24 February 2014

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince 2009
  • Director: David Yates
  • Based on the book by J.K. Rowling
  • Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Mark Williams, Julie Walters, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton, Devon Murray, Alfie Enoch, David Bradley, Bonnie Wright, Jamie Waylett, Josh Hirdman, Chris Rankin,  James and Oliver Phelps, Robert Hardy, David Thewliss, Timothy Spall, Natalia Tena, Evanna Lynch, Helena Bonham-Carter, Jim Broadbent, Helen McCrory, Gemma Jones, Jason Isaacs, Elarica Gallacher, Jessie Cave, Frank Delane
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • See the previous films. New characters:
    • Jim Broadbent –  Another Year, Young Victoria, Vera Drake, Gangs of New York, Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Little Voice, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, The Crying Game, Enchanted April, Life is Sweet, Brazil, Black Adder
    • Helen McCrory – Hugo, Becoming Jane, The Queen, Interview with a Vampire
  • Why? It’s Harry Potter!
  • Seen: Four times including now: February 23, 2014
       We certainly thought about this film as we crossed the Millennium Bridge in London last summer! 
       Things are getting so bad in this one that even Muggles are dying.
       But oddly, the film has some light hearted moments. Harry is flirted with by the beautiful girl in the café. Dumbledore says, after tidying up a destroyed Muggle living room using magic, “That was fun,” and he reveals that, “I do love knitting patterns.”  The romance problems of Ron and Hermione and Harry and Ginny are bittersweet.  They all end up with the right person. Professor Slughorn is comically tragic in his intoned eulogy of Hagrid’s dear departed Aragog.
       There are more laughs, in other words, than there have been for two or three films. And through much (not all) of it, the dangers seem somewhat distant. There is more mystery than excitement.  We know Draco has been ordered by Voldemort to kill Dumbledore but what is he up to as he skulks around Hogwarts? We almost feel sorry for him as we see him fall apart under the pressure.  And what is Snape really up to?  What dark secret does Slughorn hide? Where does Dumbledore disappear to now and then?
       The sombre tone thickens throughout and the atmosphere in the essentially black and white filming gets steadily heavier and more dramatic.  The climax seems to be in Harry and Dumbledore’s terrifying quest on the stormy rock island.  But they survive that only to –
       The ending still comes as a shock.  It really does. Even knowing it’s coming and the whys and the what-happens -in-the-next –film/book, it’s a shock.  It just can’t be happening.
       As first Professor McGonagall, then everybody, all raise their glowing wands in tribute  – that’s when my tears start.
       This is getting to be heavy going.  But I already miss the films though there are two left.
9 * of 9

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