Like most book to movie conversions, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is, unfortunately, not a visually literal word for word transfer; but that was to be expected. If a literal conversion was what you were hoping for, then I am afraid that you may be sorely disappointed.
What people fail to remember, is that the movie is only based on the book. As a result, for better or worse, a certain degree of creative freedom was bestowed on the director and screenwriters. Consequently, the movie is rather different when compared to the original telling of The Half-Blood Prince, with several ‘what were they thinking’ moments. However, for what the movie is, an artfully driven visual gateway into the world of Harry Potter, the movie was, in my humble opinion, magnificent!
With this latest movie installment of the Harry Potter series, the visual cinematic flair is flush with the book. It is the first time that one of the Harry Potter movies has managed to effectively capture the progressively dark themes found in the books. This is, no doubt, in part due to the maturation of the target audience and the actors, who now have a broader and more refined range of acting skill. In this sense the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie is the closest, in feeling and atmosphere, to any of the books in the Harry Potter series, thus far.
Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince is a dark, magical, funny and charming adventure that is both gripping and spellbinding. This is how Harry Potter should have been adapted from the beginning. David Yates takes the fantasy from the heights of a broomstick-flying romantic comedy right down to the depths of a bone-chilling adventure. The whole mix of genres is perfectly balanced, shifting from one foot to the next as the audience is introduced to a new facet of the story, each chapter as funny, exciting and scary as the previous one (Spling Movies, 2009).
The screenplay and production values for the movie are spectacular. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will make you cringe with familiarity, jump in your seat with fear, laugh out loud with joy and cry with sorrow. The movie is splendidly well rounded and an absolutely fantastic journey from start to finish, for both the young and the old. Furthermore, the movie has spectacularly noteworthy special effects, amazing camera work and a visual flair that will make any audience member dry eyed.
Although fans of the books may be disappointed with the overall translation from text to screen, it is important to enjoy the movie for what it is: a visual smorgasbord of Harry Potter goodness, no matter how off base the movies are to the books. That said, fans brought up on the movie renditions of the books will naturally love this movie.
I consider myself to be a true Harry Potter fan, having read all of the books multiple times, owning various pieces of memorabilia (see the above photograph) and having many intense late night discussions, with friends and family, about Harry’s inevitable fate. Even so I thoroughly, no, immensely enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well produced action and adventure movie!
The Red Carpet gives Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 8/10. The movie is a must see!
The movie was screened at the Il Grande theatre in Monte Casino, Johannesburg. On a side note, I would like to mention that the evening was a ‘magical’ success, with only one discrepancy. Toward the end of the evening, members of The Red Carpet made their way to Cafe Fego, in Monte Casino, for the after movie discussion. Upon settling the bill, with a fairly generous 10% tip, and just as the group was about to depart, our waiter turns to us and asks if everything was to our satisfaction. To which we replied that it was. He then proceeded to ask for a bigger tip indicating that what we had given was not enough. Have you ever heard of such insolence? A tip is not mandatory; it is merely a showing of good will. To have the audacity to ask for more is not only unprofessional but ungrateful. Consequently, Cafe Fego has lost several customers for the foreseeable future. What is the moral of the story? Take your change and tip well where it is appreciated, either at Seattle Coffee or Mugg & Bean.
*UPDATE*: For an almost perfect Butterbeer recipe, click here.
Until the next time “Milieunairs”!