Without hesitation, the worst film in the Harry Potter saga is the sixth, The Half-Blood Prince . Unfortunately, time has not changed anything and my opinion remains.
Let’s be real for a second. How were they able to release a film like this in the cinema? This one has so many moments where you’re like “what the fuck?” » , that words still fail me.
Understand that when it was released in theaters during the summer of 2009, this sixth book was my favorite. Of course, it’s impossible for me to really separate them, but this one stood out from the others at that moment. Without a doubt, The Half-Blood Prince is a very good book. Needless to say, the disappointment lived up to the expectations.
This novel provides us with exactly 720 pages of content, but the filmmakers still managed to delete the most important scenes to add completely stupid and unnecessary ones. Even though there were so many epic scenes in the book.
Cornelius Fudge’s interview with the Muggle Prime Minister, Dumbledore’s arrival with fanfare at the Dursleys, Harry’s summer at the Burrow with Fleur Delacour, the relationship between Tonks and Lupin, the birth of Harry’s love and Ginny, the mystery surrounding the Half-Blood Prince and that of Malfoy, the battle of the Astronomy Tower, the death and burial of Dumbledore.
Most importantly, this sixth volume finally provided the most detailed account of Lord Voldemort’s history and, in doing so, reduced a previously supernatural and powerful villain to an ordinary, insecure human. Clearly, JK Rowling had succeeded very well in posing her characters as caricatures, perfectly recognizable, and then making them more complex.
Does all this mean nothing to you, fellow spectators? This is quite normal, none of this is present in the film. So what was actually left, you might ask? Quite simply, simple romantic and hormonal tugs between pre-pubescent adolescents.
Note that there is nothing wrong with talking about adolescence in a Harry Potter film . Besides, I was a prepubescent teenager myself when this film came out? But just keeping that was ridiculous. Was it the fact that it was 2009 then, and romantic films such as Twilight Chapter 2 were a hit at the cinema? Was it this tendency that pushed David Yates to make such a film? Difficult to know, but by no means impossible.
Let’s get back to what’s clearly wrong with the Half-Blood Prince.
As highlighted earlier, excitement was at its peak when this film was released. Especially since the first trailer was promising. Indeed, we heard Dumbledore’s voice, on images from the Pensieve, saying that “to know the future, we must return to the past”. Which was true. After all, that’s what Harry and his headmaster will be doing throughout this book. This sixth volume is above all a preparation for war for Harry. Learn to know your enemy better , to succeed in defeating him.
It is clear that a cinematographic adaptation must, precisely, adapt. It’s impossible to keep every little detail. That would be completely ridiculous. However, there are limits to everything.
First major problem. This film evokes Harry’s sexuality in a way that is far too strange and inappropriate.
Where to start ? Well, from the beginning of course, because there are things to say about this film, from the first minutes.
From the opening of the film, we find Harry in a Muggle London café, reading The Daily Prophet, where he is waiting for Dumbledore. In the book, it is the latter who will come to pick him up from the Dursleys. A hilarious scene, in which he gently mistreats the Dursleys, who had been very rude to him.
If he comes to get it himself, it’s for a good reason. With Voldemort officially back, Harry was in more danger than ever. Let us note this first inconsistency. Harry would never have hung out alone in a Muggle cafe, in plain sight. And your mother’s magical protection, what do you do with it Harry?
The worst is coming. Harry then begins to flirt in a very awkward way with a Muggle waitress. Please tell me who this girl is, and especially where is this shameful dialogue coming from?
The girl sees the headline of the newspaper and asks: “Who is Harry Potter?” » . To which he responds: “Oh! Nobody, a good nothing, that’s all.” Stop! His godfather just died and you’re telling me he’s sitting in a cafe, flirting with some average girl?
Besides, although Harry had a tendency to disregard the rules, are we really to believe that he was stupid enough to read the Daily Prophet in full view of muggles, without even trying to be discreet?
Next comes the character of Albus Dumbledore.
Forgive me, but it’s clear that Michael Gambon is not a very good Dumbledore in this film. Certainly, he is a good actor. He’s not the worst Dumbledore we could have imagined, but he’s just not Richard Harris. He doesn’t have that sparkle in his eyes, that mischief and that grandeur specific to the character in the book. The emotion was therefore not there at the time of his death.
