Uncharacteristically for us, we have seen about four first-run movies in June and July.
The latest was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I can certainly say that I liked it better than the previous installment of the series. I finished the 5th book just prior to watching that movie and as a result felt that the movie was a pale imitation of the book. This go round, with the book firmly in my distant memory, I found that I was able to keep the comparisons to minimum and appreciate it more. That said the general consensus of my wife, son and I was:
I feel for Draco with his dilemma about graduating from a bully and braggart to a cold blooded murderer of one of the most loved characters, but did we need to see his anguish so many times? Plus, was it really necessary to see Draco with the cabinet: the meeting, an apple, a bird, etc. Yes, yes we get the point, can we move on now? If we see a gun, or in this case a cabinet, in act 1, it will be used in act 3, we get it! Did the director need to waste three minutes of time on the cabinet, when the story completely fails to explain why Ron was so worried about a Quidditch match or why Harry received no punishment for the spell he inflicted on Draco or even get questioned on where he got the spell? Context, continuity, any of these ringing a bell?
That all said, my wife wanted more snogging, and my son wanted more of a final battle. I would settle for a plot without loose ends, middles and beginnings and wasted opportunities. I really hope the final movie(s) prove to be better.
The other three movies are: Ice Age 3, the latest Star Trek movie and Up. Ice Age 3 was no where near as good as the previous two movies and gave Ellie, the lone female character, very little dialogue. Star Trek flubbed it on the science, but was pretty exciting and had good characters. Of the three, Up was clearly the best, with terrific character setup and development, lots of humor and a good story. That said, Up continued Pixar's trend of few non-white characters. Come on Pixar, its the 21st century, can't you add more diversity to your characters.
The latest Star Trek flick prompted me to show my wife and son ST: Wrath of Khan and St: The Voyage Home recently. Khan held up, but The Voyage Home, while talking about saving whales, a subject near and dear to my heart, didn't so well.
Speaking of whales, the NY Times Magazine has a fantastic article on them. I highly recommend it.