Mixed Feelings About Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince

If you didn’t know it already, I am a Harry Potter fan. Not the dress up like Hermione and sleep in line for the new book kind of fan, but enough to make sure I see it on opening day. And you also need to understand that Half Blood Prince was pretty much my least favorite book [because it dragged on] so I am not surprised I didn’t care for the movie as much as the others [because it dragged on].

But my real beef centers around three major “faults” of the movie. And here comes spoilers so shut your browser now if you don’t know what they did differently OR if you are the only person on the planet who does not know that the shocking end of this book is.

1. Sucky performances.
Nobody pulled their weight this time around. Sure, Emma Watson sucks as every time, that’s a given – but ALAN RICKMAN? One of the most talented actors of our time? When he declares himself the Half Blood Prince and it’s like he’s asking for tea? WHAT THE HELL EVER. I’m going to put in Snow Cake this weekend, Alan, don’t worry.

2. Harry is not held captive in the death scene.
In the book, when Dumbledore gets killed, Harry has been shoved under his invisibility cloak and has a spell cast on him, rendering him silent and immobile. It would have been so much more emotional for Daniel Radcliffe, not to mention it’s terribly important plot point just in general. But no, they just had Harry standing there like a pansy ass. Pansy ASS. I wanted to throw my half eaten popcorn tub at the screen. [Cause *that’s* just how long the movie was. That I actually made it through *half* my popcorn.]

3. No funeral for Dumbledore.
When I read the end of Half Blood Prince, Bryan had to come check on me. I was curled over, convulsing, crying my bloody heart put for this old wizard and this amazing funeral and the image of a phoenix crying and singing and mourning him. The end of the movie was the LAMEST REPRESENTATION of that I could ever have imagined. LAME LAME LAMEITY LAME. David Yates, I hope all those people who *do* dress up and sleep in line for books give you a piece of their mind.

But alas. I can’t say I *hated* it. There was still so much of the of the the story that I love and enjoyed watching. And in David Yates defense, he definitely hired an amazing cinematographer.

I just wanted my damn funeral.

This article has 20 comments

  1. palinode

    Don’t blame Rickman for that utterly limp reveal of the identity of the Half-Blood Prince – you can heap your opprobrium on David Yates, who for some reason directed that scene to have all the dramatic impact of a spaghetti boiled long past the al dente point.

    I haven’t read the book, so my issues with the film were a little different than yours – but even without knowing the book’s ending, it was easy to feel the absence of Dumbledore’s funeral, as well as some kind of climactic battle. I did not find much drama in watching Helena Bonham Carter jump around and cackle in front of some CGI.

  2. Cobwebs

    Spoiler! (I guess!)
    Aside from the missing funeral, I was also surprised at the lack of any kind of fight with the Death Eaters who made it into the school. They kill Dumbledore, then…scurry away, giggling, into the night. Huh.

    Also Dumbledore was really phoning it in.

  3. Kerri Anne

    I totally disagree with you about Emma Watson, but the final scenes with Harry not having a spell cast on him, and the lack of funeral (not to mention the Weasley’s house burning down, wtf?) drove me crazy. Harry never would have stood by and watched Dumbledore die, HENCE why he didn’t in the book. It was a complete betrayal of who Harry is, as a character, which is why it’s annoying.

    And while we’re talking about Dumbledore, I think Michael Gambon has been horrible, acting-wise, ever since he replaced Richard Harris.

  4. Sarah SK

    I did think Tom Felton did a good job as far as the acting went. But the lack of the battle scene at Hogwarts and the added scene at the Burrow annoyed me.

  5. Meghann

    I haven’t seen it yet, but want to.

    I’m just holding out for the final movie. I really hope they knock the final battle scenes out of the park. I totally want to see McGonagall leading the desks on a charge and all that.

    And spoiler for those who haven’t read the final book: I totally want to see that final battle between Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix. If that gets left out, I’m going to stage a revolt of some sort.

  6. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    I’m not sure I got this across, but yes, totally – *David Yates* screwed up by making Alan Rickman look flat. Just like Goerge Lucas screwed up with…. oh, everybody.

    And I do have to say, I agree… Harry on the luck potion was quite good.

    But, while, I LOVE Jim Broadbent, I think they went overboard with his character and that is place they could have trimmed in exchange for a funeral – and OH YES – the weird addition of the Weasley’s house burning – WTF?!?!? Why why why?

