But the movie did not.
After three days of trying I finally saw Half-Blood Prince.
So how was it?
The acting was top notch all around. Jessie Cave played the crazy obsessed girlfriend to the hilt, Rupert excelled as the comedic foil of the film (great Quiddich sequence showing Ron in full form when his confidence is high) and new comer (to the franchise) Jim Broadbent brought a unique mix of hilarity and depth that did old Sluggy proud.
The pace was fast, going from one moment to the next. I heard that some reviewers found it the romantic bits a long hard slug but to me they whipped by faster that the Hogwarts Express at full steam. And Draco (played to the hilt by HP veteran Tom Felton) lurking in the background of all the snugging and flirting grounded the action. Neither the director nor the writer wasted any time on endless exposition, which could be said is the weakness of the book.
Not much. Ron gets short change a bit outside his expansive comedy role as if there was not place for both the clown and the hero. He is a WEASLEY! Sorry, he is RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY! Hero of the Battle of Ministry, Master of Wizard’s Chest, companion to Harry and Hermione. But no, he remains the butt monkey to the very end (literally).
Although I am a fan of Bonnie Wright I think she (like Emma) got demoted a bit and sent back to the role of admiring damsel in distress/star struck lover of GoF which is unfortunate considering how much her character developed since(especially OoP the film version of Order of the Phoenix). And they went back to the old trick of will they won’t they with a bit of slap-kiss for Hermione and Ron. I like the fact that they got together at the end of book six. That made their falling out in book seven that much more important. I guess they wanted to hold back a bit fearing that the Kiss in Book Seven would not have the same impact. But it undercuts Ron’s character development. At least Hermione was more upfront (as was Harry) about their respective romances showing how close they really were as friends (How does it feel Harry? great line).
Overall, a great film even with three major (no Dursleys, no Battle of the Astronomy Tower and no Fleur!) changes that may create continuity problems for the last two films. Still it was well worth the wait.
P.S. I recommend that you pay careful attention at the little touches in WWW and in the Borrow.
And since I am in a anime kick of sorts (a HP based anime would kick ass, just saying) here is Nostromo with a dance classic from the early 90s: