Friday, July 10, 2009


Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince | Gossip Girl Of The Wizard World

Harry Potter is very much a child of the millennium. In spite of existing in a world where 9/11 does not seem to have happened, Potter and his buddies have successfully ridden the information superhighway using the many-headed media hydra to great ef fect. 
Till 2000, Harry Potter and his adventures in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were only followed by avid readers.

All changed in 2000 when the fourth book in the series, ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,’ was released to well-orchestrated media frenzy led by author J. K. Rowling’s revelation that one of the characters would be killed.

Since then there was no looking back. In 2001, the first Harry Potter movie, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ was released instantly converting its lead actors (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint) into household names.

International events
The movie and books were media phenomena with each book and movie release becoming international events swamped by a tsunami of hype and hoopla. The hysteria touched an all-time high in July 2007, when the fifth instalment of the series, ‘Order of the Phoenix’ was released in theatres and the final book, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,’ hit the bookstands within a week of each other.

After that golden July (pun intended), all was quiet on the muggle front save for some exclusive, expensive first-edition releases from Rowling. The sixth movie, ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,’ was originally supposed to be out last November. And now all who were suffering from withdrawal symptoms will get their fix of potion with the release of the movie on July 16.

For those who have just arrived on the planet, the books tell the story of Harry Potter, who on his 11th birthday finds out he is actually a wizard. As a baby, he defeated the dark lord, Voldemort. The seven books trace Harry’s life in the famous Hogwarts school, where he hones his skills to do a final battle with Voldemort.

While the books can be marvelled at for their inventiveness, imagination and unity of time, place and action, the same cannot be said about the films. The first two films directed by family-friendly Chris Columbus (known for the ‘Home Alone’ movies) were so worshipful of the source material that they felt like celluloid readings of the books.

‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ in 2004 saw a change of director and a dramatic change in palette. The brilliant Alfonso Cuaron took over the reins and brought his special brand of magic to the film. ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ with its Marauders’ Map, the tragic Hippogriff, the enigmatic Sirius Black, the soul-sucking Dementors and the beloved staple of all sci-fi fantasies, time travel, was an enchanting adventure with a vigorous identity all of its own distinct from the novels.

‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ in 2005 was directed by Mike Newell who replaced Cuaron’s wild flights of fancy with a delicate sense of whimsy. While Harry was doing deadly tasks at the Tri-wizard tournament, he had to simultaneously perform the even more-terrifying job of asking a girl out. Newell who is known for his charming rom-coms such as ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ brought a feather-light touch to the franchise, which while not as mind-altering as Cuaron’s vision, was a welcome change from Columbus’ reverence.

The fifth movie, ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,’ directed by David Yates, was workman like. While there was no obsessive adherence to the source material, there were no inspired choices either. It almost seemed as if Yates had a check-list of Harry Potter regulars that he meticulously ticked off.

Yates now returns with the sixth instalment of the franchise, ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,’ and is also going to direct the final movie, ‘Death Hallows’ which would be released in two parts in 2010 and 2011.

Apart from mind-blowing special effects and eye-popping creatures, the movies stand out for the supporting cast which features the best and brightest of British cinema from Ralph Feinnes, Kenneth Branagh, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris and Gary Oldman to Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton and Helena Bonham-Carter. For the sixth edition, Jim Broadbent joins the happy family as potions Professor Horace Slughorn and Helen McCrory plays Narcissa Malfoy, mother to the slithery supercilious Draco. Wonder when Hugh Grant and the regal Dame Judi Dench would join the gang.

Yates has described ‘Half-Blood Prince’ as “romance, potions and rock ‘n’ roll.” With Harry having feelings for Ginny, Ron getting a girlfriend and Hermione realising her feelings for Ron, the movie promises to be the “Gossip Girl” of the wizard world! Abracadabra! Let the magic begin!

Review By - THE HINDU


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Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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July 11, 2009 at 6:38 PM delete

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