The Half Blood Prince (HBP) is David Yates’ second directorial venture in the Harry Potter movies after The Order of The Phoenix (OOTP), and it seems as though he is beginning to understand the spirit of Harry Potter.
When I watched OOTP for the first time, I was quite scared – not only because the movie itself was devastatingly bad adaptation of the story (which, in my opinion, is probably the best story in the series), but also because Yates was charged with directing the rest of the movies.
Fortunately, HBP is much more enjoyable as a Harry Potter movie. And after watching the movie, I think I understand why OOTP was such a deviation from the story. Yates did not read the stories carefully before making OOTP. On many of the finer details of the story he simply misinterpreted the incidents, and shown them in a way that contradicts the rest of the story. It seems now he has read the books, and has a much better understanding of what to keep and what to remove from the movies. He did not try to cram the movie in a very short time (HBP is 153 minutes compared to OOTP’s 138 minutes, and I still fail to understand why that movie was so short in duration), and utilized the time well.
Indeed, he made some strange changes to the story (why was the Burrow destroyed? Was it merely to show how much the characters cared for each other?), they did not necessairily contradict with the current story (although I would like to see where Bill and Fleur’s wedding take place, assuming the Burrow is destroyed).
Another thing that I recently came to know involves Michael Gambon, the immensely powerful actor portraying Dumbledore since Prisoner of Azkaban. I always felt that he portrayed Dumbledore to be too serious. He did not seem to be a person saying “nitwit” very frequently, neither does it seem possible that he would set “Sherbet Lemon” or “Cockroach Cluster” as the password to his office. But he has himself declared that he never read the Harry Potter books, and created his character solely based on the screenplays. He did a remarkable job, but would he have made an even better Dumbledore had he read the books? Who knows?
I enjoyed the movie, but at the same time I had a feeling that if someone did not read the story before watching the movie, it may be difficult to follow at times. But then it is a complex story.
I am also very happy to learn that the final book, The Deathly Hallows (TDH), has been split into two movies. This is a good decision, since the story can be logically seperated into two parts – one where Harry, Ron and Hermione roam around groping for more information and trying to find the solution to the riddle presented to them by Dumbledore, and the part where, at Hogwarts, all the pieces come together to set the stage for the grand finale.
A little less apprehensive, I wait for the next two movies eagerly.