Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tampering with Memories

We interrupt this series of road trip posts (which have been delayed because we've been super busy with amazing experiences you're going to love reading about) in order to share a few thoughts on the cinema event of 2009: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Whilst I loved the film, I do question all the emphasis on the characters portrayed by actors other than Alan Rickman. Given the wonderful richness of J.K. Rowling's book, the movie should have been at least twice as long. And it should have had twentyfold the number of scenes with Snape.

There were some splendid visual effects and great acting. I won't force you to listen to the play-by-play analysis in which my family and I engaged. Rest assured that we four can spend a shitload a great deal of time considering every millisecond of a movie and discuss it ad nauseam.

It is how we roll.

Plot point alert follows! Don't read if you want to be totally surprised by the film because you haven't read the book. Otherwise, continue.

Here is something for you to think about.

Dumbledore informs Harry that Horace Slughorn has deliberately tampered with his own memory of an encounter with Tom Riddle. The Headmaster speculates that Slughorn has done so because he is uncomfortable with what happened. Slughorn is loathe to respond to Harry's repeated requests for the truth; he avoids and evades him until Harry convinces him that in hiding the memory, the professor is dishonoring his student, Lily, who sacrificed her life fighting the evil monster Riddle had become. When Slughorn gives Harry the true memory, he tells the boy "Don't think less of me when you see it."

Have you ever revised your own history to avoid confronting something unpleasant or admitting an error? I know I have. As time went on, I told others the falsehood so often that I nearly came to believe it myself. You're not getting the details here, so don't get your hopes up for something juicy you can hold over me. Then, one day, something happened that made me realize it was cowardly not to acknowledge what had really occurred. That this lie was unworthy of the person I wished to be. So I stopped bullshitting and just faced facts. It was a whole lot less tough than I thought it would be.

I think that's the strength of Rowling's writing; she taps into some critical human experiences in marvelous new ways. Her books are about friendship and love and courage and sacrifice. This newest movie successfully illuminates much of that essence.

But it does need more Rickman scenes.


Kathy Amen said...

A movie can *never* have too much Alan Rickman, I agree wholeheartedly.

Can't wait to read about your other amazing adventures!

Kathryn Magendie said...

I love Rickman!

I saw the movie with my brother - he's read all the books; I haven't - only the first one...he said the book was much better done and the movie "skipped" a lot of things - I walked out of the movie feeling someting was missing and he said "lots of things were missing!" but yes, the visual effects were stunning.. :)

phd in yogurtry said...

A big agree on Rickman.

And remember, there's always S&S's Col. Brandon.

web said...

Given the wonderful richness of J.K. Rowling's book, the movie should have been at least twice as long

Bee said...

We saw this yesterday, and not having read the book, I was devastated that Snape proved to be a baddie after all! (I know that he had baddie written all over him, but I wanted to believe otherwise. How could Dumbledore be wrong?) Love AR, though. Silkiest, sexiest voice EVER.

I wish that our family could have deconstructed it along yours. I'm making apple pie . . . can you come over?

Becky said...

Team Snape here.

You know, it's amazing how little screen time he has in some of the movies.

I do think some really fun stuff was left out--it felt really compressed. I did enjoy the hizeck out of it though. And hurrah for Colonel Brandon! He's great in that.