Friday, December 17, 2010

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Yeah yeah, so I should be reviewing The Prisoner of Azkaban now. Yes, I know I'm jumping ahead. But I lost track of time due to alcohol-related scheduling conflicts (devilishly tricky things, those alcohol-related scheduling conflicts) and here we are on the date of the new movie. So which is more relevant for tonight's show? Episode 3 (in which I'm lead to understand Harry and company cavort around the castle, getting into mischief and avoiding some escaped madman-who-turns-out-to-be-his-father-figure and a werewolf) or episode 6 (in which, I was advised, there are several critical plot twists that need to be viewed in order to appreciate the newest flick)? Love Guillermo though I do, I decided to watch episode 6.

What a difference 6 years makes! It's as if all my complaints from The Chamber of Secrets were magically transported back in time to when The Half Blood Prince was in the planning stages and subsequently taken to heart! While still overly long at two and a half hours, the movie never drags or feels bloated. The plot is streamlined and easy to follow. The special effects are beautiful. And those child actors done growed up!

It's not a flawless piece of entertainment by any means but, given the perspective shift provided by its horrendous  forbearer, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. That glowing commendation being given, there are still a few problems that need pointing out before I can tell you to go watch it:

  1. There are times when the editors knife cuts are a little too apparent. There are a few points in the middle of the movie where, though heeding sound advice, the post-production team was a little too ham-fisted on the chopping block. I'm all for heavy cuts from the middle of an overly long movie, but there is one particular sequence of scenes that was jarringly jumpy. 
  2. What does the "chosen one" really mean? This criticism probably has more to do with the books on which the movies are based but, seriously, what's the deal here? Is this meant to be a super-powerful chosen one like Neo from the Matrix? Because Harry, thus far, seems pretty weak-sauce in everything aside from riding the pine (broomstick). Is he meant to be some kind of spiritual leader a la Moses? Because he can't even keep the attention of a Quidditch team. Or is he more of a Jesus figure who will be sacrificed for the sins of the many? The movie, and I'm assuming the books as well, never really seems to settle on an archetype for the young man and, as a result, every reference to that moniker feels a little clumsy. 
Overall though, the movie is a hoot. There was only one point during my viewing where I cringed at the sight of Harry's agape mouth and then he thankfully filled it with the supple lips of a bonny lass. It was funnier, darker, slicker, and sadder than the previous entries one well worth the 153 minutes.

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