How would other directors put their individual stamp on the character of the boy wizard?
14 Jul 2009 - 11:00 AM  UPDATED 26 Feb 2014 - 4:07 PM

When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince appears in cinemas this week it will mark the first time since the adolescent wizard adaptations began with two Christ Columbus films that the director of the previous title has been retained. English filmmaker David Yates, whose earlier BBC mini-series State of Play was itself recently remade by Hollywood, returns after 2007's Order of the Phoenix to once again bring political intrigue and seditious intent to J.K. Rowling's phenomenally successful novels.

The differing impact of directors has helped steer the Harry Potter adaptations towards the end of what will eventually be an eight film and ten year long project. Columbus' first two features, for example, were decidedly benign and driven by production design; Alfonso Cuaron's Prisoner of Azkaban, in 2004, brought grit and the possibilities of adulthood to Hogwarts School of Magic.

If each director leaves a distinct mark on their Harry Potter film, what might have eventuated if Yates hadn't been retained for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
A Judd Apatow Film

Storyline: To distract themselves from the looming threat of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) spend the summer getting high and making double entendre wand jokes. It takes a reproachful lecture from Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), after the trio are caught sneaking into the Glastonbury music festival, to make them buckle down.

New Character: Doug (Seth Rogen), the convivial exchange student turned pot dealer.

Preferred Spell: Munchie Satisfyus, for when the 7-11 is too far away.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
A Michael Bay Film

Storyline: Determined not to be thwarted yet again, Voldemort creates a new type of Dementor, one that changes shape into various wizardry accessories and tends to blow things up. They chase Harry, Ron and Hermione all over Hogwarts, destroying much of the school in the process as many, many things explode.

New Character: Professor Lucretia Lovejoy (Megan Fox), the surprisingly tanned and chronically underdressed new member of the faculty, who puts the moves on Ron.

Favourite Spell: Billowing Flame, which makes a huge fireball appear in slow-motion.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
A Jane Campion Film

Storyline: Increasingly estranged from Harry and Ron, who don't understand the mysteries of attaining womanhood, Hermione enters into a risky, co-dependant relationship with Voldemort's young follower Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), pursuing an illicit romance even as it threatens her own safety.

New Character: The lurking, suggestive Professor Sawtooth (Harvey Keitel), who counsels Hermione even as he forms an unhealthy obsession with her.

Favourite Spell: Insularus, which blocks out the rest of the world so a couple can spend time together (possibly so the man can betray the woman).

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
A Woody Allen Film

Storyline: Visiting Manhattan's Upper West Side, Harry frets about whether he should be in a relationship with Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) or Cho Chang (Katie Leung), all the while speculating that Voldemort might kill him. After Ron takes him to a Marx Bros marathon he decides that the world is not such a bad place and starts seeing a shrink.

New Character: Professor Konigsberg (Woody Allen), Harry's neurotic new magic tutor, who is perpetually too scared to cast his own spells, but makes up for it with some great one liners about why you should never move to Los Angeles.

Favourite Spell: Accomodation Accumulatus, which shows the nearest rent controlled apartment so you can blithely ignore Manhattan's crushingly high cost of living.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
A Wong Kar-wai Film

Storyline: An unhappy, adult Harry sits at his desk, obsessively writing a memoir about the school term spent in a love triangle with his best friends Hermione and Ron. The trio would walk past each other, exchanging loaded glances and polite small talk, before eventually deciding that true love is a futile pursuit.

New Character: Professor Chow (Tony Leung), a chain smoking new Hogwarts teacher who is too maudlin to ever attend class.

Favourite Spell: Doyle Foil, which makes every scene look like it was drenched in stylised desire by Wong's Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
A Quentin Tarantino Film

Storyline: Vowing a blood oath to kill Harry, Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) hijack a shipment of wands and then travel by broomstick to Memphis, where they attempt to raise Elvis while engaging in a long debate about the secret merits of Knight Rider before brutally murdering various Ministry of Magic staffers.

New Character: Professor Vega (Michael Madsen), a Lee Marvin quoting vagabond who gives Hermione a foot massage.

Favourite Spell: The Manero Jive, which makes the recipient dance like John Travolta.

Read our Review of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (the real one) here