I saw Harry Potter Wednesday night in a packed theater, and before I let you know what I thought, I'd just like to share a nice, human connection that I made with a (gasp!) fellow Kindle user!
I know, I know. After Dave's various tirades, you'd think such a thing to be impossible. But in fact, the nice woman next to me was reading from her Kindle while waiting for Potter to begin. I was actually reading from my iPhone's Kindle application, since the clutch I brought was a bit too tiny to carry the actual device.
We soon go to talking about the various Kindles, the reading experience and how great it was to travel with books no matter where you are, and how little space you need to carry them. It was a beautiful thing.
And then the movie started. And if you haven't seen it, or read the book, I'd say just enjoy the pretty picture there and ignore the rest of this post.
First, it must be acknowledged that I took my boyfriend, and he's never read the books or really even seen any of the movies straight through. While he was a bit apprehensive, we both agreed we liked the movie. It wasn't fantastic: My mind wasn't blown, and he didn't immediately rush out to buy the entire series. But we enjoyed the nearly three-hour film, and the teen angst and young love was played pitch-perfect by the entire cast, especially Emma Watson.
There weren't many newcomers for this film, and the focus remained on the core characters: Harry, his best friends Ron and Hermione, the wise old Dumbledore, and the ever-looming presence of Voldemort (who doesn't actually appear in this movie, but is name-dropped all over the place).
So while I'd describe this installment as more of a "talkie" than an action-adventure, it was like seeing old friends; and as always the movie was remarkably true to its source material.
But in saying that, I have to point out the biggest flaw of the movie, and the one time the books really should have been followed more strictly. The problem with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is that the over-arching mystery of the book -- who is the Half-Blood Prince, and why is he important -- is effectively lost in the movie. While Snape is identified as such, the name is never explained, nor is his role in the film as well-rounded as in the book.
After a bunch of scenes in which Snape acts like, well, Snape, and Dumbledore inexplicably trusts him anyway, you're left feeling that Dumbledore was a fool and Harry should be a whole lot angrier than he is. Since reading the Half-Blood Prince, I'd imagined Dumbledore's funeral scene to be a show-stopper, and instead it was muted and nearly incomprehensible. That was a disappointment.
In the end, it feels like you just watched a very long set up for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Which, in a way, was going to be true no matter what. But in losing the heart of the battle of wills between Harry and Snape, you lose the plot of Half-Blood Prince.
So while I didn't hate it, I can see why some would. And all I can say to them is this: Deathly Hallows is being split into two separate films, almost guaranteeing that all those loose ends and unexplained plots will be fully explored. I hope you can wait until then!
(Photos courtesy of Warner Brothers)