harry potter and the half-blood prince review

You heard it here first.

Apparently I was among the first viewers in the US of the new Harry Potter film. If the charity--a brilliant org called "There With Care" -- can be believed, which I think it can, based on the several Warner Bros suits who accompanied the reels out here. (Um. Digital, anyone?) They searched us with metal detectors for cameras and insisted our cell phones be turned off. Yes, I saw them checking, and someone watched us watching the film. At first they wanted no cell phones, cuz God forbid a still shot from a cell phone make it out onto the Internet this weekend. That would ruin opening day!!

Now for the review, which includes mild spoilers if you haven't read the book:

On the B side:
Somewhat forced but well-delivered humor. (Harry on Liquid Luck was well done indeed.)
Not enough action, as per the book.

A lackluster ending (didn't make me cry, if that means anything. Which it does cuz I suck for crying at movies and books). Something in the camera angles and staging, I think. I look forward to my film friends watching and reviewing it. It was all very tender, but not as heart-rendering as you'd expect. My kid, who hasn't read the book, found the end didn't come as a big surprise. "It's something a lot of movies have," he said. "Like Obi-wan dying in Star Wars 4." (All per my 10 year old. Take heed, Hollywood.) (Of course, he is the son of a writer.)

On the A side: every kid I talked to LOVED it. I think the story taps into what kids need: that scary first love stuff and characters who are coming into their own. Harry, as a character, has obviously grown, and the screenplay, as Rowling did, raises the stakes nicely.

They also make fun of themselves, laughing at their own plots, to the effect of:

"Every time something goes wrong, there you three are."


"Sir, after six years, I've learned to just go along."


"She just likes you because you're the chosen one."
"I am the chosen one."

Harry gets a bit of an edge in this, which I don't recall from the book. He's less self-depreciating and more confident, he jokes more, but he also slips back into moon-eyes over magic and girls often enough to keep him believable.

My kid gives it an A on creepiness and funniness. In general, I enjoyed the film and only sought out my wristwatch once, which is pretty good for me.

For those not in the know, the last installment will come in two parts (I heard tonight they were filmed together and released 6 mos apart--unverified but it sounds about right). Wonder how much time they'll spend in that godforsaken tent? I've never picked up that last book again after my first read through--too damned slooow.

The kid who who plays Malfoy made a video message specifically for the event and the kid who plays Seamus was at the after-party. Apparently he was here last time too. Didn't meet him as I'm not into lines of people who aren't waiting to meet me. Nice Irish boy, though, who likes his beer. Hey, he's the one who said it, not me.

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