Thursday, July 16, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I saw the sixth Harry Potter movie last night. It's an excellent movie, and a worthy adaptation of the book.

The movies have done a great balancing act in creating movies that really work with being true to the theme of the books. There are plenty of changes from the book version, even creating things that don't happen in the book. This is done so that the ethics and points made by the book are still conveyed through the film.

I was wondering just how they would do this. So much of the sixth book is dialogue with Harry and Dumbledore (which of course, includes Harry's thoughts and impressions, which are difficult to convey in film). The themes of trust, friendship, and complicated connections are conveyed well by the actors and dialogue.

The humor in the book, which could have easily been lost in the darkness of the themes, comes through well. And while I still think the books are far superior to the films (less limitations and more time to develop), the fantastic acting is a joy to watch. Everyone is solid, I could rave about at least a half dozen performances, but I must admit to being very impressed by Tom Felton's Malfoy (which is a nod to the writers and directors as well). This dark, lonely young man both wants to be accepted, but is terribly only sure thought being his hatred for Harry (which Harry returns in kind). I believed every moment of his screentime.

The "Sectumsempra" scene is tough to watch because it's so good and powerful, clearly showing what violence...even in the name of good...can do, and what follows is a movie alteration of combining scenes for multiple purposes that really work.

The concluding scenes leave everyone quiet and emotional (even though almost everyone knows what's coming.) Book enthusiasts will notice major changes here, and most of them work (except for the lack of other students joining the fight, which for me was a understandable, but unfortunate obmission).

It's not the book, but honestly, it doesn't try to be. HP6 is a fantastic, well acted movie, and JK Rowling's themes from her series shine through.

(One word of warning: don't see this movie without seeing the other movies...even if you've read the books...the movie plays better with the "movie background.")

Finally, I can't help but share this story as well, for it is such a reversal from the previous statements of fear towards the Harry Potter series:
Vatican lauds good and evil theme

1 comment:

Fran said...

Kurt, I agree on all counts. Great movie, well-acted, wonderful special effects, understandable edits to make a nearly 1000 page book into a 2.5 hour movie. Can't wait to see it again, for nuance. (There's less nuance for me, when I'm watching at midnight, really!)