Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Some thoughts on Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

Not that I'm happy Richard Harris died, but I do prefer Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. He seems more vital, more alive than Mr. Harris, who to me seemed to frail to pull of Dumbledore. Also, I'm probably inclined to prefer Gambon since he was in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, a personal favourite film and anyone who has been in a Wes Anderson can do no wrong. Except Owen Wilson, funnily enough. But that's neither here nor there, Gambon is great again as Dumbledore in this film.
I wish I felt like I was in love again, rather than feigned disinterest. I wasted my youth. Well, that's what I feel like anyway with everyone hooking up in this film. I never really bought into the Ron/Hermione hook-up in the books, and I still don't buy it here. I think that as separate people, they are attractive to the opposite sex, but I just don't buy THEM hooking up.
Nice tension built up in the movie. Draco has really grown into a great villian, really tortured. This story ( I originally wrote film, but changed it to story, since I'm not sure you get the full sense of it just from the movie, without having read the book) is almost really about the battle for Draco's soul. And what a sacrifice Dumbledore makes at the end, begging Severus to kill him so Draco doesn't have to.
And Snape, how good once again is Alan Rickman? I'll tell you how good, exceptionally good. (Did you see what I did there? In Die Hard Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber retorts back to Holly Genaro/McLean that he is an exceptional thief after she calls him a common thief. Just a little something for the kiddies there.) And Helen Bonham-Carter, just chews up her scenes. They say you can tell the quality of the hero by the quality of their villains, so I guess by that standard, Harry must be a pretty good hero.
Actually that was something I was thinking about Harry, how he does step up, how he doesn't back down. He knows there is evil in the world, and he doesn't run away from that being something he has to deal with. He's still a teenager, yet he's not prepared to just leave it for someone else to deal with, he takes that on. He is pretty heroic.
As I was watching the movie, I didn't really miss anything from the book. I haven't read it for awhile, so it's not fresh in my mind, but the only thing I missed when I was watching it was some early Tom Riddle stuff to do with his family, his mother, all that kind of stuff. But I didn't miss it all that much, more just realised its absence. Talking with Matt after, other things came up, but as always, you can't get everything in. It felt like a pretty good adaption.
It was nice to seen Luna Lovegood again, and a lot of the familiar faces that populate the films, even if they really don't have all that much to do. I kind of wish we could go back in time and re-make the first couple of films so that when the series is finally over, I can miss them a bit more fully, rather than just the later ones. You'd like to see them continue, popping in every year and see how they've been growing. It's kind of amazing and part of the appeal to see how they've all grown over the course of the films.
One final thought before I sign of, the chair. It's a little thing, and maybe inaccurate for me to think of, but Dumbledore's chair looks like many ornately carved chairs, but I wonder if the carving in it is appropriate. To me, I associate some of the carving with christian design work, so I wonder if a wizards chair would be using the same symbology as christian symblogy.
And now for some youtube clips, which i don't know how to embed, so you'll have to click on the link to them. They're both of a Japanese fan who won a competition and got to meet some of the cast. First up is Ron (Rupert Grint) and then Harry (Daniel Radcliffe). They're sweet and funny. I like 'em.
I just realised there's a Hermione (Emma Watson) one as well, but you probably just have seen that from the side menu over in youtube anyway, couldn't you.
(p.s, it's Snape)
Oops, sorry. Did I just spoil it?

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