Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

There's just something wrong with this image.

There's just something wrong with this image.

Synopsis: Well, Harry’s like, “oh my god, why are people expecting me to do something crazy like fight Voldemort, I have bigger things to deal with, like, I’m totally into my best friend Ron’s little sister Ginny cause she’s like, smart and funny and attractive, plus she’s got really good skin, but she’s dating this other dude and my heart is in pieces whenever I see them snogging cause she should totally be with me cause I’m the Chosen One, and it drives me insane that she isn’t” and Hermione’s like, “I’m totally into Ron and would do anything and everything for him, but he’s going out with Lavender who’s a crazy bitch, and they’re always like totally making out in front of everyone and I cry every night but he’s just whatever, and Harry’s like boohoo I’m in love with Ginny Weasley, which I don’t care about, and my life is SO HARD” and Ron’s like, “whatever babe, I’m a jock”. Oh, and Snape kills Dumbledore.

Recommended for: Harry Potter fans. And, well, is anyone left once you remove that population?

Review: You know, I’ve always thought that  J.K. Rowling’s outing of Dumbledore was an incredibly unnecessary and inappropriate move on her part. Yes, I’m sure some may think that Dumbledore being gay is indeed a huge step forward for the gay community. Personally, I’m not so sure. I mean, I don’t think that any community wants to be associated with a man who picks up underage boys in subways before whisking them off to an empty street in the middle of the night, only to abandon him in the middle of a marsh in the English countryside. I mean, that sounds more like the plot of a modern adaptation of Nabokov’s classic novel. Plus, it’s really hard to take the world’s most powerful (and most criminally negligent) wizard seriously when the filmmakers are trying to drop not-so-subtle hints about his sexuality, what with his rather decorative robe, his interest in women’s magazines, his interior decorating skills, his flamboyantly stylish muggle attire, or most tellingly, his interest in Harry’s love life and apparent jealousy towards Hermione. Yes, I really had a hard time keeping a straight face in any scene between Harry and Dumbledore, because the dialogue is oh so very open to the wrong interpretations, which I do, of course, since I am juvenile. I mean, it’s really hard to resist reading things in utterly wrong ways. It’s so much funnier that way.

Speaking of which, I really thought the movie did a great job juggling with the multiple storylines, making sure that each one got enough screentime. Well, the rather amusing attempt at a romantic subplot could have been shorter, but I guess it was necessary for the filmmakers to explain how the characters end up with each other in the end. I mean, I still have trouble believing that Harry would end up with Ginny and Ron ending up with Hermione in the end, because it just seems to come out of the blue. The blue being Book 6, although technically Book 5 was the blue one and Book 6 was actually green but you know what I mean. And they’re 16/17! How on earth are they mature enough to know what/who they want? And none of that “oh, we risked our lives fighting the most powerful dark wizard of all time so we became adults through that” nonsense, we’ve all been through that. I guess it’s because they’re British. Or lead poisoning from those goblets that they drink from. But anyway, I thought they did a really good job capturing that sort of young, hormonal, heartbreaking sort of romance that’s so popular with the youth these days. Yes, it made the movie possible to be one of the best romantic comedies of the year, the best being 500 DAYS OF SUMMER OF COURSE! But yes, the teen drama was quite amusing.

However, I was under the impression that they didn’t give enough screentime to Snape, given that he is the Half-Blood Prince and kills Dumbledore. Whoops, spoiler alert? But then again, I suppose that there is no such thing as enough screentime for Snape, our favorite greasy-haired, tragically romantic, emo anti-hero, no? I though that as always, Alan Rickman did a fantastic job of portraying the rather ambiguous nature of Snape’s loyalty, and until I shouted “Snape kills Dumbledore, but he did it because Dumbledore told him too! He’s a good guy!”, I don’t think the audience at my theater would have expected him to do the things he did. Alan Rickman also had some great moments in the romantic subplot, like when Harry was on the balcony with some dude, and Snape opens the curtain and has this WTF expression on his face because it’s two guys on a balcony at a Christmas party and one of them happens to be the son of the woman he loved and it’s really sketchy, or when Ron says Hermione’s name while unconscious in front of Lavender and she goes hysterical and runs out of the infirmary and Snape has this smug expression that’s like “FEEL MY PAIN” while Dumbledore’s being camp and saying things like “oh, young love”, undoubtedly thinking about Grindelwald. Like I said, the revelation of Dumbledore being gay completely changed my perception about everything in the movie. Everything.

I was also disappointed by the lack of adult Voldemort. I mean, creepy young Voldemort is cool too, but I miss Ralph Fiennes (whose name I still have no idea how to pronounce. They don’t say it like you’d expect it to sound. Especially the Ralph part). I mean, he just has so much experience in playing evil roles. He played Amon Goth, the sadistic commandant of a Nazi concentration camp in Schindler’s List, Rameses in the Prince of Egypt (didn’t know that, did you?), the deranged serial killer Francis Dolarhyde AKA Red Dragon in Red Dragon, and recently in his most diabolical role yet, he played German lawyer Michael Berg in The Reader, where he forced Kate Winslet to listen to him reading the entirety of his personal library. I mean, I don’t think he said anything in this movie. I was sad.

It’s amazing to see how this franchise has constantly evolved from a rather poor adaptation of the first book, which was more “oh looky, a magical alternate reality with lots of gizmos and gadgets and why don’t we throw in a mystery plot?” to a grander battle between the forces and good and evil (although still limited to Europe) with some teen drama mixed in because they are teenagers. I honestly think this one was the best Harry Potter movie so far, and I’m constantly amazed at how much everyone has grown up through the story. I felt this the strongest in the first Hogwarts scene, when we see a glimpse of the first-years, and they are absolute babies! I can’t believe we saw Harry and the gang like those little ones at one point, and now they’re all grown up! I’m assuming this is what it feels like to be old. All in all, this is a pretty good movie. It’s no Brothers Bloom or 500 Days of Summer, but definitely watch it if you get the chance!

Some random observations:

To get to the heart of the person you love, be the one by their bedside in the hospital: And I’m assuming you can be the reason they’re in the hospital in the first place as long as they don’t know about it. Hint hint.

There’s something incredibly wrong about inviting a student to your private quarters in the middle of the night: It doesn’t matter who you are, there are probably some laws against that. Especially if you’re inviting him to send him on some suicide mission AND he happens to be a minor.

Harry Potter is the worst person you can ask to get information for you from another person: I think this movie establishes that Harry isn’t the most subtle person on the planet. I mean, if he wants to ask you something, he’ll approach you and ask you what he wants to know in less than three sentences. Like, he’ll show up, ask you how you’re doing, and then ask about your most intimate secrets. Just like that. He’s worse than Jack Bauer.

What exactly is butterbeer? I’m not kidding, what is it?

Snape kills Dumbledore: But at least he took it like a man. Get it? Get it? I kill myself sometimes.

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One response to “Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  1. this is the best movie review I’ve ever read. ever.

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