July 15, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Pimp

**WARNING: This review contains spoilers like how Hans Gruber kills Dumbledore at time signature 2:13:55. Consider yourself warned.**

What can I say about the Harry Potter franchise that has not been said before? Most comments are pretty much summed up with this:

Although this Harry Potter film doesn't have nearly as much fake gold or phat rhymes, it is nevertheless quite similar. Harry Potter is rocking a harem of rather demure but foxy British girls, spends a lot of his time dodging the law, and spends even more time brewing potions that will fuck you up faster than an Alabama Speedball. Harry has moved into his sex, drugs and magic weapons phase.

Everybody knew this film would be the biggest hit since George Lucas first masturbated into an old Kurosawa print. Nevertheless, even I was surprised by how HP rocked the house at the midnight showings. In P-town, Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince had to compete with Dave Chapelle causing a drunken riot in Pioneer Square, but HP still managed to sell out all six midnight shows downtown and two theaters had to resort to 3 am showings to stem the mob. Due to the aforementioned drunken rioting, I was in those later shows.

It is first worth a note that Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is basically a three-hour drug odyssey... with magic! Harry finds a book allowing him to brew potent psychoactive beverages, so he brews up a batch of primo black tar heroin for professor Slughorn. Slughorn gives Harry a large vial of meth which comes in use way later, because soon after Ron accidentally overdoses on Harry's stash of Ecstasy. Slughorn tries to calm the tweaker down with barbiturates and alcohol, which turns out to be a bad idea because Ron almost dies, forcing Harry to save him with adrenaline shot. The first half of the movie is like the children's version of Requiem for a Dream, and the soundtrack is just as annoying and repetitive. Despite the fact that there is no White Castle, the filmmakers got one thing right: magical or not, boarding school is pretty much a sex-fueled drug binge filled with crazy professors, magical beasts and many, many sugary foods. (There are so many cakes, cookies, and bowls of ice cream in this movie that you'll swear the director had the munchies.)

But then if you wait until the second hour, there are Zombies. Zombies, Zombies, Zombies.

Harry and Dumbledore go to a hidden cave in order to destroy a lich box-- anybody who has read the book already knows that there is a whole army of deadites under the water and neither Harry or Dumble have the proper spell to turn their arms into chainsaws, so the anticipation before the undead mayhem is palpable. Before the Romero hordes make their move, Dumbledore drinks a lot of poison and is down for the count (we all know wizards can't succeed fortitude saves). The zombies finally attack when Harry gets an evil shell full of water so Dumbledore can chaise the poison (yeah, that ocean water is really going to help). Harry's boom stick soon runs out of ammo and things look grim, but Dumbledore apparently forgot to add in his level bonuses the first time, because he casts a fiery spell affectionately dubbed the "Maximus Pimpus" whose verbal component is ostensibly screaming "you shall not pass!" as if Ian McKellen owed you money.

Meanwhile in the faraway land of plot, nothing much really happens. Everybody seems to know that Draco needs to kill Dumbledore, and nobody really does anything to stop it. Harry spends most of the year desperately searching for plot only to find out that Dumbledore really knew most of the information Harry could have provided already and had been doing the cool stuff off-screen. The whole "destroy the lich boxes" thing doesn't come until almost 2 hours into the film. Harry and Ginnie have less screen chemistry than Edward and Bella, and Nevile and Lovegood are apparently only in the movie for contractual reasons-- their presence serves no point other than fan service. 

All in all, HP and the HP was terrifically enjoyable, if just for the hordes of screaming fans, opportunities for theater snark, and great-but-overused visual effects. Highly suggested. 

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