Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Directed by David Yates
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Bonnie Wright, Helena Bonham Carter, Timothy Spall, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane and Maggie Smith.
Some days, I think I have to hang up my geek credentials because I haven’t read the Harry Potter books. So far, my experience with the franchise has been purely cinematic…I’ve seen each movie. In the theatre. Once. That’s it. I have friends who say that such an attitude is ridiculous, and that they’re the best things ever written, and so on, but I still can’t motivate myself to head on down to the library and grab the books. And, truth be told, I’m even starting to get bored with the movies. I only went to see Half-Blood Prince out of a combination of “Well, I’ve seen all the other ones in the theatre” and “I have a coupon so I can see it for free.” Not really stellar expectations, I know. So, did I enjoy it?
And thus begins year 6 at Hogwarts. The entire wizarding world is on edge now that the return of Lord Voldemort has been made public. Voldemort’s followers make a bargain with young Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter’s rival, to fulfill some heinous task this year at Hogwarts. Meanwhile, Dumbledore has ordered young Harry to get close to Hogwart’s new potions professor, Horace Slughorn. It seems that some of Slughorn’s memories about the young Voldemort have been altered, and Dumbledore wants to know why as it could mean the key to defeating Voldemort. Harry is able to get close to Slughorn with ease, thanks to an old potions textbook full of notes in the margins and corrections, all credited to “the Half-Blood Prince.” Just who is the Half-Blood Prince? What horrible secret is Slughorn hiding? And what was young Malfoy tasked with doing?
What I Liked
OK, I’ve been joking with my Harry Potter maniac friends that the one bit of fanfic I’d like to see is the Harry Potter teen sex comedy. (“Now that Voldemort’s defeated, it’s time from the Prom!”) But you know what? In this film, all of our main characters are 16, they’re full of the raging hormones, and there’s enough teen romance and angst going on that my desire to see the Harry Potter teen sex comedy has been filled quite nicely. This was also the first Harry Potter film where I really took notice of the score. It has a real Celtic feel…sets it apart from the rest of the films. And as I said after I saw the last film, probably what’ll finally get me to read the books is the character of Luna Lovegood. She’s so…whimsically odd. I love her!
What I Didn’t Like
As with most franchises that have been going on this long, the continuity has started getting pretty dense. I did have a list of questions I had to fire off to my friends asking, “OK, why did they have to do this? Why couldn’t they do just this?” And even though it’s the name of the movie, the revelation of the Half-Blood Prince was done so casually that it caught me off guard.
Good but not great. We all know this only exists to set up (what I hope) is the mind-blowing finale.