Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince Movie Review
In “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” there’s a scene where Professor Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) affectionately gazes at Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and mutters “you’re growing up Harry.” Indeed, our favorite boy wizard is now fast becoming an adult and is experiencing growing pains.
Harry, together with his friends Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and most of the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, are under attack by a very mysterious adversary – teenage hormones.
Everyone’s under the spell of love. Harry’s long friendship with Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) is growing into something deeper. Meanwhile, Hermione is developing a crush on Ron and is simmering with jealousy because of his romantic entanglement with Lavender Brown (Jessie Cave). Lavender lovingly calls Ron “Won Won.”
The one character that is not experiencing love is Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) the slimy Slytherin leader and Harry’s arch-nemesis. No time for fun and games, Draco has been called upon by Lord Voldemort (played by Ralph Fiennes in the franchise although the actor is absent in this film) himself to carry out a mission of great importance and greater consequence.
Our young heroes must put romance on the back burner because new dangers lie ahead. Emboldened by the return of Voldermort, the Death Eaters are wreaking havoc in both the Muggle and wizarding worlds.
Dumbledore is intent in preparing Harry for the climactic battle. The wise and respected headmaster of Hogwarts School needs Harry to uncover a vital key to unlocking Voldemort’s defenses. That key is Potions Professor Horace Slughorn (magnificently played by Jim Broadbent).
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is the darkest of the franchise but the film delivers a perfect mixture of teenage pathos, romance, life lessons, and magic. Bringing the magic back is screenwriter Steve Kloves who returns to the franchise after writing the first four “Harry Potter” films.
Michael Goldenberg wrote the fifth installment called “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” Unfortunately, Goldenberg also came up with a weak script that could not do justice to author J.K. Rowling’s imagination.
Kloves, on the other hand, did a great job in boiling down “Half-Blood Prince’s” 672 pages. Many die-hard book fans may cry foul with some of the changes, but the sixth film is the most intelligent of the franchise.
Helping Kloves condense the book into a 2 ½ hour film is his effective use of the theme of memory as a narrative tool. The characters are strewn together by the memories they choose to keep or forget. Slughorn chooses to keep the secret of the young Voldemort known as Tom Marvolo Riddle (played by Hero Fiennes Tiffin at age 11; and Frank Dillane at age 16) while Harry must figure out the memories of the half-blood prince.
The young wizard discovers an old book marked mysteriously "This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince.” Who is this mysterious prince and how can Harry use that knowledge to look into Lord Voldemort’s twisted past?
Director David Yates returns with a vengeance. He underwhelmed with “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” but now, armed with Kloves’ intelligent script, and the amazing cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel, Yates created the best film of the franchise!
The main cast members are growing splendidly with their characters. Watson and Grint understand their roles’ nuances, and Radcliffe even showed comedic acting skills. I specially like the way the actors and the filmmakers equally make fun of and revere Harry’s reputation as the Chosen One.
But in the end, the weight of the film lies heavily with Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint. We see our favorite characters change through their performances. The notion of innocence is slowly fading away, and everything the characters hold near and dear to their hearts are gone. We also feel their excitement and pain as they realize that the only thing they have left is each other, and magic, of course!
And for that, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” gets 4 Avada Kedavra kisses
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Film vs. Book (major differences)
• Weasley home attack – this was not in the book. But I think the filmmakers put this scene in to symbolize the lost of our young heroes’ symbol of innocence. The home has been a regular fixture in the “Harry Potter” franchise where they always meet before they head off to Hogwarts
• Hermione confesses to Harry about her feelings for Ron – although it’s out of character for Hermione to open up and reveal her true feelings, when it comes to love, how many times have we acted out of character?
• The Death Scene – Harry isn’t frozen when the murder occurred. Now I wish the filmmakers followed the book’s narrative on this one
• Missing Battle – there’s no big battle scene in the end, but it doesn’t take anything away from the movie. Because we all know, we’ll get our battle scene in the last chapter of the franchise
• The biggest part of the book that I wish the filmmakers retain is Tom Riddle’s teenage life. The Horcrux explanation would have been better if we know Riddle’s motivation, or how he was able to store parts of his soul inside 7 horcruxes.
Country: United States
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