Monday, December 06, 2010

Knitting Break

I took a knitting break on Sunday afternoon, drove to Amarillo, and continued a tradition with my daughter--watching Harry Potter. As an added thrill--I thrill very easily--we chose the digital instead of the film version, and I bought tickets online and printed them on my printer. Now for my review--

I was not entirely thrilled with the movie version of The Half-Blood Prince, mostly because I thought it seemed just like a plot "bridge" to the next movie and because I felt that it did not have the feel of the earlier films. So many details about Hogwarts seemed to be omitted or glossed over that I was not transported to that world in the way I had been in earlier films. Having read The Deathly Hallows and having read some reviews, I had an idea how difficult it would be to adapt this last book to the screen and make the slow suspenseful buildup come across in film. For the first minute or so of the movie, I was worried, but then it far surpassed my expectations. I was very pleased. I am reluctant to go into specifics and be a spoiler other than to say that I found this film to be quite a successful adaptation. It did not have exactly the same emotional impact on me as the book, but having read the book, I was anticipating some events rather than shocked by them. This film is bleak and heavy in mood as befits its subject, but even at the most suspenseful or most dreary parts, the humor and whimsicality that distinguishes the Potter series comes through. However, anyone who has not seen the other films or read the books would have a problem figuring this one out.

It is also quite obvious that this film would be spectacular in IMAX. If I lived closer than 500 miles to a theater, I would go see it that way as well.

Now for a discussion of color--the film is dark in mood and the predominant colors are shades of gray. The world of Hogwarts with the colorful school banners and uniforms is not in evidence. The setting is barren moors (I hate that phrase. If you live in the U.S. Southwest, describing moors as "barren" just seems silly.) in the wintertime, bare stretches of beach on a cloudy day, snowy forests, lonely houses, THE white tent. The director of this film has made that tent quite interesting, by the way. The color extends to the costuming. Everything is muted except for Dolores pink--a horrible color indeed.

The muting of color extends to the knitwear. I was keeping an eye out. Both Ron and Harry spend much of the movie in sweaters that I actually think are based on a British military design, maybe not a current one--gray, wide ribbed, collared, zipped part way--very practical for what they are doing. Hermione does wear a quite lovely fair isle cardigan in very muted shades that is somewhat played down by all the other garments she is bundled in. Even the gloves and scarves are muted. I may have missed some knitwear because I was watching the story so closely.

Literary allusion? Voldemort's snake Nagini, has much the same name as the snakes in "Rikki Tiki Tavi," the mongoose story from Kipling's Jungle Book. (I only noticed this because I had been sorting kiddie DVDs at my house.) I wikipediaed, and discovered that the "nag" part of these names comes from a Hindi word for "cobra." I just thought that it was interesting that Rowlings may have picked up on the Kipling story. It would be fun to ask her.

Wonderful Wallaby progress--I am EXACTLY halfway finished with the hood!

Oh yes, if QVC happens to put Hermione handbags up for sale on easy payments, please call my attention to it. I'd love to have one of those things!

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