Add to that, there was little chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and himself on screen. But at the same time, how can you blame him when you see how Radcliffe played like a tench. Or didn’t play anyway? He himself is unable to watch this film again and we understand that. Unfortunately, Radcliffe is expressionless throughout the entire film. He apparently had alcoholism problems on set, so we forgive him, but that clearly didn’t help his game. A performance far removed from that of the last two films.
Let’s not talk about the moment when they go to get the horcrux and Dumbledore points out that he should shave. Of course, they wanted to show that the director was nostalgic, but given that Daniel Radcliffe was completely hairless, it was far more hilarious than moving.
A credible relationship is built over time and not with such vague dialogues .
Unfortunately, it’s not over yet. The headmaster continued with awkward and intrusive questions about Harry and Hermione’s relationship.
“(Dumbledore) – What about your activities outside of your classes? (Harry) – Sir? (Dumbledore): Well, I noticed you spend a lot of time with Miss Granger. So I can’t help but wonder if… (Harry) – Oh no. No. I mean, she’s brilliant, we’re friends, but no… (Dumbledore) – Forgive me, I was just curious. »
But why ? Why would he ask this kind of question? Since when did Dumbledore gossip about Harry’s love life? He had no reason to question her about her personal life. It had nothing to do with his plan. So why ? Oh yes, I know why.
By the time Order of the Phoenix was released , the writers had already made the mistake of belittling and ridiculing Ron’s character, so many fans logically wanted to see Hermione end up with Harry. In fact, this scene was a clumsy attempt to fix that and tell the audience that they were just friends . So that they wouldn’t be shocked when Hermione paired up with Ron and Harry with Ginny.
All these strange additions are far too forced and out of place. Clearly, the way the trio was portrayed in a “romantic” manner in the later films is not satisfactory. Why that ? Because Ron was completely relegated to the background in these films. Of course, the Half-Blood Prince doesn’t cut it.
I love Hermione. He’s a great character, just like Harry and Ron. But there is abuse there.
Let’s focus only on the aberrant finale of this sixth film.
Indeed, Ron disappears so much from the film that he won’t even say a single word during the astronomy tower scene, in which Harry and Hermione were literally discussing not returning for their final year at Hogwarts to go fight Voldemort.
This is an important moment, do we agree? Maybe you should talk to Ron and ask him if he agrees? Hello Ron, are you with us?
Hermione stood next to Harry and declared that she and Ron were going to accompany him. Note that Ron wasn’t even visible on screen. He didn’t even appear in the frame. This conversation took place solely between Harry and Hermione. Where was Ron? He was in the background sitting watching them, in the shadows, far from the conversation and left out, while Harry and Hermione were in the light.
Hermione will only interact with Harry and won’t even bother looking at him. She will be the only one to intervene, and what’s more, to say stupid things.
“I have always admired your courage, Harry, but how stubborn you can be sometimes. Do you really think you’re going to find all these Horcruxes on your own? You need us , Harry. »
They were standing. Ron was sitting. Harry and Hermione were in the light. Ron was in the shadows. Hermione stood at Harry’s side, but Ron let her speak for him. Eventually, Ron will get up, after the other two have finished their conversation, and then they look out at the lake. But Ron stands slightly behind them. Which poses two problems.
This indicates that Ron is not their equal and cannot stand alongside them, and it makes Hermione and Harry seem like co-leaders. While it is clear that in the book both followed Harry in the same way. It would have made more sense to see Harry in the middle, and Ron and Hermione behind him, the same distance away.
Ron and Hermione, logically following Harry, together.
Apparently Rupert Grint was recovering from the flu, but don’t tell me the script wasn’t already written and they couldn’t wait for him to get better. Remember the importance of the scene in the book.
In the latter, Ron comforted a crying Hermione during Dumbledore’s funeral. Then, they promised Harry that they would both follow him in the hunt for horcruxes. Ron was even the first to promise it. Which made sense!
“We’ll come find you, Harry,” Ron promised. – What? – At your uncle and aunt’s house. And we will accompany you, wherever you go. – No, Harry replied immediately. […] – You told us one day, Hermione recalled in a low voice, that there was still time for us to go back, if we wanted to. We’ve had plenty of this time, haven’t we? “We’ll be with you no matter what,” Ron assured. » – Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Once again, the film erased any indication that the trio were truly supportive and equal partners. With Ron’s importance fading, David Yates and David Heyman further played on this strange idea of the Harry and Hermione couple. Yuck.
Let’s continue with the trio, Ron, Lavender and Hermione. The infirmary scene. Help. Total embarrassment.
