reading the books when I started them because I had to know what happened next, but not so much with the movies.
All that being said, I remember more mushy romance, more dark, dark, dark stuff with Tom Riddle/Voldemort as a boy. He was pretty nasty and they just hint at what ways he may have been a mean, cruel young man and why in the movie. Also, I seem to recall more mystery and intrigue with the Draco Malfoy sub-plot and the whole thing with Severus Snape. By the time we got to the famous Dumbldore murder scene in the book, you’re not sure what side Snape is on and convinced that Harry must die to defeat Voldemort. But, I wasn’t sold by the end of the movie. Granted, I know how things turn out, but, frankly, Rickman’s heart just didn’t seem to be in Snape this time out. I think he may be getting tired of this role, but I’m sure he’s getting paid quite well to do it, so, whatever.
There was one scene that stood out for me which was just how I remembered it from the book, though. When Dumbledore and Harry go to get the horcrux in the cavern on the storm-wracked coast, it was pretty well as I remembered it. Or, perhaps, even better. Pulling up the boat from the hidden lake via the chain, and the corpses beneath it are both just how I pictured them. Especially those angry, swampy corpses trying to drag Harry down to join them.
Other parts, though, just seemed a little glossed over, which, I suppose, is why they’re breaking the last book into two movies. Also, bigger profits.
The one thing that they left out, which surprised me, was the very formal funeral of Dumbledore. I suppose it would have taken too much time and, besides, they got the point across with the scene that did end the film.
All in all, though, in spite of some variation from the book, this was a very good movie. I don’t think it was a great movie, like the first one, but it was well worth seeing. Also, it was one of the better films of the season, for sure. If you’re a fan of the books, or just a fan of the earlier movies, this is a must-see movie. If you haven’t, somehow, seen the other movies at least, go rent them, then see this movie, or you’ll be totally lost.
So, final verdict, good and worth seeing, but not great.