I missed the last couple Harry Potter movies and as a result this last one seemed jarringly different. I don’t know if it was by design or not but the entire movie is filled with an awkward-but-intense erotic energy that makes it thoroughly entertaining to the high-schoolers in the audience and fascinating to the rest of us. The filmmakers took what Rowling did (letting the characters age with the readers) to the next level imagining the witches and wizards of Hogwarts in the image of an audience of 15 year-olds tensely holding hands with their dates. If it was on purpose it was incredibly well done, albeit with some interesting consequences. Every scene between two characters is suffused with enough sexual tension so as to resemble porn exposition. Harry and Hermione, Ron and Hermione, Harry and Ginny, Harry and Malfoy, Ron and Lavender, Harry and Ron, Harry and Dumbledore, Harry and Malfoy: all of them look like they’re about to make out with each other. Malfoy is the very stereotype of the preppy closet-case and he spends most of the movie running around looking anguished and crying in corners, that is when he and Harry aren’t starring each other down in the hallways. And his big secret? Hiding a giant magical closet. I think the limb I may be out on is pretty solid.
Yet no one ever actually has sex. There’s some light petting, but it’s PG stuff. Which is totally fair considering it’s rated PG. Since actual high-schoolers, especially the famous and powerful ones, do have sex, the effect is something like watching a middle-school dance – naive nondescript desire that’s both aggressive and terrified.
Maybe they just needed the sex ed that some student in Britain are going to get from a National Health Services pamphlet entitled “Pleasure.” Looking through a few of its pages I was surprised to see that it’s some good honest educational material, certainly a rarity in the genre. Of course the media went nuts at the idea and whipped out the scary headlines. A friend sent me one of the articles with the one word message: “PANIC.” Thankfully, Tracy Clark-Flory at Broadsheet has a good write-up and media critique on the whole situation. I’m not going to improve on it, so I’m not going to try except by tangentially adding this Buffy The Vampire Slayer sex web that someone took the time to make. Joss Whedon’s characters acted more like adults than kids because that’s who the show was meant for, the sixth Harry Potter is for an audience that can’t tell which side they’re on yet.