With my recent focus on comic book films I’m beginning to feel the onset of arrested development. The premiere of a teaser trailer for the new Harry Potter is certainly not helping in my attempts to cover more mature material. Of course this being the summer season there’s not much maturity to be found in cinemas at the moment, so we might as well indulge the inner child while we can. So lets all get excited about our first glimpse at Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
This being a teaser there’s not much to see, but the stuff shown demonstrates that David Yates, who directed Order of the Phoenix and is scheduled to finish off the series with The Deathly Hallows, really was the right man for the job. Really this trailer is all about introducing the young Tom Riddle and it does an exceptional job, with Ralph Fienne’s nephew oozing menace as the precocious little bringer of ethnic cleansing.
For a start you can view the trailer in High Definition at Moviefone here, and of course you can view it below in the usual youtube dreariness. I’d actually suggest the HD version every time, not least because the teaser is packed with little details which kind of get lost in the grain of youtube’s compression.
We’ve had five Harry Potter films now with quality varying from average to excellent. Four different directors have brought the adventures of everyone’s favourite author to the big screen and each has added his own particular imprint on the series. Christopher Columbus would helm the first two features in the series; whilst his films would be hurt by somewhat anonymous direction they would successfully lay the ground work for the series. In setting up a stellar cast and a definitive world Columbus would do a great service to his successors.
Alfonso Cuaron would be the first of two rather unusual choices to direct a Harry Potter film. His adaptation of the third book The Prisoner of Azkaban would become a firm fan favourite but would mark a rapid departure from his previous work on the explicit Y tu mama tambien. His fairytale vision of the books would take JK Rowling’s original vision and expand upon it immensely, adding a plethora of visual tricks to create an ambience that was both frivolous and melancholic. Mike Newell’s take on Goblet Of Fire would display a taste for the theatrical and a grander scope than his predecessors but it would also lose a lot of character work that had been built up in the series.
Whilst many expected Christopher Columbus to take the reins for the last three films, the decision was instead made to allow David Yates a shot as director. This was itself a bold movie considering that the majority of Yates’ work was TV based. However given his experience with paranoid thrillers like the excellent State of Play, he was able to inject a sense of dread into a series that had been playing very safe with its source material. Whilst darkness is a stupid term to use in regards to the Harry Potter books his was the first adaptation which had the same tone as the book.
What this teaser illustrates is that Yates’ has retained his earthy appreciation of magic, the spectacular duels of the Order of the Phoenix being the first time magic had looked aggressive or practical in the series. For a man whose career rests in gritty social realism and paranoia thrillers Yates seems to understand and accept the magical elements far more than any of the other directors, barring Cuaron, and the result are often striking. In fact Dumbledore’s casual display of magic in the teaser is probably more impressive than anything Newell or Columbus were able to craft simple because of the tone established and the blasé nature of the act.
We’re still four months away from its scheduled release but The Half Blood Prince is shaping up to be one of the most interesting films in the series.