Watching Potter

harry-potter-and-the-half-blood-prince.jpg

T for Terrible acting. (5/10)

His world has grown, so have his fans. A review of the latest movie and the latest hype.

I haven’t been to an opening day of a movie in such a long time. In a decision I now regret, I brought a ticket to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, just because I can. I went to the theatre like a hour early, and was still like the 30th person in line waiting. Not so bad, you might think, but read on…

Before me in the queue were this bunch of kids–from whose age I can ascertain that they were in their mother’s wombs when the first book came out in 1997. Such popularity of HP books is astounding, but I digress. The thing was that these kids were from some sort of school and their friends kept coming and coming, and taking position in the line (which is less of a line than a melee) before me and the others who were there before. To add insult to injury, their parents were there, and not only did they not say anything to their kids’ disruptive queuing behavior but they themselves skipped the line and took the position beside their kids. That was just distasteful.

Then, the doors opened and my anger cooled off for a few minutes … until the trailers came up. I hated most of them; I kinda enjoyed Hitchcock allusion in Steve Carrell’s Despicable Me but that is it. The biggest claps and cheers from the audience went to the trailer of Twilight sequel and some asinine movie about a man going atop Empire State Building into a fantasy world or something.

Truthfully speaking, the film didn’t really disappoint me. It was a visual experience–something the last five movies (which possible exception of the Philosopher’s Stone) weren’t. Every scene is so meticulously constructed, and so perfectly lit that it is as if I was in an actual theatre. Visual effects have come a long way since the first movie too–Half-Blood Prince was part Gotterdammerung, part L.A. Confidential visually.

Acting, on the other hand, sucked. The greatest of the British theatrical corps cannot compensate the shortcomings of the young cast, who were given silly lines and silly parts. Unnecessary romantic subplot ran through the movie, which did away with far more important storylines. Malfoy was given too much screen time as a malicious lingering creep, but his fixing the vanishing cabinet apparently involves putting one thing after another in it. Inclusion of Aragog pleasantly amazed me, but the entire background of Lord Voldemort’s family and his loveless birth was left out. Bill and Fleur de la Cour were absent, and Fenrir Greyback is reduced to almost a caricature. The detailed information on Horcruxes were also withheld, which means that the last two movies will have a lot of things to explain.

Jim Broadbent was not Horace Slughorn I imagined but his acting was superb. Helena Bonham Carter steals the show as she always does, and the abandoned Great Hall scene reminds me of the Lord of Rings (perhaps another reason to recruit Ian McKellan as Aberfoth Dumbledore). However, the ending was anticlimactic–entirely devoid of emotion. It failed to implant a sense of anticipation or anxiety in me. Half-Blood Prince has no future.

If you haven’t read the books, don’t go to see it. You can get  Stendhal’s syndrome from the visuals, but as a movie adaptation of a book, it sucked. And as a movie? Both the acting and dialogue were hollow, cheesy and irreverent. Despite a stellar supporting cast, grand cinematography and splendid visual offering, it can only get 5/10 from me.

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