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Brandon Judell

Harry Potter Needs a Shave
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"

At an advance screening last night of Max Mayer’s at-times endearing Adam, a love story starring Hugh Dancy as a young man with Asperger Syndrome, who eats frozen macaroni and cheese for dinner 365 days a year, I found myself surrounded by a dozen or so preteen girls. At that moment, I thanked God my tubes were tied.

Watching a film with thirteen-year-or-so-old females is no doubt like trying to read Dostoyevsky at an AC/DC concert. Besides the text messaging, the need to buy candy at pivotal screen moments, the cooing at every kiss, and the seat squeaking when the actors got horizontal on a mattress, there were absolutely no attempts on these young ladies’ part to be overwhelmed by what was occurring on the screen. Watching a pair of Levi’s spin-drying at a Laundromat would have supplied them equal cultural pleasure.

(Please note: I’m sure viewing a film with young men of the same birth years would have been equally execrable.)

I bring this up because of J.K. Rowling’s 652-page novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince spends seemingly thousands of words on Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley coping with the upheavals caused by hormonal agitation. Pubertal angst with its accompanying need to fall in love can be hell unless you look like you’re a future candidate for a Gossip Girl casting.

“ ‘Look, why don’t you talk to Ron about all this?’ Harry asked. After a particularly long interrogation from Lavender that took in everything from precisely what Ron had said about her new dress robes to whether or not Harry thought that Ron considered his relationship with Lavender to be ‘serious.’ ”

Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"

Apparently, wizards are no more exempt from this trauma than Muggles. So much for the power of Magic.

As for the film version of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", the sixth in the series to reach the screen, the film is a total delight, the most mature in the series, and a dream come true for Potter-ites. However, for those of you who have never read any of Rowling’s hefty output or a seen a prior celluloid adaptation, stay away. You’ll be totally addled.

Many of the beloved characters appear for moments or with little way of introduction. Additionally, the need to know Lord Voldemort’s connection to Tom Riddle is paramount to one’s comprehension of the plot. And who are the Weasleys? And why is Professor Severus Snape’s allegiance to good or evil so inconclusive? And what’s cooking with the Malfoys?

Ah, but if you’ve brushed up on your Potterisms, you’ll be greeting old friends and new, such as Professor Horace E. F. Slughorn, the current Potions Master and Head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As embodied by the Oscar-nominated Jim Broadbent, this befuddled keeper of secret is a grand addition to Rowling’s throng of eccentric, Dickensian heroes and anti-heroes.

Add even more state-of-art special effects supervised by Tim Burke, a perfect score by Nicholas Hooper, and lushly sinister cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel, and what more is there to ask for?

Even the pubescent mooning is more palatable here, causing me to consider for a second or so to untie those damn tubes.

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