Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




Movie Review: Harry Potter And The Half-Price Bargain

Sorry, sorry, I know, how despicably flippant of me! – anyway, me and SuperSusan are toddling off to see the aforementioned big-screen hextravaganza. Report later.



Blimey. I know that movie demands frequently alter the plots of books, but … what happened to the big battles in the corridors of Hogwarts? And was there ever a more underused actor than Alan Rickman – for all that the movie title is ‘HP and the Half-Blood Prince’ (the HBP being the Snape character), Rickman scarcely gets screen time appropriate to his characters narrative standing in the book. But hey, lets face it, by the time she got to book 5 JK Rowling’s grasp on the plot dynamics was looking pretty shakey. As a book, Half-Blood Prince was sadly a dogs dinner; the number of great dramatic possibilities that JKR overlooked was, well, heartbreaking really. And the film unfortunately communicated that uncertainty, resulting in a half-baked story. I am irresistibly reminded of the 3rd Matrix movie, and the utterly craven copout shuck of that movie’s denouement – yeah, after all that struggle and blood and fighting and Trinity’s death, the rebels and the computer sentience came to a truce, a frakking truce.

Which is not a dramatically satisfying conclusion. HBP’s downer ending makes Empire Strikes Back look like Star Wars: New Hope. The death 0f Dumbledore has no contrast, no lesser triumphs for those left behind, no counterblow struck, no consolation victory. And now it seems that the final volume, Deathly Hallows, will emerge as two moviesl; having read it, I`m not optimistic.

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3 Comments already, do join in...

  1. peri urban Says:

    August 9th, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I’ve seen the movie twice now, and on a second viewing I appreciated more of the sombre growth of the main protagonists. Come on, this is HP, not high literature or even space opera. It’s FOR KIDS, so what if the plot creaks and rumbles like Maggie Smith’s knicker elastic?

    There’s a trade off here between the outright fantasy of the setting and the need for character motivation or narrative coherence. In fact, the greater narraritive of the film is founded entirely upon Harry and his chums, so no wonder that snape (a great LITERARY character, but not movie co-star material) is reduced.

    I stopped reading after the second book. Any adult who read on is either 1) still really a kid and needs that stuff, 2) looking for an angle, or 3) has kids.

    If it wasn’t for my six year old’s extreme interest in all things Potter I’d have given up on it a long time back, but seeing it from her perspective it isn’t a flawed and derivative piece of hackery. She has never read Lord of the Rings or The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, or Ray Bradbury or Michael Cobley.

    To her Harry Potter is a wonder, it’s everything it needs to be. Just as Star Wars was to a previous generation. These forms don’t need to satisfy adult requirements for logical progression, and it’s a bit silly to expect Dumbledore’s death to be treated as a Shakespearean moment.

    What, do you wanna traumatise the kids of the world? I was delighted that the demise of such an iconic character was dealt with as it was. Bang, there he goes. Dead.

    Contrast with Jackson’s treatment of Gandalf’s fall from the bridge. Jesus, I thought I was going to need treatment, let alone my daughter (five at the time).

    HP is not LOTR, and all the better for it.

  2. rockitboy Says:

    August 9th, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Hmm – you is treading a dubious path, Mistah Urban. Are you really saying that because its for kids the writers etc dont have to work too hard at it? That we shouldn’t be too demanding? Or that Cobley should stop trying to rewrite other writers stuff (and get on with his own)? ;-)

  3. Susan Says:

    January 23rd, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Yay, this one is my favorite!!! I love it! :D

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