Friday, July 17, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


In terms of visual effects, the runaway winner would be the cave scene, although it is a bit reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. Gandalf, is that you?! Gollum? Another Gollum? Gollums! And of course, Dumby's pyrotechnic show that would put Enchanted Kingdom's weekend visual spectacle to shame.

I love Luna because she is so loony. Every remark she makes elicits a What the, where the hell did that comment come from? response. She is like a human 25 Things You Don't Know About Me Facebook meme. The little screen time she gets is all worth it.

Loony runner up would be Bellatrix Lestrange. I do not know if she is really supposed to be that strange, or perhaps it is just all Helena Bonham Carter, who by the way looks like Hilda Koronel in some angles. She has a couple of screws loose in the head, which in turn provide ample entertainment for us audience. You just cannot Avada Kedavra this woman. She is just so charming... in a very twisted kind of way.

My favorite scenes would be those that have Tom Riddle in it. The first one is what you already saw in the teasers. His introduction to Dumbledore reminds me of yet another movie moment, that of Jean Grey's and Professor X/Magneto in X3. I do not know why that scene gets me the most. I think it is not all about being destined to be evil. It is really more about potential, the acknowledgment of that potential, and the decision to hone that potential rather than let it go to waste. It does not matter if you could talk to snakes or burn people at will. The point is you have something within you, and that something could change your life if you just let it.

The other favorite scene of mine would be that real memory scene of Professor Slughorn, again co-starring Tom Riddle. Now this one is all about ambition. Tom Riddle is just bad-ass. He kills and betrays. But he knows what he wants, and would use his skills (the then potential now realized) to get them. I like that scene because the actor who portrayed Riddle has it in his voice, and in his eyes, that burning passion to fulfill an ambition. Or maybe I am just exaggerating what I saw. Whatever. I think this scene is powerful because it conveys a message, that on how one could use ambition to succeed. I am not saying that it is okay to murder people and make yourself a horcrux. What I am amazed at is the power derived from that ambition, which I think is part and parcel of being human. Or wizard. Whatever, I think they are still homo sapiens.

I cannot recall every event from the book but what I do remember is that it is quite thick. I do not think any director would be able to render a complete retelling of the story, lest you want a movie that is ten hours long. It is better to just watch the movie as it is, and then review the book for questions left unanswered. Nitpicking just takes away the fun in watching. If you love the book that much, watch the book.

There is considerably less action here than in the previous Potter films. In a way the director just sets the mood for the finale, which I heard is going to be a two-part movie. Nevertheless for a Potter fan who still has withdrawal symptoms, given that there are no more books to wait for, I think this movie is somehow able to fill that void.

Dame Maggie Smith is old.

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