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Despite the magic and wonder, this is a character driven story.

  • Jul 15, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
Pros: Great Cast

Cons: No big payout at the end.

The Bottom Line: The dark tone sets up the final films well it is just a shame we have to wait for next summer and then Fall 2011 to get to them.

It has been nearly two years since fans last witnessed Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), battle the evil Voldemort  (Ralph Fiennes).  At long last, J.K. Rowling’s beloved saga continues with “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”.  The film picks up a year after the events of the previous film with the evil Death Eaters wreaking havoc in both the magica and Muggle (non-wizard) world. Their wave of terror is so complete that parents are afraid to send their students back to Hogwarts to complete their studies. 

As Harry waits to return to school, he is visited by his headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), who takes Harry to meet an old friend named Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent). Professor Slughorn is reluctant to return to Hogwarts, wanting to keep a low profile like most of the Wizarding world, to avoid the unwanted attention of Voldemort’s legions Despite his reservations, Slughorn agrees to travel to Hogwarts, intrigued by the notion of adding  Harry, the prophesized "Chosen One" to his collection of prominent former students.

Harry is reunited with his best friends Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson), injecting the movie with lighthearted, comical moments.  But the mirth is balanced by the dour as Harry suspects Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), is up to no good.  Draco, still spiteful but now tormented by his father's incarceration, is spotted consorting with suspicious characters and spends much of the movie alone and tooling with a mysterious cabinet.

Harry obliges Dumbledore's request to ingratiate himself with Professor Slughorn to help Dumbledore obtain a key memory to figure out Voldemort's powers. Harry comes across a Potions textbook signed by a former student calling himself the Half-Blood Prince. The book is filled with helpful notes, and allows Harry to usurp Hermione from her position as the teacher's pet.

As if Voldemort and school were not enough to keep Harry busy, he must also contend with romantic entanglements as Ron and Hermione spar back and forth, while an ardent admirer latches on to Ron. Hermione tries to to hide her feelings, dragging Harry into the middle of the fray to mediate. At the same time, he must deal with his own growing fondness for Ron’s sister Ginny (Bonnie Wright).  

Harry and Professor Dumbledore work together to unlock the missing memory of professor Slughorn that holds a key to how to defeat Voldemort.  This leads the two on a dangerous quest that will challenge Harry and his friends and force them to face the greatest danger they have ever known.

The new film is a visual masterpiece that contains the magical setting of the story despite losing much of the lavish color and whimsy that marked much of the earlier films.  That is understandable as this is a much darker and serious time the characters find themselves in. The merriment and humor of the film is found only when the kids are allowed to be kids. 

While the movie digests and changes quite af few of elements that made the book entertaining, the core cast remains strong and the camaraderie feels genuine. Not only are they compelling and interesting characters, watching them come of age and deal with such mature times and themes is quite poignant. The supporting work by Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, and Robbie Coltrane were, as always, a delight, but sadly they are not given much screen time in the film.

My biggest issue with the film was the lack of any sustained action and intensity in the film. The film spends the better part of two hours setting up the final forty minutes which tease but do not deliver the grand payout.  This is not to say this is a bad film, simply the only thing that I could find any fault with. The film is a technically brilliant film and Director David Yates clearly understands that despite the magic and wonder, this is a character driven story.

All in all and enjoyable film that sets the stage well for the two part finale.

4.5 stars out of 5.

Recommended:
Yes

Movie Mood: None of the Above
Viewing Method: Press Screening
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing

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More Harry Potter and the Half-Bloo... reviews
review by . December 24, 2010
Out of all the Harry Potter films so far, this one is definitely the funniest. Not to say that it isn't dark or doesn't have any action, but there's more comedy in this than in the other films. This is also my fourth favourite film in the new wave and my fifth favourite all together. Like the other five films, this installment introduces some new characters while still keeping the old ones intact, and that's definitely one of the main things that I love about this series.   …
review by . July 15, 2009
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review by . November 18, 2009
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review by . August 18, 2009
Professor Minerva McGonagall: [to Harry, Ron, & Hermione] Why is it, that whenever anything happens, it's always you three?    Ron Weasley: Believe me, Professor. I've been asking myself that same question for the past six years.          Short attention span summary (SASS):       1. Dark times are at hand for both wizards and muggles, as the Death Eaters wreak a destructive path across both worlds.    2. Draco has a special …
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review by . December 10, 2009
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Quick Tip by . November 18, 2009
A magical experience with a touch of tragedy.
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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Wiki

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a 2009 fantasy-adventure film directed by David Yates and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the sixth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, and is written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman and David Barron.[5] The film stars Daniel Radcliffeas Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends Ron Weasley andHermione Granger. The supporting cast features Michael GambonJim BroadbentAlan RickmanTom Feltonand Helena Bonham Carter.

Filming began on 24 September 2007, with the film being released in cinemas worldwide on 15 July 2009, one day short of the fourth anniversary of the corresponding novel's release. In everywhere but the United States, the sixth film was simultaneously released in regular cinemas and IMAX 3-D in all countries. Due to North American theaters having a several week commitment by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,[6] the IMAX 3D release of the film occurred on 29 July, two weeks after its original release.[7]

Half-Blood Prince opened to critical acclaim along with instant commercial success, breaking the record for the biggest single-day worldwide gross of all time. In five days the film made $394 million, breaking the record for biggest five-day worldwide gross in ...

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Details

Director: David Yates
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: July 15, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 153 Minutes
Studio: HeyDay, Warner Bros Pictures
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