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Lu Galasso on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Okay, so I have always been a Harry Potter girl. The first book came out when I was somewhere around the age of 10 and I fell in love. I read the first, second and third as soon as they came out. When the fourth came out I got half way through it and because I was older then I had more homework I had to complete so Harry, Ron and Hermione got put on the back burner. Then the movies began coming out and that resparked my interest. I watched the first 3 films and still didn’t repick up the book. Then I watched the fourth movie and thought, why did I never finish that book? That’s when I finished that book and made sure I read every other one as soon as they came out.

That being said, I have been excited for the release of the 6th film since I heard about its original release date. I was heartbroken when they pushed the date until nearly a year later. Over the weekend I was finally able to go and see it. Now, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it. I knew what was going to happen and so there were no surprises but I had read mixed reviews on the film. After seeing it I understood what was goingLu Galasso - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on in the reviews. Those who did not like it (mostly critics) and those who called in “slow” or “uneventful” were those we had clearly never read the books, or at least they had never read the 6th book. I’m no expert but the impression I got from reading the 6th book and then the 7th was that the 6th book was positioned to set up everything that was going to happen in the 7th and final book. It was if the 6th and 7th book were written together and then seperated in the middle. The 6th book is all about being able to figure out how Voldermort can be defeated so that the 7th can be all about trying to defeat him. The 6th book is a catalyst for Harry to become, for lack of better words, “his own wizard” and for him to come to terms with the fact that he really is “the chosen one”. It is all about Harry and his two best friends to establish to the readers and the other characters that they have grown up. They aren’t little kids anymore. It’s time to bring out the big magic!

The film was done in exactly the same pace as the story. With lots of detail, the addition of new characters and providing new pieces to the puzzle. Although the book always provides more information and better detail than can fit in a film, the film wasn’t too shabby. If you’re a Harry Potter lover, you’ll like this one too. For those who aren’t, well Ron and Harry have certainly grown up. Ron’s even got some muscles now. There’s a little big of magic, a little bit of romance, some mystery and you won’t want to miss the unexpected ending!

Lu Galasso

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July 29, 2009 Posted by | movies | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso – The Week We’ve Been Waiting For

Lu Galasso here,

Well keeping with the theme of pop culture, I obviously have to talk about one of the biggest and most anticipated pop culture phenomenons – Harry Potter. The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived and Harry Potter and The Half-Blooded Prince is being released this week. It was originally set to be released sometime last year but complications arose and it got pushed. For those of you who are like myself and are avid Harry Potter fans, this book is where the story starts to turn. What once started out as a light hearted book about a boy becoming a wizard, having adventures and making new friends, has turned into a dark, twisty and mysterious plot. Harry Potter is no longer a boy, he is becoming a man. This film deals with relationships, death and more. It is no longer a story aimed at children, or at least in my opinion anyways. I started reading Harry Potter as a kid, when it was first released and kept up right until the end. Although the films are unable to fully capture everything that J.K Rowling writes in her books, I would have to say they do a pretty damn good job for what they have to work with.

In this book, as well as in the final novel, there were parts that even as a twenty year old, terrified me. In this final books I laughed, I cringed, I was nervous and I even cried. Why did Rowling make them so dark? Perhaps it was because she was aware that as she was writing these novels, the majority of her fan base was growing up with them. The first film came out in 2001 – making me about 13. The books came out even before that. I’m 21 now and the final book was released two summers ago. Meaning that Harry Potter and friends have grown up with me.

Rowling, as well as the film producers were smart, in that I believe they foresaw the popularity of twilight. Although, like Harry Potter, Twilight is popular across all age groups, its essentially the new Harry Potter, and its younger fan base will be more familiar with Twilight than our friend HP. Therefore, if Rowling had made her most recent books fairly childish, than she would likely loose some of her most loyal fans, the now older generation, leaving the new youngsters, who have likely not read her first novels, to have their own series.

Anyways, enough talk from me. I found a great article on the thestar.com that talks about the upcoming HP release. I have copy and pasted it below.

