Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NOT QUITE THE CHARMS

I had no plans to watch the sixth installment of the Harry Potter series yesterday evening, but circumstances led me to Sterling Cineplex eventually; a personal record for me, I have watched all the editions of Harry Potter here. Plus, of course, a reasonable ticket price of Rs 120 bodes well for me, although I am not such a great fan of Screens 2 and 3 in here (there are a total of three screens). Screen 1 still remains much better than the other two. But a ticket price of Rs 120 and a food court down below makes Sterling a good multiplex deal.

So did I like Harry Potter and the half-Blood Prince? The answer is a resounding 'No'. I do not want to go on a trip of how the makers did not adapt this or that from the book and left out this or that, and so on, but yes if you are adapting an exceptionally well-written book, you had better lived up to the standards. Like it or not, adaptation is crucial. You may take creative liberties from the book- which this movie seemed to have the most so far in the series- but you do not leave out essential threads that help weave various aspects of the story into one smooth-flowing narrative.

The most crucial part of the movie that is the foundation of this story- the Half-Blood Prince- itself was not explained properly. We see Harry and Ron scrambling to get their hands on this book, but how the book impresses Harry and takes him completely over and casts a 'spell' over him, enough to ignore Hermoine's concerns, is not dwelled upon adequately. As a result, when he does come to know of the true identity of the Half-Blood Prince, it's importance is diluted and holds negligible significance to the audience. Apparition- a magical method of transportation from one place to another, a method used so commonly by Professor Dumbledore and Potter in this movie- is not explained. Even though the movie embodies magic as a way of life, I feel crucial details like these if explained well, brings in audience and convinces them that the movie is not just about silly magic that we see only in fairy tales, but something that comes across as believable even though at the end of the day, it's just a story.

The love angles too are told in a hurry. The students are clearly growing up and experiencing raging hormones, but the angles between Potter, Ginny, Ron and Hermoine seemed to have been taken for granted. The climax sounds much better in the book and had a great potential to be told on the big screen, but unlike the fascinating climax fight scene so elaborately picturised in the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (the 5th installment in the series), is reduced to a caricature here, with even a crucial liberty taken in the movie in Professor Snape's depiction. I have not yet read the seventh book so I do not know how Snape would pan out there, but he was treated much more liberally in the Half-Blood prince movie.

A disappointment, but watch it once, just for the sake of a brilliant novel told on screen. Remember though, you'd be lost if you watch the movie without reading the book.

K-Rate: * * *

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