“Lavender: (noting Hermione next to Ron in the hospital wing) – What is she doing here!? Hermione: I could ask you the same question! Lavender: I happen to be his girlfriend! Hermione: I happen to be his… friend. Lavender: Don’t make me laugh. You haven’t spoken in weeks! I guess you want to make up now that he’s suddenly all interesting! Hermione: He was poisoned, you idiot! And for the record, I always found it interesting. »
This awkward scene was yet another way to create unnecessary drama, when nothing bad had really happened between Hermione and Lavender in the book.
“Lavender: Ah! You see ? He senses my presence. [leans in] Don’t worry, Ron-Ron! I am here. I am here. Ron: [caws] Um…Hermione…hercute. [Hermione tenderly takes Ron’s hand. Lavender runs away in tears. Awkward silence.] Dumbledore: [jovially] Oh, to be young and to know the words that love inflicts. We can all go out… Mr. Weasley is well supervised. Ginny: (whispering to Harry) It’s about time. You do not think ? Hermione: (noting Harry’s expression) Oh, shut up. (Harry leaves as Hermione continues to shake Ron’s hand and smiles tenderly.)
By Merlin’s beard. What is that ?
Ron had still just been poisoned. It was a serious situation. We didn’t know if he was going to make it. Unfortunately, they had already reduced the severity of the moment of him being poisoned by making him say, “His daughters, they’re going to kill me, Harry!” “.
In the book, Hermione was too shocked to say anything in the hospital wing. Also, why does Albus Dumbledore intervene at this point? Not to mention the presence of the other teachers which made this scene even more awkward. David Yates still had the nerve to film a group of teachers idly watching a teen drama .
Let’s quickly move on to the Harry and Ginny relationship which was a total disaster. Their kiss in this movie isn’t any worse than the one in Deathly Hallows, but all of their supposedly romantic exchanges are beyond awful. She wipes his nose. She gives him a kiss. She ties his shoelaces. Kill me.
This was surely one of the most disappointing elements of the film. Not to mention the fact that Bonnie Wright and Daniel Radcliffe also had no on-screen chemistry.
The book portrayed Harry’s jealousy and guilt perfectly. When we read it, we weren’t sure it would work out between them. The tension rose until finally leading to this kiss in the common room. So we were impatiently waiting for their first kiss. In the end, the kiss was awkward and their relationship was not very clear. We don’t even know where they stand, because they kiss secretly, and nothing else happens between them after that.
We also witness one of the most boring scenes in the film. The one from the Burrow that catches fire.
Ironically , this scene was added to add action in the middle of the film, and thus remove the battle at the Astronomy Tower.
Very good idea, you idiots!
The scene makes no sense, serves no purpose and has no impact in the story. Also, no one will ever mention the fact that the Burrow was rebuilt in the next movie. Which is maybe a good thing in the end, because I too prefer to pretend this moment never happened.
Ultimately, the filmmakers failed to show what made this book great . Namely the mystery of the Half-Blood Prince, the one that surrounded Draco Malfoy, and especially the story behind Voldemort and the meaning of his horcruxes for him.
In the novel, Harry had the feeling that Malfoy was up to something, but neither he nor the reader knew whether he was right or not. Especially since Harry had already made a mistake about Sirius being kidnapped from the ministry. The final revelation was therefore important and enjoyable. Harry was indeed right. Instead, the movie showed us everything up front and took the mystery out of this entire plot. Which was stupid.
Draco was indeed trying to smuggle the Death Eaters into the school. Harry was suspicious of him, but no one believed him. It’s still one of the main stories in the book. The one that will lead us to the final climax. So, what was the point of bringing in the Death Eaters if the battle at the Astronomy Tower didn’t take place and the school didn’t show resistance? Were they there just to break windows and plates and then leave?
In the end, Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape, the two people who had access to Albus Dumbledore all year, manage to kill him, so why bother for a year to get them into Hogwarts? Draco’s whole purpose of getting them in is pointless, because the Death Eaters themselves will be useless.
Unfortunately, removing important parts of a story can make it completely incoherent . And that’s what happened.
Besides, speaking of inconsistency.
When Dumbeldore asked Harry to hide at the top of the tower, instead of petrifying him, it didn’t make sense. Harry Potter had never trusted Snape or Malfoy in his life. He would never have remained silent, quietly watching Dumbledore being murdered. It went against everything he was.
Let’s finish with the most disappointing point of this film. The past of Tom Riddle aka Lord Voldemort.