    And I *still* completely disagree with the fact that they are breaking Deathly Hallows into 2 movies, seeing as most of the book was just the 2 of them meandering around and arguing, so adding the funeral to the beginning of that even makes all the timing weirder.

    But basically, I still stand by the thing that pissed me off by far the most was not making Harry be under a spell during Dumbledore’s death. Everything else was probably OK. That – NOT.

  7. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    oops. – just the 3 of them meandering.

  8. Anonymous

    No, Aimee, you are so right. Emma is a pretty girl but a terrible actress. She has gotten a bit better over the years, but lucky for us her part in this one was much smaller. – m

  9. Josh Clauss

    I don’t think the performances were bad, Aimee! I actually thought they were quite elevated. Alan Rickman didn’t have that many scenes in this movie, so it might have seemed as though he was underwhelming. But Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry character when he was under the luck potion? Inspired. Rupert Grint’s timing was on point – he had obviously taken a lot from the indie stuff he did in between HP flicks. Evanna Lynch’s Luna Lovegood upstaged the last movie’s. Then, JIM BROADBENT, ladies and gentlemen! He was fantastic! Even Ralph Fienne’s nephew as young Tom Riddle was perfectly cast.

    I don’t read the books and so cannot comment on the differences, although my movie companion who did made similar remarks about the plot diversion. However, after all the bad I heard about the movie, I thought this was my favorite installment of the series so far. Entertaining through and through.

  10. Meghann

    I’m sad it seems they are going to leave out all the Bill and Fleur stuff. I mean, I get why, but still. . .I loved Bill’s character in the books.

  11. J at www.jellyjules.com

    Didn’t read it, won’t bother…might see the movie, don’t much care…but my dear, and no offense here, but YOU are the pansy ass, because I finish my popcorn before the end of the opening credits. Wait, I just called myself a pig, didn’t I?

  12. Kelly

    I agree and disagree.
    I think it must be the Hardest thing to make a 700 page book into a movie anyone would watch. How hard it must be to still tell the story and leave SO much out.
    Apparently, the director has said the funeral would have made it an even longer movie, SO..they plan to put the funeral at the beginning of the NEXT movie, not the LAST movie, because, as I understand it, they plan to make the last book into 2 movies to get it all in.
    I always say…the movies are good ‘companions’ to the books. Would we be this upset if we didn’t know what we were missing?
    If you want to see a HORRIBLE movie based on a book, go see “Twilight”.

  13. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Jules, I just spit out my drink over you calling me a pansy ass. Freaking HILARIOUS!

  14. Meghann

    Ok, I went and saw it last night.

    I think mixed feelings is a good description. I have to admit that I don’t get the Oscar buzz I have read about. I didn’t think it was *that* good.

    I did grin like a fool during the quidditch stuff though, it was nice to see that one last time on the big screen.

    Last random tidbit-I think Tom Felton did a great job.

  15. Barb

    Amy-going to see it today so I am glad I read this and was forewarned. The funeral was the best part-I can’t believe they don’t show it!

  16. Nat

    Well if Rickman isn’t given enough to work with then what’s the point.

    He was delicious in the occlumancy seens in Order of the Phoenix which I just watch (again) with The Boy.

    I am of the opinion that after Order of the Phoenix the books (and therefore movies) sort of go downhill fast. It’s as if, Rowling just ran out of juice.

    As for this one, well, I’m going to wait for the release.

  17. kia

    I have read uncomfirmed rumors that the funeral opens The Deathly Hallows part one since that film fixates on avenging the Dumbledore’s death.

  18. Wenderina

    Having read your comments on this blog and several others like this did a great favor for me. I entered the theater with very low expectations, and was inordinantly pleased with the movie in the end. Mostly because the imagery was incredible. What bothers me most about every one of these movies is they end up feeling so choppy to me because all of the arcs and segues have to be removed to fit in the highlights. It also helps if you haven’t read the book in a while and you don’t realize everything that is missing. I like to re-read the book after the movie and experience all the details again. I loved Jim Broadbent and the drunk scene with the luck potion was priceless. I have to admit I had forgotten the funeral (I don’t know how!) so I was totally captivated by the elevated wands and the soaring phoenix at the end.

  19. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Yeah, I kind of wish I had known what it was going to be like when I went. And yes, the wands raised was nice – just not a replacement, kwim?

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