19 July 2009

Harry Potter and the half-blood prince

Last night we (two wrinklies, one teenager, two subteens) went to see the film of Harry Potter and the half-blood Prince.

Unlike many reviewers (for instance, Nicholas Barber in this morning's Independent on Sunday or Anthony Quinn a couple of days ago in its daily stablemate) I feel that it was, in many ways, the best film adaption yet in a series which has been far more than usually impressive.

Unlike many translations from page to screen, these have the courage to be free standing imaginations springing from the books rather than seeking to replace them. The first five, however, were very much self contained narrative capsules; this one dares to be a ragged chunk of postmodern storytelling torn from the larger fabric without feeling any need for self justification or neat ending.

It's also probably the most beautifully (as opposed to wham bam spectacular) filmed. There are many passages in wonderfully toned near monochrome, Hogwarts is an abstract sculpture, and sparse emptiness is allowed to bleakly replace the lush wealth of detail. The jerkily jump cut scene where which Harry and Ginny encounter the forces of darkness in a field outside the Weasley burrow is worth watching alone and for itself. And the camera makes dramatic capital out of Draco Malfoy's sculpturally maturing face and stature.

You may not agree; but if you have been put off by critical reception, I urge you to to least go along and make up your own mind.

  • J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the half-blood prince. 2005, London: Bloomsbury. 074758110X (hbk.) Or 2006, London: Bloomsbury. [978]0747584667 (pbk.) [Film]

  • No comments: