Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who Killed the Half Blood Prince?

As a filmmaker; I am well aware of the intricacies of transitioning a much-loved book into a film. (This was first made clear to me after reading John Irving's 'My Movie Business' several years ago.) So I understand that it has got to be much more difficult for Warner Brothers to undertake a series of books whose characters and the situations they find themselves faced with, are so real to the millions of readers out there in the Muggle World. 

I also know that Ms. Rowling has maintained very close creative control on all of the movies even to the point of handpicking Alan Rickman for the role of Snape. And for the most part, her decisions when to hold firm to the original story-lines and when to give have been good ones.

Therefore I can only conclude that she was under the Imperious Curse when she reviewed and approved this particular script written by Steve Kloves, directed by David Yates and produced as always by David Heyman.

There are way too many newly constructed and unneeded scenes. For example; the train station and the coffee shop with its resident waitress, as well as the burning of The Burrow which has been a haven for Harry all these years and continues to be into the next book! How do the filmmakers plan to resurrect it? I am curious... and not in a good way.

What is essentially the subplot of Harry and Ginny's burgeoning romance was kicked into high gear, depriving both stalwart and movie fans of the natural pacing of young and natural love with all of its tension and anticipation. The same held true for Ron and Hermione's relationship. Instead of concentrating on cultivating chemistry between the characters; they instead cultivated situations to put them in the same space.

Basically, too much time and effort were put into these and not the mystery about the identity of the Half Blood Prince and his importance to not only this installment of Harry Potter, but to the overall story.

Even as the filmmakers used their creative license to create new scenes, they omitted very valuable ones like Dumbledore stressing that Harry was to keep his invisible cloak with him at all times. The characters' learning to apparate. And most importantly, the number memories that they delve into as Dumbledore seeks to inform and make Harry ready for the ultimate meeting with Voldemort. After all, Ms. Rowling like anyone who has faced an opponent knows that one is supposed to know and understand his enemy to be able to defeat him. 

Had the sequences been handled completely and correctly; Harry (and the viewers) would have understood how Voldermort transitioned from Tom Riddle, what drives him, and as well as his similarities to Harry himself. This is key to the Deathly Hallows. The few memories that were shown, were also inaccurately referred to as Voldemort's memories; not ones Dumbledore has collected from several people.

Harry has never been a coward. Indeed it is his readiness to rise to both real and obscure challenges that have driven the stories; just think of the situation that led to Sirius' death. How then in this movie Harry flees like a coward when he felled young Malfoy in the girls' bathroom? Or, stands idly by and allows Dumbledore to be killed without trying to help him?

Ms. Rowling in the book, knowing her character, placed a freezing spell on him by the unspoken word of Dumbledore who in the instant it took him to do it, sacrificed his ability to defend himself and so lost his wand to Malfoy's spell. A great wizard such as he could not have been so easily at the mercy of one as young and inexperienced as Malfoy; not when Voldermort himself could not defeat him! This key element is non-existent in the movie. As was paying tribute to Dumbledore with a funeral. The greatest wizard who ever lived had died and passed the mantle to a younger one who loved him and no reverent funeral scene was used to illustrate and capture it.

I'd like to know who's the Muggle that bears the responsibility of killing the Half Blood Prince!

This has all just given me a headache... 

Accio migraine tablets!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A cook I'll never be; I aspire to be the guy with the plate in his hand.

So I came across this picture of Julia Child on the set of The French Chef in 1963 and couldn't help sharing it! 

Those were the good ol' days (way before my time by the way) when television shows, including those about cooking were taped live and broadcast uncut! Therefore if the water was supposed to be 'boiling' before vegetables were added; one had to wait for the water to boil and so Mrs. Child improvised and filled the time with tips and stories about cooking and doing sundry other things while waiting for the said water to be ready to receive the vegetables.

I think I caught one or two episodes of Mrs. Child's show back in the early seventies when I was a mere kid who had no interest whatsoever in anything to do with cooking except the final product on my plate when mealtime came around. Needless to say I was bored with the show. Had I only given some thought then to all that would have been going on behind the scenes that us tv viewers couldn't see, it would have been a thousand times more interesting!

Thankfully I have matured (somewhat) and can now appreciate both the show's 'behind the scenes' tasks and the task of cooking itself... if only so that I could break my betrothal to fast food outlets and learn to feed myself in a healthy manner. On my list of things to accomplish in the very near future, is to produce and tape a live weekly show with all its trappings however as the odd person who tastes my cooking will tell you; I will never be a Julia Child!

Picture: Paul Child/Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University