Harry Potter and the Half -blood Prince
I went to see the sixth Harry Potter movie today, believing that I'd come away dissappointed. I am so very relived to report, therefore, that it exceeded my expectations with flying colours. I LOVED it!
Where to begin? Let's start with the characters. I can't think of a better actor to play Horace Slughorn than Jim Broadbent. He was PERFECT for the role. Although his interpretation of Slughorn was rather less enthusiastic and perhaps a tinge melancholic, the character was richer for it.
I thought this movie also presented a much mellower Albus Dumbledore, a fact that I greatly appreciated, for I didn't quite enjoy Micheal Gambon's frenzied headmaster in the last few movies. It was also most comforting to see Maggie Smith as McGonagall and Alan Rickman as Snape again. They OWNED the scene, whenever they were in it. I must say that I've always liked the fact that Alan Rickman portrays a much "kinder" Snape, who is much, much colder in the book.
Still cringing over lovestruck teen scenes from "Twilight", I wasn't looking forward to teenage mush, but thankfully, the director and scriptwriters didn't cheapen JKR's fine work with burgeoning hormones. The young actors all did really well, even the bad guys. Tom Felton has always performed admirably as Draco Malfoy, but there is a sense of vulnerability about him this time around. All the young Voldemorts also did really well.
Emma Watson did Hermione Granger justice in this movie; Rupert Grint, revisits his comical side, and presents a less broody Ron Weasley; Evanna Lynch, the girl who plays Luna Lovegood, shines as usual during her screen time, which I wish there were more of; Bonnie Wright, who plays Ginny Weasley did really well too. One could tell she was nervous about her on-screen kiss, but that added to the sweet innocence of it all. Daniel Radcliffe is, on the other hand, must be a veteran in intimate scenes by now, having waved his "wand" onstage for Equus and all.
I liked the fact that they fast forwarded a lot of the relationships in this movie. Here, Hermione and Harry were open to each other about their respective crushes from the get go, and Lupin and Tonks were already a couple (but why wasn't her hair pink?). No Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour though.
They may have skipped the marvelous beginning of the book, where the Minister for Magic shakes up the muggle prime minister, but I felt footage of a crumbling Millennium Bridge was far more effective in showing the muggle world in peril.
One particular scene of destruction that made me shed a tear, however, was the burning of The Burrow. I don't think that was in the book, but it sent shivers down my spine. This was the place that Harry and his best mates felt safest in, but now it's gone.
This, to me, is the best adaptation of a Harry Potter book to the silver screen. It pleases grown ups and teenagers alike, but will probably scare the little ones. My 5-year old son didn't like it much.
* Image via Wikipedia.