‘Half-Blood Prince’ Epitomized Movie Magic
By Brittany Combs
I took my second-row seat at the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ready to return to Hogwarts. And after the first dash, duck and dive scene that took me on the tail of the Death-Eaters through the deserted streets of London, I knew the sixth installment of the Potter series was going to be a different journey altogether.
From a cinematic perspective, director David Yates created a chilling and dreary atmosphere where the air is almost tangibly damp and the threat of impending doom is constantly looming. The magical fantasy world that Potter fans have come to know and love was glazed over with terror and shades of gray.
In an impressive two hours and 33 minutes, Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves condensed author J.K. Rowling’s 600-plus page book into a movie rich with lingering fear, comedic performances and the flutterings of young love Yates balanced the dark and dismal tale with a considerable amount of focus on the romantic connections flourishing within the corridors of Hogwarts.
The Half-Blood Prince saw a great deal of “snogging” as well as heartbreak as the characters awkwardly delve into the previously unexplored territory of teenage romance. This heavy concentration on the personal lives of our favorite witches and wizards was something fans had yet to see in the Potter series, but it helped to dilute the otherwise serious nature of the movie. If having “good skin” were the only thing 16-year-old boys discussed about the girls they’re interested in, life would be good.
The lighthearted nuances of young love were not the only scenes that had audiences smiling. The Quidditch was better than ever with animation that has grown in leaps and bounds in quality since Potter first stepped on the field. The magic behind the digital wizardry is at its best in The Half-Blood Prince.
The movie was not without fault, however. The most hardcore of Potter fans were not pleased. Invented scenes that did not seem to advance the storyline took up time that could have been lent to essential plot points that Kloves and Yates apparently deemed unnecessary and cut from the final product. The most grievous of these omissions was the in-depth portrait of Voldemort and his history. Tom Riddle and his horcruxes took the backseat while Hogwart’s headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) was preoccupied with questioning Harry about his love life.
While the most avid of fans were upset with the creative liberties that strayed from Rowling’s original text, the average fan could complain that Yates and Kloves didn’t add enough. If viewers hadn’t read the books or watched the previous movies recently, they spent the entire movie straining to remember just how things had been left off and what exactly was happening.
Yet even with the deviations and over-looked details from the book, the movie does not skimp on the danger, anxiety and unease that is the foundation of Rowling’s Half-Blood Prince. Overall, it was an important and necessary transitional link that served to build anticipation for Potter’s final showdown.
The 7th book will be broken down into two films, which will hopefully give Yates the creative ability to include all that is important without losing the whimsical and humorous side notes that makes the books so lovable.
All in all, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince displayed maturity not only in plot line and production, but within the characters themselves. Fans have been following Harry’s plight for many years now, and they have been maturing right alongside their favorite wizard himself. While you can never please them all, I think most fans would agree that Half-Blood Prince epitomized “movie magic.”