By KATIE B. OCONNOR
It always amazes me when people think they know more about plot and story than award-winning novelists. Why take 20 minutes out of a film to put in a screenwriter’s half-baked ideas when you have the actual novel right in front of you? “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” was a bestseller for nearly a decade, and in my opinion, that makes it a trustworthy source of plot for the film based upon it. But then, maybe that’s just me.
The film opens with an invented scene that does not appear in the book in which our hero Harry flirts with a young waitress in a Muggle diner. This begins director David Yates’s trend of saturating author J.K Rowling’s tale with teen lust. Truthfully, Rowling’s sixth novel is the most hormone-infused of the series, but Yates goes a bit too far. The Ron-Hermione-Harry-Ginny-Lavender pentagon is overplayed and culminates in a ridiculously sentimental heart-to-heart between Harry and Hermione.
However, one trend that happily continues is the improvement of Daniel Radcliffe’s acting. Unfortunately when actors are cast based on the proximity of their appearance to a fictitious character, acting talent is often compromised. This decline of priority in talent sadly hindered the first four films. But after his stint in “Equus” on Broadway, Radcliffe has massively improved, which is evident in “The Half-Blood Prince.”
Jim Broadbent makes a fantastic addition to the growing cast of “Harry Potter” as Potions Professor Horace Slughorn. He adds a burst of energy equal to Imelda Staunton’s performance as Dolores Umbridge in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” Broadbent’s first appearance in the film masquerading as a chair is truly brilliant, and he is responsible for most of the comic moments of the film.
The action of the film is a bit confusing in its sequence. A huge fire at the Weasley house is added (again, not in the book), but the great battle of Hogwarts that involves an exciting werewolf attack is left out, which I find baffling.
All in all, the film is enjoyable. “Potterites” such as myself have to learn that the films and books must be considered as entirely separate entities. The books are great, the movies are good, but, if considered together, they complement each other as badly as 12 Halloween shots and a stomach full of Bertie Bott‘s Every Flavor Beans.
‘Harry Potter’ Screenings:
Thursday: 7 p.m. in the Underground
Friday: 10 p.m. in Combs 139
Saturday: 7 p.m. in Combs 139
Admission is $1.