<em>Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince</em>

Spoilers.

I did take time out of my absurd schedule to go see Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince at midnight on Wednesday. Which reminds me how irritating it is when I go buy a ticket for "12:00am Tuesday" for a 12:00am Wednesday showing. That people and movie theatres cannot figure out the midnight thing confuses and infuriates me. I know movie theatres count midnight showings as part of the business day preceding, but one would think that in today's glorious age of fancy computers ticketing and revenue software could be programmed to handle this crap in a more sensible way.

The movie. Hm. Looking for nice things to say...

Well it was very prettily shot, with lots of expressive camerawork. And Tom Felton outdid himself and stole the show with so very few lines.

But they ruined the surprise ending. In the book, it was clear that when Snape made the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa Malfoy, he had no idea what the Dark Lord had asked Draco to do. The main drama of the book was in wondering about Snape - what he was thinking, whose side he was on, and what he was supposed to be helping Draco do. I can understand stripping out the details of the motives of the Malfoys, the Tom Riddle backstory, or the sinister side of Slughorn, but I cannot see why they castrated the Snape storyline. With all they took out, there's no real story left.

They got rid of the big battle in Hogwarts at the end. I can see that - there's another big battle in Hogwarts at the end of Part 7, and the violence and shock of Dumbledore's death should have been plenty for the climax. But they took that out, too. There was no surprise when Snape killed Dumbledore; neither in the killing nor in the identity of the killer. And not because we've all read the book first.

In short, there is no mystery in Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince. While the 6th book was not my favorite book, it was still interesting. David Yates & co. actually managed to make this installment bland and uninteresting.

Tom G Varik