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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Price (A Movie Review)

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince


Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Jim Broadbent, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Evanna Lynch, Jessie Cave, Bonnie Wright, Tom Felton, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, Frank Dillane, Warwick Davis, Helen McCrory, Julie Walters, Mark Williams, David Thewlis, Natalia Tena, Freddie Stroma, Jams Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Matthew Lewis, Anna Shaffer, Freddie Stroma, Amelda Brown, Dave Legeno, Elarica Gallagher, Timothy Spall, Georgina Leonidas, Isabella Laughland, David Bradley and Alfie Enoch.

Screenplay by Steve Kloves.

Directed by David Yates.

Distributed by Warner Bros.  153 minutes.  Rated PG.

It is year five and black magic and raging hormones are running wild at Hogwarts Academy.

That’s really all you need to know about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  Six films into the series; either you are all in or all out.  You know what you’re getting.  There will be little that is surprising.  People who love the movies will be in ecstasy.  People who deify the books will say the movie is not quite as good as the book – but still well done.  People who don’t care about either won’t be watching this anyway.

Actually, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince pulls off a pretty cool feat – the series seems to be maturing as the characters are.  While as far as actual dramatic occurrences the movie is sort of treading water through much of the film, the characterizations and filmmaking seem deeper and richer than ever.

It isn’t as busy as – say Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – however the story has much more of a sense of gravity and darkness.  Even if you didn’t know that the series is coming to a close you could sense it.  The stakes are getting higher and higher.

If you get technical, not too much really happens in Half-Blood Prince, Harry comes to terms with being the chosen one, evil magical beings attack real-life London, Hermione and Ron fight a growing attraction, Malfoy goes completely to the dark side and Valdemort pulls evil strings behind the scenes.

And a major character dies.

Yet, despite the fact that the plot is moving forward at a statelier pace, strangely it is making everything all the more vital.  The Harry Potter series is an epic, rather than a normal film it has enough wiggle room to proceed at a more leisurely pace (eight films, when the series ends) – character and setting are given as much thought and imagination as plot matters.

Half-Blood Prince is sort of like a satisfying middle chapter in a long novel.  It pushes the story forward with great skill – but it only truly works in the context of the greater whole.  Unlike some of the earlier installments, I’m not sure that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince would hold together as satisfyingly as a stand-alone film.

However, it moves this beloved series forward in a stylish and assured way that will undoubtedly thrill loyal fans.

Alex Diamond

Copyright ©2009 All rights reserved. Posted: December 12, 2009.

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