Harry Potter is all grown up and the hormones are raging! This is perhaps the darkest in the series and yet, amidst the danger, dread and horror-lite, there is one hell of a lot of kissing going on! The Half-Blood Prince is also one of the funnier instalments in the franchise, which provides an excellent relief from the sense of impending doom that haunts the plot.
The relationship between the books and the films has always been a tense one. While the films are perfectly lovely in their own right, it is the books that have captured the hearts and minds of the fans. As such, each film has become a type of lovingly crafted short-hand for its corresponding novel. Plot turns are simplified and modified and yet, in order for the film to be truly successful, the details in the book are assumed knowledge.
The devastating twist at the end of this film is well-known to every Potter fan, of which there are millions, and as such the filmmakers are able to build to it knowing that most of the audience is waiting for that very moment. (A fact that makes you feel sorry for the eight people in the world who haven’t read the book.) Fans of the novels who are expecting an exact facsimile will be disappointed and will find the film’s plot simplistic. Those who haven’t read the books, or seen the previous films, may be a bit baffled without adequate background knowledge. But for the rest of us who are just looking to see these wonderful stories and characters brought to life, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a strong and haunting entry to the canon.
This is a coming-of-age film that will leave your stomach a little tied up in knots at the memory of just how incredibly awkward teenage life can be. It was written and directed by Greg Mottola, who directed Superbad, but it is a much gentler film than that. It is very funny, but the laughs are a little more subtle and you know it has that ‘serious indie vibe’ because the soundtrack is so good.
The plot is not original. Our hero, James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), spends the summer of 1987 working in a lame amusement park staffed by losers, freaks and of course, the very hot, very unattainable, very cool girl of his dreams. Depite this, the film is so engaging that you will love this film whether you’re relating to these characters right now or through the foggy distance of teen nostalgia.
Oh, and it also stars Kristen Stewart — who’s in some vampire movie or something.
If you can quote any of the Stars Wars films and perhaps have a small pic of George Lucas or R2-D2 tucked away somewhere in your wallet (or you love someone who does), you are going to enjoy this film. If not: move along, move along.
A bunch of fanboy geeks head off on a road trip to Skywalker Ranch, the HQ for Lucasfilm. En route there are adventures, disasters and some rather fabulous cameos from the likes of geek gods Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith and Carrie Fisher.
The characters speak almost entirely in Star Wars quotes, with a smattering of Klingon thrown in for the ‘Spock-suckers’, and if you are not a hardcore devotee of the genre you will only pick up a handful of the references.
There are some laughs to be had from the general population but this is geek porn, pure and simple and out and proud; so if that is your thing, embrace it my friend.