Hormones race, but the magic mainly idles in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a stage-setting film in which boyish fascinations give way to manly concerns.

The sixth Harry Potter movie and the last to exactly track J.K. Rowling’s book series (the seventh and final novel will be split into two films) is at once more realistic and less wondrous.

Gone are many of the whimsical fantasy elements that have made the series such a delight. The boys and girls have grown into young men and women, leading to serious romantic entanglements and attendant jealousies.

There is still magic, but it all has dramatic purpose – and much of it points to the final two films, in which youthful wizard Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his nemesis Voldemort, the Dark Lord, will engage in decisive battle.

Emboldened by his impending return, Voldemort’s airborne henchthingies, the Death Eaters, have stepped up their attacks, including muggles (humans) amongst their prey. An early scene resembling a terrorist attack sees pedestrians on London’s Millennium Bridge sprinting for safety as the Death Eaters ravage the structure.

Not even such heavenly preserves as Diagon Alley and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are safe from Voldemort’s minions, who now include a fully engaged Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), who considers himself the Dark Lord’s opposite to Harry’s status as the “Chosen One” among wizards.

The annual train journey to Hogwarts, in which Harry and pals Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) head for the start of their sixth year, takes a violent turn as well-meaning subterfuge leads to a brutal beating. The students arrive at Hogwarts to discover they must now pass through a metal detector, since repeated Death Eater attacks against the school have forced the need for greater security.

Storm clouds real and metaphorical hover over the proceedings, which returning director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves have fashioned as more of a mystery than previous instalments, and with many more plot threads. Film Review Harry Potter

The picture begins as an adult detective story, as Hogwarts patriarch Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) whisks Harry from a sexy muggle encounter (what a trip that would have been!) back into the fantasy realm to investigate what appears to be a savage Death Eater attack.

“Wands out, Harry!” Dumbledore warns. But it’s a set-up to meet an important new character in the franchise: Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent, perfectly cast), a former professor of potions at Hogwarts who taught Tom Riddle (played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffen and Frank Dillane at different ages), the troubled student who became Lord Voldemort.

Dumbledore convinces Slughorn to return to Hogwarts, hoping that Harry – whom Slughorn is star-struck by – can cajole or con him into giving up important information about Riddle that could lead to Voldermort’s undoing.

Harry is now Dumbledore’s adult sidekick rather than his boyish protégé, an important development in the saga. But it’s frustrating to see Radcliffe still playing more boy than man when the time comes for Harry to whip out his wand. You’d think that five years of training would have made him less of a fumbler.

There are many more developments in the tale, including further elucidation into the puzzling motives of Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), now promoted to teacher of defence against the dark arts. He’s obviously being primed for greater revelations to come, as is Voldemort’s female consort Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), whose violent urges take a fiery turn this time.

Also firming up are relations between Ron and his secret admirer, Hermione, amusingly complicated by male and female interlopers, and between Harry and his own covert devotee, Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright). Could one of Slughorn’s concoctions be Love Potion No. 9?

Yates and Kloves have done a commendable job of distilling the essence of Rowling’s mammoth text and maintaining control over plot complications (including the identity of the titular Half-Blood Prince) that could befuddle anyone not fully versed in Potter lore.

Quality remains high in every regard and the cast is almost entirely intact, rare feats for a franchise this far into its run.

Rowling and her dutiful film deputies have kept pace with their core audience, most of whom are now into their late teens and 20s, and who are facing some of the same life issues as Harry and his career, albeit more of the earthbound variety. The same Potterphiles who went with their parents to see the film series’ debut in 2001 are now old enough to attend tonight’s midnight screenings on their own or with their pals.

Yet despite the many pluses of The Half-Blood Prince, it’s unlikely to become a series favourite for many people, at least in the celluloid format. Harry’s development as a wizard and as a hero remains gallingly slow – he often gapes rather than reacts – and the story’s one major development is bizarrely treated almost as an after-thought.

Think of the film as a stepping-stone to greater drama to come, much like The Two Towers in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and heed Slughorn’s words of caution: “These are mad times we live in, mad!”

— Lu Galasso

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July 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment