Friday, July 17, 2009

Dang, Harry Potter is short - and other shallow thoughts on the film

I saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last night while up in Davis, CA (over 100 every day - oh, but "it's a dry heat." So it's like being in an oven, not a sauna. Luckily, it does cool down at night, making for truly pleasant mornings - like this one I'm enjoying at a coffee shop called Delta of Venus. Can't help thinking of the Anais Nin book of the same title - but the theme here is not European sexiness and debauchery but rather Jamaican-tinged funkiness).

Where was I?

Oh yes - so I haven't re-read the book since it first came out in 2005, so I went into the movie remembering only Dumbledore's dire fate. Now, this knowledge did take much of the tension away from that scene in the tower, but it seemed as though the director was downplaying the whole scene anyway. It was very quick and matter-of-fact, and even the holding up of lighters - er, I mean wands - afterward didn't cause me to well up (although I did hear some sniffles from the audience). The horror of death-eaters wreaking havoc inside Hogwarts was barely touched on - although I did think Draco's look of anguish as Bellatrix gleefully lays waste to the dining hall was poignant.

I could list plenty of crucial scenes that were left out or downplayed (I'm remembering more of the book than I thought), but I'd rather mention what I liked. The music was particularly effective - playful, quirky, stately - and it rarely jerked me out of my movie immersion the way many scores do. Also wonderful were the goofy bits, especially with Professor Slughorn. The funeral of the giant spider (and its sodden wake afterward) was a high point, managing to be solemn and ludicrous at the same time.

Here's something I can't remember from the book (which I'm now determined to re-read), and as far as I can tell, the movie didn't explain it. Who was that guy in the brown robes who snuck into Hogwarts through the main gate and then appeared briefly in the dining hall before disappearing into a wall during Dumbledore's speech? Any thoughts?


  1. I thought the guy in the brown coat was and Auror (sp?), and agent from the Ministry of Magic sent as protection.

  2. I loved seeing the movie as part of a very receptive audience at the Westside Pavilion -- teenage girls on either side of me who gasped and giggled and smirked knowingly at the romantic bits, adults laughing at the more subtle jokes, a few grownups (mostly women) sniffling at Dumbledore's death.

  3. Ah - I'd forgotten about the aurors (or whatever they're called) - see, another example of what the movie left out.