I just got home from seeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with my Mom. My allergies have been killing me today, and I have so much Benadryl coursing through my veins at this very moment that I’m at a loss as to how I’m even still conscious. As such, I don’t have it in me to write a proper review. So here are a few scattered observations from my day at the theater.
—The pre-trailer commercials were dominated by promos for The Jay Leno Show, which will apparently be a nightly, hour-long version of his “Jay Walking” segments from The Tonight Show, with the occasional go-cart race throw in to spice things up. Doesn’t that sound like appointment television? Must-See TV is back this September, baby.
—Since I mentioned it, how depressing is it that I no longer have to explain what pre-trailer commercials are? For most of my life there was no such thing, and when theater chains first announced they were going to start showing ads on their screens before showtime there was pubic outcry. “Why should we have to sit through commercials when we’ve already paid through the nose for our tickets and our popcorn?” we all demanded. Now we take them for granted.
—A few days ago I got copies of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and The Return of Sherlock Holmes at Wonder Book. Today I saw the trailer for Guy Ritchie’s upcoming Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. It doesn’t look terrible, at least. Downey seems to be playing Holmes as Christopher Hitchens. Not the typical interpretation, but hey, who knows? Jude Law’s Watson seems to punch Holmes a lot. So much for your humble narrator.
—On the subject of Holmes, how long is it going to take for someone to do what to me is screamingly obvious, and make a Sherlock Holmes film starring Hugh Laurie in the title role? Dr. House is pretty much a modern, American Holmes transplanted to medicine from criminology, and the show is full of references to Holmes. Are you seriously telling me no one has thought of this yet? Christ, Patrick Stewart quoted a few lines of Melville in a Star Trek movie and he was playing Captain Ahab within a matter of minutes. Let’s do this, somebody.
—That was one real good Harry Potter movie. I still say the previous entry, The Order of the Phoenix, is the best of the series so far, but The Half-Blood Prince is right up there. What other film series can compare to Potter at this point? It’s up to six films, with the same cast (save for Michael Gambon succeeding — and exceeding, I’d say — the late Richard Harris), and it’s not even close to running out of steam. It is just as vigorous and compelling as ever, something Star Wars couldn’t even say after three episodes, for Christ’s sake. I think it’s because, beneath the magic and fantasy, the characters are recognizable as human beings. The filmmakers have done a splendid job of keeping their world close enough to ours that we are able to empathize and care about Harry and his friends. Bring on The Deathly Hallows.