Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Although it is wonderful to see the actors who play the characters grow up and move through the Harry Potter storyline, the film version of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince leaves out so much in the way of key plot elements that it is like getting a not always accurate series of snapshots from the books instead of film version of the increasingly complex story.

Without going point for point, I have to say the two worst things were the lack of backstory for Snape, the titular Half Blood Prince, and the poorly and inaccurately handled death of beloved Dumbledore.

Film has the potential with character voice, visual expression and music to be more powerful than the literary source if handled well. The entire scene was altered. Harry was not invisible or frozen helplessly as he was in the book. He merely watched Dumbledore die and did nothing. And even once Dumbledore was dead, you really could not see the grief nor feel it as you should as you looked at the characters who knew and loved him.

This bodes ill for the next set of films where all of those complex plot threads and characters must come together in a last desperate fight against evil. All of these characters we have come to know in the books--their stories must matter, and their deaths must matter to us. It can't be telegraphed for general audiences. It is a powerful story and it is not fair to anyone to make it end blandly.

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