Friday, July 31, 2009

Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince (Movie Rant),30368/

To say I've been disappointed with the Harry Potter movies would be an understatement. It's amazing to me that J.K. Rowling's novels, so full of wonder, wit, excitement, and heart, could be rendered so stale, derivative, and lifeless on the screen (with the exception of Alfonso Cuaron's take on Prisoner of Azkaban).

My dislike of the films grew so great that the wife and I quit going to see the movies in theaters after Goblet of Fire, and we didn't even finish Order of the Phoenix when we watched it on DVD, which was even more rushed and lifeless than Christopher Columbus's direction of the first two Harry Potter movies. I wouldn't have even watched Half-Blood Prince if a friend from out of town hadn't ask to see it while visiting. And I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Yate's take on Half-Blood Prince. His skills as a director - or, at least, his skill at making a Harry Potter movie - have substantially improved since Order of the Phoenix, and he successfully captures some of the emotional core of the original story.

All the problems of Potter franchise are still here, though. There's still too much plot crammed in from the novels, with most of the beats too rushed, making the big moments almost impossible to care about. Most of the actors, while extraordinarily talented, don't feel comfortable or right in their roles (Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith being the two exceptions that spring to mind).

The smaller moments work quite well, though. And Yates actually removes action sequences from the book, instead of adding needless ones (a first for this series), which gives the story a little more time to build properly. With The Deathly Hollows being split up into two features - and Yate's improvement as a director - we may finally get two Harry Potter movies that live up to their source material.

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