Saturday, July 18, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Hormones are on the loose at Hogwarts. Oh, and so is the Dark Lord. Those two concepts pretty well summarize the latest Harry Potter endeavor. Now as with the others, I haven't read the book, so can't compare the movie to the text, but given its two and a half hour run time, I'm sure they kept as much in the movie as they could. David Yates returns to helm his second movie in the franchise, and The Half Blood Prince continues the dark path set out in the previous installment.

Voldemort is back (even though he's actually been back for two movies now) and everything effectively has hit the fan. His army, known as Death Eaters has been striking those that would oppose them in what I suppose could be described as guerrilla warfare. With each attempt they are getting closer and closer to Hogwarts. And of course, once again, it's up to Harry Potter to step up. Professor Dumbledore continues to predict an ever more dire situation, and gets Harry ever more in over his head. Even more than in the past, it's become imperative to question who they can trust, and that number is dwindling.

But there's a major distraction getting in the way of him from saving the world- girls. Love triangles abound as our student wizards are blossoming into adults (or something like that). I understand this is an important part of character development, but it brought this fantasy romp dangerously close to teenage drama. The New Moon trailer that preceded the movie gave me enough of that. This resulted in no few awkward scenes of students quarreling with uncomfortable professors looking on. I'm sure they were thinking the same thing I was.

The Half Blood Prince did deliver what I expect from a Harry Potter movie. The visuals not only looked gorgeous, but were very unique. This franchise has adopted abstract literacy in the form of beautiful transitions creating a look of the uncanny. Actual liquid extract of memory, mixing like ink water to reveal those flashbacks was a creative and stunning approach to a simple scene transition. But in an even more conventional sense, everything about this movie looks great.

Like I said before, this installment has continued the series down a dark direction. You can tell just from the trailers featuring the horror movie-esque creatures swarming out an underground lake. I've had this rant before (probably with the previous Harry Potter movie even) that movies seeming to have a very young target audience are getting more and more intense. These movies suffer from this, Transformers suffered from it, and others do as well. The Half Blood Prince is the first movie since the 3rd one to get a PG rating, which I think was given out a little easily. There are some genuinely unsettling moments in this movie. And there are multiple scenes when the characters act drunk or even stoned (seriously).

Half Blood Prince was fun. It was a visual feast, and despite being dark in nature, had probably more funny moments than any of the other ones. There were multiple times when the audience laughed uproariously (including myself). It just suffers a little from bringing too much of that teenage drama to play. A little bit is fine and even necessary, but c'mon, the world is at stake, who cares who Ron is going out with.


1 comment:

The Fighting Librarian said...

Read the books, Harry. They're new and improved.