Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Poster from the Film

A disappointing addition to the Harry Potter films

I cannot say a single good thing about this travesty of a film. It grossed nearly a billion pounds world-wide, and one can only wish that Rowling, with the extra millions she does not need, feels as badly about it as she should. If you have read the books, and have not seen this film- don’t, for it seems to have been made for those whose attention span has been shortened by too much television and too many computer games. In fact, was it made in this way so that a computer game could easily be made from it? If you have seen the film and not read the books, you can certainly be excused for thinking that it is a load of rubbish, but I urge you to read all the books in the order they were written. You will be rewarded.

There is a lot in the book, and one might say that the mistake that was made was to try and put it into only one film- as though that excused the mistake. But how did such a mistake come to be made? “They” thought that it could be done in one film. And after all, a film is not a book, is it, it has to be different? But the resulting film will be utterly incomprehensible to anyone who has not read the book. Indeed, one needs to know the book quite well. Scenes of strange disasters, bridges being destroyed- but no scene of the Minister of Magic visiting the Prime Minister. Then, aghast at the prospect of having to introduce another character (Tonks- one of the strengths of the books is the richness and variety of the characters), they have Luna Lovegood rescuing Harry after he has been jinxed in the train. That shows a complete misunderstanding of the order of the magical universe. Tonks is an Auror- she has the understanding and attention to discover Harry. In any case, it is her duty to try and protect him. Luna, endearing though she is, would not have had the ability.

In her book, Rowling describes Tom Riddle as handsome, intelligent, attractive, surrounded by the best and brightest students. The slimy Riddle here is about as attractive as a slug, and we are not shown the vital memory about his parentage. As for Bellatrix, she is presented as a cross between a hysterical woman and a demented chicken, whereas she is the Frau Goebbels to Voldemort’s Hitler, deadly serious, murderous, utterly devoted.

Most of the film is shot- needlessly- in such darkness, that it is difficult to make out what is going on. When it’s dark, it’s spooky, right? Wrong. What is really spooky is when in apparently normal surroundings, strange and horrible events quietly and unexpectedly take place. In film after film in this series, the most frightening moments have been destroyed by haste and digital technology. And no occlumency lessons.

In the book, when Dumbledore and Harry return to Hogwarts, only they and Draco Malfoy are there when Snape appears, and Dumbledore has paralysed Harry so that he cannot interfere with what has to happen. What takes place in the film is a meaningless distortion, culminating in Snape saying “I am the Half-Blood Prince”- totally out of character- because to show it being discovered by trawling old copies of the Daily Prophet was not exciting. Ugh!

Tilo Ulbricht