The Other Half of the Half Blood Prince
Welcome back (if you haven’t read the first half of “Half of the Half Blood Prince” please click and go read the spoiler warnings there. You’ve been warned. That being said, I feel I must correct myself. At the end of that post, I said that Alan Rickman’s Snape embodied everything I liked and disliked about the movie. That’s not wholly accurate. Its not really Alan Rickman’s Snape, its David Yates’ direction of the character and editing of scenes that I find fault with. And to further qualify, its mainly at the end of the film, or should I say what should have been at the end of the film, that I find the lack of ferocity objectionable.
Alan Rickman’s Snape is sarcastic and caustic and has the stillness, in this movie in particular, of a cobra preparing to strike, mesmerizing with his venomous words. My objection is he is never allowed to strike! We are denied seeing that ultimate spewing of hurt and pain that Rowling gave us in the book. The battle of words and wands between Harry and Snape that presents us with a glimpse into all that Snape is and has been swallowing when he proclaims “Don’t call me a coward!” Instead of a battle of wills, with Harry venting anger and Snape controlling himself until he snaps, we get the tepid line of “I am the Half Blood Prince, ” a kick of Harry’s wand and away he goes. My only hope is that scenes were filmed that weren’t included in the theatrical release and perhaps we’ll get to see them in future DVDs.
I got a glimpse, albeit a very small glimpse, of the Snape swagger in the scene where Snape is leading the deatheaters out of the great hall – there was something very Sheriff of Nottingham in the way he charged out of there with the others in tow.
Also objectionable is the handling of the Dumbledore’s death. Why change the fact that Harry is paralyzed and unable to help? Why delete Dumbledore’s funeral – instead we get Harry sobbing and the whole of Hogwart’s pointing their wands to the sky (which reminded me of a 70’s concert or that old Coke commercial – with kids holding lit candles and wishing they could teach the world to sing). Need I say, it did not have the emotional impact, at least to me, that Dumbledore’s passing should have invoked.
There is more I didn’t particularly like but most of it has been covered by the myriad of other Potter fans reviewing the film on line. Let me go back to one more thing I did like. While I was not particularly enamored of the lack of color, the blue and sepia tinged tones got a little weary after a bit, I liked the cinematography of Bruno Delbonnel, the framing in particular.
Mercifully for you, I’ve run out of steam. Here are two excerpts from interviews and reviews, that I’ve found entertaining:
A New York Times review described Rickman’s Snape as “drawing each word out with exquisite luxury, bringing to mind a buzzard lazily pulling at entrails.“
And this from The GATE interview of Tom Felton,
At the very end of the scene, after Snape has done his bit, we’re sort of walking out of the Great Hall in this sort of goose, v-wing formation in which he’s at the front. He’s the sort of leading goose if you will, and he’s got this sort of wedding-dress cape on that goes three metres on the ground.
The director was very keen for us to stay close behind to him and of course, don’t look at where your feet are going. And actually, before we started filming Alan turned around in his very sinister way and said, [imitating his voice] ‘Don’t step on my cloak.’
And we also didn’t know if he was joking or not, so we’re all, ‘Ha ha, very funny, very funny.’ So naturally, on the second take I planted my heel well and truly on it, which ripped his neck back in a hilarious fashion in my eyes, but at the time it didn’t go down well and there was a rather awkward silence after.