M: Hi again all. A little while after posting the roundtable on the Half Blood Prince, E, C and I were chatting and determined that we hadn’t really gone into everything that we wanted to discuss. Thus we bring you, again rife with spoilers, the Half Blood Prince Roundtable part two!
M: I wanted to start out this part by pointing out that the entire first half of the movie (at least) to me felt like the only thing that the director cared about was the bubbling hormones of the kids at the school. Now, admittedly, it’s been a while since I read the book and its not fresh in my memory, but I don’t remember it feeling like NOTHING else was going on except sixth years snogging, or wanting to snog.
C: I don’t know, I remember the book being pretty, er, snog-happy too. Though by taking out the Riddle flashbacks, the movie was even more of a hormonefest.
E: Overall I’d say the snogging was totally (audience age) appropriate and not too sexy, as previously feared. I do have to mention my favorite addition to the film, the “nice skin” conversation between Ron and Harry, how deliciously hilarious was that? But besides that, they started with some gorgeous stuff – the pedestrian bridge in London, the Death Eaters snatching Ollivander, Fred and George’s shop—
M: I will always campaign for more Fred and George!!
E: I thought all of that was fantastic. But they did cut down quite a bit on the significant meetings with Dumbledore, the interactions with Slughorn, and Harry’s twin obsessions with the Half Blood Prince and Draco Malfoy, which undercuts the power of the ending a bit. (The Draco/Harry shippers can’t be happy with that one, although I’m sure they’re pleased with Tom Felton’s emo mojo.)
C: I am okay with the filmmakers not taking their hopes and dreams into account, actually.
M: And I’m going to start using “emo mojo” in conversation on a daily basis.
E: Unchallenged. On the other hand, there was more quidditch than we’ve seen in a while. And as C mentioned the last time, some of the supporting players were delightful. Luna, as always (I’m glad they threw a sop to my favorite conversation, the one in the train car where Harry defends Neville and Luna to Romilda) but also Cormac McLagen and Lavender Brown. How fantastic were they?
M: Yeah, Luna (as always) was great. Evanna Lynch does a fabulous job of really getting across the crazy-yet-not-crazy feel for the character, and does it with a genuine goodness and kindness.
E: Too right. I really miss Neville, though. I just adore him.
M: Yep, I’m a big Neville fan as well, and missed him. One of my favorite parts of the whole series was the group of friends that go with Harry to the Department of Mysteries at the end of Phoenix, and seeing them each use their specific talents that most people overlook to save the day. Loved that.
C: Oh Neville. I’m glad we saw some of him, but it’s never enough. I don’t imagine they’ll have much time for his role as the underground resistance leader of Hogwarts in the final film, either.
M: Some? They made him a butler for 10 seconds. Ugh. And I really hope they don’t drop the resistance, they’ve got two movies to play with.
C: As for Cormac McLaggen, Rowling definitely didn’t describe him as being that handsome, but I thought that was great. You didn’t like him for an instant, despite his looks.
E: I pictured book Cormac as a big brute, a self-involved lug. Movie-Cormac was just as self-involved, just as pleased with himself, but hilarious where I didn’t expect it. The faces he made at Hermione slayed me. And Jessie Cave – what a comic find she is! Just as embarrassingly over the top as she ought to be, but not so over the top that it’s no longer recognizable behavior. Sooo great. Throwing herself on his back like that… good stuff.
M: Couldn’t agree more, thought they were both fantastic, and done properly. Much better than the way director Mike Newell handled Fleur and Viktor in Goblet. Back to the things that were missing in the first half, I have to assume that they are going to flesh out the horcruxes (horcri?) in the next two movies, perhaps at the expense of Harry, Ron and Hermione wandering in the woods for 9 months without making any progress.
Slughorn, however, played smashingly by Jim Broadbent, could have used more screen time. I thought that him taking human form from out of the armchair, and staying part chair for a little bit longer than you think he’s going to, was just really well done. From there Broadbent takes over, and while he may not have looked like my mental image of Professor Slughorn, he certainly became the role, and played it to a tee, down to the intonations of voice and physical motions. He melded into the role to the point where he was not recognizable as Jim Broadbent. C, correct me if I’m worng, but I think I overheard you asking what he had been in before, when in fact he has been in a bunch of movies (like Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones, and the Narnia movies) that you are abundantly familiar with. That, to me, is impressive acting!
C: No no, I know him! Someone else was asking, and those of his films that I listed off were unfamiliar to her, so what you heard was me asking E if she could think of any others.
M: Ok, that makes more sense!
E: I’m a huge fan of Jim Broadbent, also seen in Bullets Over Broadway, the much maligned Enchanted April (M: or as I prefer to call it, Accursed April.), and of course in Iris, the role that won him his richly deserved Oscar. He wasn’t what I pictured, either, but that’s possibly because the closest actor to my mental image is already playing Vernon Dursley.
M: Personally I was wondering if there was a British version of Martin Mull. (E: Excellent! A plus sized Martin Mull.) On a different note, and this one is probably 3 films too late, but I don’t like that they completely abandoned the robes. That was one of the things in the books that I thought really set the mood and added some nice comedic touches. I could see why the director of Azkaban wanted to get rid of them to give the movie his own feel, but why does no one want to bring them back?
C: I suppose it makes sense for the sake of the art direction and design, not to tie themselves down to one static, non-form-fitting look for everybody. But it does change the sense of it being a boarding school story, since there’s no “school uniform.” I suppose they wanted to get away from an overtly “fantasy” look as well – everything’s rather grittier and less whimsical in the movie wizarding world, than in Rowling’s version.
M: Well, everything except Hermione’s skin. That’s less gritty, as far as skin goes.