July 16, 2009 12:18 pm

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review

Yes, I went to the midnight release!

Me and a group of friends met at the coffeeshop beforehand and then drove down to the theater. We were there two and a half hours early, which went by REALLY REALLY SLOWLY. We talked about people’s outfits (there were a couple great Dumbledores in attendance), some people went back out for food, we shared book recommendations and twitter handles.

Finally, it was time for the movie! Here’s what I thought:

Massive spoilers ahead if any of you haven’t seen it yet…

Things that I felt weird about

  • The FUNERAL. Good heavens. I’m not sure how they decided it’d be a good idea to leave it out, but I am still holding out hope that maybe the 7th movie will start out with it. I really wanted to see the white coffin and the phoenix song. I am also sad about this because this is where Harry breaks up with Ginny, and she says she understands even though we all know she is upset.
  • Dumbledore’s wand not being in his coffin, but instead on his desk when Harry enters it to check it out after he dies. Perhaps they intended this scene to be pre-funeral? Because otherwise that has DIRECT and SERIOUS implications for the next movie(s).
  • The leaving-out of the Astronomy tower battle. Director claims it was redundant to the final battle of Hogwarts in the last book, but there were SO MANY things they left out by association. I knew something was up when Harry drank all the Felix Felicis himself instead of only half, so he could share some with his friends during the battle.
  • They never said who Fenrir Grayback was. You’re supposed to infer it, I guess, from the one “WANTED” poster briefly shown in one scene. Since they left out the Astronomy tower battle, they also left out Bill getting bit by Fenrir. What is Molly and Fleur’s conflict going to be about now?
  • The Weasley house burning down. Seriously? What? The Burrow gets attacked in the next book for sure, but I have no idea what point they were intending to make with that scene. How are they going to resolve that for Bill and Fleur’s wedding? Or are they going to leave that out (SAD! I hope not!) since they didn’t do any kind of setup in this movie?

Things I later noticed they left out, but didn’t notice at the time so I don’t feel weird about it

  • The beginning of the book with the Muggle prime minister or whatever, in his office
  • Kreacher – I JUST NOW noticed that they left out his whole involvement in R.A.B.’s locket-stealing endeavor. I feel like starting a S.P.E.W.-like organization to promote the non-leaving-out of house elves in the HP movies. Poor Kreacher, Dobby, and Winky.
  • More flashbacks of memories and Voldemort’s past. I forgot that they went to see the Gaunts with the ring, and Hepzibah Smith and her assorted wares and so Harry gets clues as to what the next Horcruxes would be. I didn’t think they set up the Horcrux hunt very well, so it feels like Harry has even less information than he does, which wasn’t a lot to begin with.

Things I really enjoyed

  • Harry on Felix Felicis. Seriously hilarious. “Harry!” “Prooofesssor!” and “HI!”
  • Ron, under Romilda Vane’s love potion, with that dippy look on his face soliloquizing about the moon
  • The more natural humor interspersed throughout the movie. It’s a dark movie, but it’s also way funnier than the others and it feels much more like natural dialogue than forced scripting. I found myself giggling at certain parts and laughing out loud at others.
  • Draco finally showing an emotion other than scorn. His scene where he’s sobbing in the bathroom was especially powerful.
  • Luna Lovegood. Her lion hat! The weird shiny/poofy dress she wears to the Slug Club party! I didn’t like that they had her be the one to discover Harry in Draco’s train compartment, but I think they covered the switch pretty well. (It was actually Tonks in the book, and it makes less sense to introduce her there than it did to just have Luna discover him.)
  • Cormac McLaggen – He was such a cocky asshole and had the perfect amount of attractive swagger mixed with total jerkface annoyingness. I kind of wish they would have put more of the Cormac/Hermione thing in the movie, but I’m not disappointed with it as-is.
  • Harry and Dumbledore in the cave. I think they did that really well.

Overall, I did enjoy this movie a lot. I am upset about the bits they left out (the funeral and the Astronomy tower battle) but I don’t think they ruined the movie for me like the left-out bits did for the third movie. I find myself really, really wanting to watch it again because Harry has so much more personality and character in this one than in previous ones.

Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

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  • Audrey says:

    Just saw it for myself. I agree with the review: it’s a rather enjoyable movie despite the changes. It holds your attention and portrays the book well.

  • Shiri says:

    I’m not going to read your review (how dare I?!), I’m going to see the movie on thursday and afterwards – I am going to be so releaved to finally be able to talk about it with you :)

  • Nicole says:

    I don’t think we find out about Kreacher’s involvement until the 7th book when Harry, Ron, and Hermione live at Grimmauld Place. In the 6th book Harry realizes the locket is a fake, but has no clue who R.A.B. is yet and will not realize it until he is at Grimmauld and sees the initials (or full name?) on Regulus’ door.

    I just read the book and I forgot about some of the parts you mentioned even! Must show that the movie has really good flow. I was very disappointed about the tower battle as well, I am just hoping the battle in the next one will be amazing!! I was also disappointed about the ending without the funeral. And the credits music was simply terrible and way to upbeat for the tragedy that had just occurred!!

    I thought a lot of the changes were minor and I only was slightly bothered because I knew the truth. I am happy that the major events mostly stick to the book. As for the Burrow…they are wizards after all and the Burrow was only held up by magic, I imagine they can put it back together again. I don’t know what they will do about the funeral or the wedding. I think you could be quite right about the funeral opening the 7th movie, kind of like the ending of the 5th opened this movie. The wand has to be in the proper spot…

    The wedding isn’t a huge part of the book so they could possibly do without it. I’m hoping that since they are making the 7th into 2 parts they will include as much as humanly possible. I’m glad you liked the movie, so many people are taking the minor changes and blowing them out of proportion! I thought the movie was quite good and entertaining :)

  • Meggan says:

    Nicole – Iiiiinteresting… see, I think the wedding is a big part of the 7th book, mostly because that's where we discover the hallows symbol on X. Lovegood even though we don't know what it is yet.

    Also, I think you're right about Kreacher… I do hope they keep the elf stuff in the 7th/8th movies since they are so important. I really, REALLY want to see Kreacher shouting, "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT FOR OUR MASTER!" or whatever he says in the battle. Hee.

  • Alyssa says:

    I enjoyed the film overall, but I was a little upset about the leaving out of several important memories–the gaunts? Hepzibah? Unlike you, however, I was greatful that they left out the funeral, because that was one of the most boring scenes in the book to me. I very much liked the raising of the wands–very emotional to me.

    My favorite things included Draco’s dimension, Luna’s hat, and DEFINITELY Cormac McClaggen–dude was hot and hilarious.

  • Shiri says:

    Ok. Saw the movie and now I can comment on your blog entry :)

    Yes, why did they leave the funeral out? Though I was already in tears during the scene where everyone lifted their wands up in honor of Dumbledore so the funeral would maybe have been too much for me to handle. The scene with the cursed necklace was a bit scary. Reminded me of The Ring or something with the mouth open and hair floating around in the air.

    I loved Luna, Draco, Ron on Lovepotion, Harry on Felix Felicis. Overall the movie was absolutely wonderful!

  • Caity says:

    Really good analysis! I loved reading this post. I think that it was also strange that they left out learning to do spells without speaking. Not having the funeral was definitely the weirdest, though.

  • Medli says:

    I was actually surprised about them leaving the funeral out, too. I thought it was an important part. The part that I wanted to see the most was the battle since so much happened in the battle. I just hope that the next two movie show more and they don’t leave out quite a bit.