In the book, we finally learned more about the past of the big bad and his motivations, thanks to the different memories that Dumbledore had been able to amass over the years.
Of course, the length of the films was limited, so we couldn’t see everything, but still… You’re not going to tell me that these memories weren’t more important and interesting than all those pathetic scenes and self -called romantics.
No. Categorically no.
Why the hell did the writers remove the memories with the Gaunt family? That they deleted the one with Hepzibah Smith, almost. We should have all seen them, but only at the limit. But the Gaunts? No. The sixth book consisted of tracing the Dark Lord’s past. So it was important to see the Gaunt family, especially Merope. His tragic story was one of the reasons Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort.
If only the writers hadn’t wasted so much time on these teen dramas …
Furthermore, it is clear that the actor chosen to play Tom Riddle at sixteen years old was not as good as the version of Christian Coulson in Chamber of Secrets.
Voldemort as a teenager must have been a model student, trustworthy and friendly to all his teachers, although subtly manipulative. A leader who charmed his classmates into doing things for him. Slughorn even encouraged him to pursue a political career. He was as persuasive as he was intimidating. Not to mention that he was very handsome and charismatic.
Christian Coulson fulfilled this role wonderfully. Unfortunately, David Yates did not bring him back, as he was apparently too old.
Pardon ? Where was the real problem? Besides the fact that Christian Coulson had barely changed physically since 2002, even if that had been the case, the makeup artists of the saga had managed to rejuvenate Alan Rickman’s face during Snape’s memories in the last film, why not couldn’t they have done it here? This is insane.
Not that Frank Dillane was a bad actor. But there was a complete lack of understanding of young Voldemort’s personality on his part.
First, he didn’t seem trustworthy at all. He was even a little scary. Then he seemed way too soft and fragile, and not that he was ugly, but he clearly didn’t have that charisma that befits a true leader. Finally, his way of speaking was not appropriate. How could this tone be persuasive? He was more scary than anything else. Anyone who talks to me like, will see me running away.
Clearly, nothing to do with the Tom Riddle we meet in the books.
Last point. The icing on the cake is with the launch of the end credits.
Clearly nothing went from A to Z with this film. The latter therefore ends in a morose and sad way. The great Dumbledore had just been assassinated. The war was there more than ever. Suddenly, the credits start with the totally joyful theme of the Weasley brothers, called “ Fireworks ”.
Ultimately, we can say that the filmmakers had no confidence in this sixth book. It’s more than obvious. It is in no way surprising to note that this film was created by salespeople and not movie buffs.
The latter obviously analyzed the market and concluded that it was much more interesting for them to make a romantic blockbuster, to create love triangles from scratch, and to add unnecessary action scenes, rather than to adapt in the best way the original story.
How could they believe for a single moment that Lord Voldemort’s past would not interest the spectators?
After all, if they went to the cinema to see the sixth film in a franchise, it is because they were at least interested in the story and surely wanted to know more about the past of its main antagonist! No ?
How did those who didn’t read the books manage to understand the story? Sincerely. It’s impossible. This film assumed too much that everyone had read the literary saga. Which is abnormal. A cinematographic adaptation cannot be made on the principle that its viewer has read the original work. Otherwise, it’s just a bad adaptation. Which was the case.
Ultimately, this film’s worst crime was that it was excessively boring. Totally slow. Without rhythm, nor even comic tempo and the fact of having filled it with mud made it soporific .
Contrary to popular belief, filling a movie with action scenes won’t make it any slower. On the contrary, it is only the interesting scenes that captivate, whether action or not. In fact, Lord Voldemort’s memories were certainly not action scenes strictly speaking, but they were exciting. Therefore, although it is exciting, it is never boring.
Plus, color grading a movie to gray won’t make it more serious and dark, especially when half of it is filled with more-than-awkward teenage romance. It will just make him painful to watch. Ultimately, half of the scenes are so dark on screen that they become difficult to understand.
Of course, there are very beautiful scenes in The Half-Blood Prince , which save it a little, the cellar scene for example. And Nicholas Hooper’s music is very beautiful, but that’s not everything.
Clearly the director and producers were more focused on what they thought audiences would want as a film, to make money, rather than trying to capture the essence of the book and make it the fitting adaptation that this book deserved.
As a result, The Half-Blood Prince is certainly not the worst film in the world, but it is undoubtedly the worst of the eight films in the saga, both as a film and as an adaptation.