Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-book Movie

Or Harry Potter and the Half-baked Movie.

Whichever name you call it by, the sixth movie in the Harry Potter series keeps the average Pottermaniac glued to the seat for most of its 2 hour 33 minute duration and leaves them longing for more in the end. Quite literally. And I don't say this as a compliment. I say this because the movie leaves out very important plot points in favour of some fancy scenes invented by the director.

Maybe I am not a very good reviewer, because a person who wears a Hogwarts school T-shirt to the movie can hardly be expected to be objective. Also, the fact that my companion kept me waiting for a few hours in front of the theatre and failed to turn up or inform anything did not help. This is the second time I watched a movie alone (I mean without some company- the theatre was full enough) and I am not keen to repeat the experience. However, let me try to evaluate the movie in as fair a manner as possible.

First of all, this is the first movie in the series where I did not feel the flow of time. In earlier movies, there is a clear flow of time as events follow one another during the academic year at Hogwarts. Here, each event seemed to be an occurrence by itself, without referring to the notches on the time scale. It is true that we see some snow, and Christmas comes (only so that Harry could go to The Burrow), but then during the attack on The Burrow the land is still as swampy as in summer.

And while we are at it, when did the death eaters ever attack The Burrow? That was not earlier than Bill and Fleur’s wedding seven months later. Why was that scene needed? Just to show that Harry and Ginny loved each other? To provide a little more screen time to Bellatrix Lestrange (who is a bit too theatrical for my tastes) and Fenrir Greyback? All this could have happened at Hogwarts in the end. There wasn’t even a battle at Hogwarts.

Secondly, what happened to all those memories of Voldemort’s youth and his family? No mention of Marvolo GrantGaunt, the Riddle family or Hufflepuff’s cup. I wonder how they are going to continue the next movie without showing these things.

But most importantly, who is the Half-blood Prince? Why wasn’t it mentioned why he is the Half-blood Prince? We once hear him mentioned with respect to the book, and then, he himself announces of his being the Half-blood Prince in the end. The whole importance of the name of the movie is lost on the non-reading viewers.

But the movie had possibilities to excel. Although Professor Slughorn is a bit too thin, the cinematography and the music in this movie are really good. The special effects are brilliant and so is the acting mostly. However, I really do not understand why David Yates and Steve Kloves think they can tell a better story than J. K. Rowling. Evidently they do think that way, or they wouldn’t have messed up the ending so much. And the free goggles coming with The Quibbler can see wrackspurts? Really? Are these filmmakers dumber than the millions of Harry Potter fans who understand that there are no wrackspurts or crumple-horned snorkacks?

In the end, a Harry Potter movie is all about fans; fans who swear by each tiny incident in each book, and I don’t think those fans will approve of this movie. I understand that a book and a movie are very different forms of story-telling and everything from a book cannot be incorporated in a movie. I am not being unreasonable about this point. As a proof, I will say that I fairly liked the fourth and fifth movies although they omitted sections of the book. However, this movie leaves out sections that are critical to the storyline. I would like to see how they are going to fix this problem in the next movie.