Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Extended EditionFeatured
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- Added Harry/Hermione scene in the Common Room where Harry thinks Draco is leaving the castle after disappearing from the map
- Added Harry/Ron/Hermione scene discussing the vanishing cabinets before Harry meets Dumbledore.
- Added Harry/Dumbledore scene in the cave where Dumbledore mentions the 2 kids that Riddle brought to the cave.
- Added scene as Harry/Dumbledore leave the cave.
- Added choir scene leading up to the confrontation in the tower. Some clips were altered/reordered to make the scene flow better.
- Added scene of Harry in his bedroom, then coming downstairs to the Common Room after Dumbledore's death.
- Added extended scene at the end of the movie with Harry/Ron/Hermione at the Astronomy Tower.
Coming into this film after my favorite in the series, The Order of the Phoenix, I was massively disappointed when I first watched it in the cinema. Re-watching after having seen the whole series, it fares better, though it’s still disappointing. I’d attribute this to two main factors: that OotP was the sole HP film written by Michael Goldenberg, and also that several of the performances in this film get very campy at times, which is completely at odds with the overall darkening tone and serious plot of the movie.
The film starts with the aftermath of the climactic showdown between Voldermort and Dumbledore from OotP and reminds you that Harry has been newly re-orphaned, this time able to experience it as a young adult. This heralds the ramp up to the final events of the whole series, and this film is essentially setting up for that, with Dumbledore going on the offensive against Voldemort, and trying to put others into position for this. When I first watched this in the theater, the significance of a lot of these events wasn’t apparent and the overall plot with Draco Malfoy wasn’t very clear (what was all the ‘cabinet training’ about??) Also, for a film ostensibly about the Half-Blood Prince, it really doesn’t seem to be about him at all on first watch (and readers of the novels would’ve been positively livid at all the omissions.)
The deleted scenes added back in here do much to fix these issues. The subplots with Malfoy and the Half-Blood Prince are clearer, as is the horcrux setup and development of young Tom Riddle. These scenes are added back in masterfully with great care to the audio and video editing.
However, the movie spends much more time and energy ramping up the romance that has been building for the young wizards and witches over the last couple films. There’s the happy return of Quidditch, actually seeing relevant classwork, and bringing us into the popularity race as cliques of teens jockey for social position. There are great details here about that as we see younger classmates coming in, looking up to Harry’s class more and more, the results of school tests, cliques controlling sitting areas of the train or the lawn. But unfortunately this all gets swept aside by the cheesy teen drama scenes and goofy magic potion performances. Jessie Cave’s performance in particular as “Lavender Brown” is so campy and over-the-top that I started to have a visceral reaction every time she was on screen. She also drags Rupert Grint’s performance into the same realm, and Ron has always had the most childish acting of the main trio. And that's not to mention some of the really cringey scenes between Harry and Ginny.
Really, it's not within the scope of a simple Extended Edition to make this a great movie for me, so I can't blame JJPotter. There are so many great touches here directorially, but the green haze which plagues the cinematography really needs to be color-corrected to fully appreciate it, and many trims to the cheesy attempts at romantic drama would tighten this into a really dramatic thriller. This edit is definitely an improvement over the theatrical version, but still a very flawed film.