Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Interesting Thing Happened On The Way To Hogwarts

The Harry Potter franchise is an interesting one. In the history of cinema, has there ever been a franchise that gets better with each movie? That's not to say that The Half-Blood Prince is the best one of that batch, but it may be the most interesting one.

I sat for two and a half hours last night watching Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince and not once did I look at my watch. Not once did I find myself nodding off (which for one reason or another is a major concern for me these days). I was riveted. Is it because of all the new story developments? No. Is it because of all the action one would expect with summer fare? No. Truth to tell, when I left the theater and thought about it some more, nothing much really happens in this movie. Well, one things happens, and I'll spare the readers of that spoiler for now.

If nothing else, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince is a really nice postcard from an old friend keeping in touch. Unlike most sequels that speed up to try to engage audiences, The Half-Blood Prince slows down and focuses solely on the characters. And what a nice experience that was. Sure there will be a lot of people (my wife for one) who will leave the theater bored. Who will say that the movie was a bust. That there were no major battles. No giants. Or centaurs. Or flying cars. But not this guy. This was good old-fashioned storytelling, and it was like taking in a breath of fresh Spring air. Harry and Hermoine, the Weasleys and Dumbledore have all become characters we love. We've literally watched them grow up and grow old before our eyes. So it's not a ridiculous notion to think that when we get excited for the next Harry Potter movie, it's because of these characters. Not because of wizardry and giants and flying cars. And it's nice to see a franchise understand that.

In a quest for movies to be new and different, The Half-Blood Prince bests them all by not doing much of anything. And it has been the best surprise of the summer thus far.


TALKING MOVIEzzz said...

See, now I feel like I should see it. That 2 1/2 hour run time was scaring me off.

The only film I liked was the third. The last couple have been okay, but I have no memory of them.

I read all the books, and barely remember them either.

This is the series about the hobbits, right?

Megan said...


I was telling my sister today that I liked it very much for just these reasons. Nice job, P.

Jess said...

I totally agreed. I loved it. Not even being surrounded by Russian exchange students talking ALL the way through could keep me from crying and loving it.

PIPER said...


I really liked the third and have liked every entry since, but the third is probably my favorite.

Yeah, it's about hobbits.


Thanks. Glad I'm not alone on my thoughts.


I still enjoyed it even though I had my son about every five minutes saying "this is really good, isn't it?" But really, that's nothing compared to Russian exchange students speaking english?

Emily Blake said...

I just came from seeing it. What's especially surprising is that this film actually has LESS action than the book. There's a whole battle at the end that was pretty much left out entirely.

Yet it was never boring.

PIPER said...


I've never read any of the books, so I seriously don't know what to expect. So that's interesting to hear that they actually scaled back the action.

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

I guess I should have seen the previous five before going to see this one.

Did you catch the Die Hard tribue?