Having been in 5th grade and young and impressionable when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released, I was forever addicted to the series. I read each new installation the day it came out, though I never went so far as to camp out Borders like some kids. As I grew older, some of the appeal of Harry Potter wore off and I began to ignore almost everything Hogwarts-related. I was actually surprised to find out last night that the seventh and final book in the series was released TWO YEARS AGO. Call me out of the loop.
Regardless of my fading interest in the series, I couldn’t turn down a Wednesday night opportunity to catch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at my local theater. The first several opening scenes rolled, and I felt a strong sense of nostalgia. I had missed Hagrid’s adventures, Dumbledore’s antics, and Harry’s…whatever it is he does. I was pumped to be getting back into the story, and I was looking forward to the rest of the movie.
Unfortunately, my enthusiam was fairly short-lived (that’s a bad thing too, when the movie is 2:15 long). Even in my excited state, the forced dialog and awkward acting was too much of a buzz-kill for me to ignore. It’s been so long since I actually read the Half-Blood Prince that I don’t really remember how well it adhered to the book. Giving the screenplay writer the benefit of the doubt in that regard, the job he did translating character interactions to the big screen wasembarassingly bad. There appeared to be no chemistry between any of the actors, tons of blank stares, and camera shots that lingered on emotionless faces. I ended up laughing at the awkwardness of the scenes much more often than laughing at the intended humor.
The movie did however have some redeeming qualities. Like any huge-budget production, the filmography and special effects were superbly well done. Several times I found myself zoning out of the story and intently watching the effects. Speaking of zoning out, anytime Emma Watson’s character Hermione graced a scene, I lost track of everything else in my field-of-view. In any case, I will be much more apt to check out the next movie if they nix the ‘Harry Potter’ part of the title and just run with ‘Hermione Granger and the Deathly Hollows.’