I'm going to start with a small warning here.
Two Harry Potter films less than a day apart in combination with a bottle of red wine can lead to... confusion. Frustrated head-scratching silences while staring absently into the distance over the birthday dinner table. Potential arguments.
Last night we watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was the HBO Asia Family version, meaning that it had Chinese subtitles covering all the important bits, and had been edited to fit HBO's time slots and family standards. So not a single "b1oody he11" from my favourite Ron, which I don't believe for one minute should have been left out - that's his catch-phrase after all. And how about the delightfully icky SNEAK in giant indelible pustules across Cho's (NOT Cho, grr) traitor friend's forehead? Where did that go? And what about the brains that Ron managed to get wound around himself in the Department of Mysteries, which gave the school nurse Madame Pomfrey the unforgettably wise line about thoughts taking the longest to heal? They MUST have left that in the original. Surely?
I lent my whole set of books to my Mum over a year ago, so I couldn't even swot up on the plot in advance. The wine didn't help my memory either, and DH managed inconceivably to fall asleep during the final battle scene, so it obviously had an effect on him too. (Of course that could be down to exhaustion from working 13-hour days, but hey he should be used to that by now! ;-)) But despite the limitations it was a cracking film, and I loved seeing how all those kids have grown up.
Then today. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Wow.
This film had a different director. A LOT about it was different. The humour for a start. Poor Rupert Grint wasn't given much to work with apart from the Quidditch match and a pretty cringeable love potion scene, which he would have done far better aged 3 years younger. Or given different direction. The trouble is, Ron's grown up now so he can't get away with the trembling lip and wounded puppy eyes so easily.
Emma Watson on the other hand was better than she's ever been. They've allowed her to grow into her prettiness, and the new mature Hermione delivers her lines slowly enough to understand what she's saying. Less humour for her too though. Harry is a more believable, a more stable character now. From being vaguely irritating at points through the first 5 films, I felt more empathy with him than ever before. Helena Bonham-Carter stole her scenes as the deliciously deranged Bellatrix Lestrange.
At one point in today's film, they showed moments of a black tiled corridor. I leaned over to DH and whispered that they'd used that scene in the previous film for the Ministry of Magic. Then, talking about it all over our steak later, we couldn't for the lives of us remember where they were. Still can't. It's no good. I think we're going to have to go and see it again.