Archive for July 22nd, 2009
Scott Eric Kaufman on Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince:
it presents an unnerving and captivating account of a world and moment the audience can’t fully fathom. The confusion was compelling: I was drawn into situations whose meaning escaped me, but whose significance was clear, and so I spent the entire film intellectually engaged… The earlier films never alluded; they either explicated at length or vehemently pointed at the mystery the movie would explain. In The Half-Blood Prince, David Yates includes scenes whose importance is not established by the mere fact of their inclusion. The narrative wanders, forcing the audience to debate which of the various elements will ultimately be meaningful… The narrative ambiguity, coupled with a pace that allowed scenes to develop such that motivations were intimated rather than immediately revealed, resulted in a film that was strikingly adult in weight and complexity
You might think this sounds a bit like filthy postmodernism – I’m not convinced that a sloppy, confused narrative is actually a good thing because it allows multiple reads of the text – but it is still an interesting post and his snark about Manohla Dargis is worth the price of admission alone. It is interesting because it is the perspective of someone seeing the films with fresh eyes, especially since my views of the films are so coloured by the books. There are large chunks of Kaufman’s post I disagree with (starting with the opening sentence) but it is a good point about the impatience with the film of those familar with the books because they know how the story ends and the film singularly fails to move this story forward. At the same time though, I saw the film with my girlfrend, who hasn’t read any of the books either, and her response was less “what a wonderful intellectual puzzle” and more “well, that was pretty pointless”. If only Yates had played a bit faster and looser with the source text.
But there’s more! Kaufman has just posted his thoughts on the Hugos slapfight which John “Bellows” Scalzi has managed to supply with plenty more oxygen. By the way, if you are actually still interested in following the debate, the conversation over at Torque Control remains the most interesting and least retarded.