Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

15 Jul

This sixth film installment of the Harry Potter franchise may be the first that really suffers from an overabundance of source material. With too much story, character development and action to cover, those uneducated in the Potter world would probably be a little lost.

David Yates does an excellent job making a long and complex story, rooted in five installments of prior character development, into an enjoyable experience so if you just want to see a good movie you’ll be ok.  But if you’ve read the books and enjoy the Harry Potter world you’re going to feel a little unsatisfied.

With so much to do in this film, Yates and writer Steve Kloves try to cut through the mysteriousness debates about who the Half-Blood Prince really is and the expanding of critical story concepts such as horcruxs to get at the advancement of the overall plot. This leaves true Pottheads a bit wanting after the little character development moments that make J.K. Rowlings’ work so identifiable.  

Unlike its predecessors, The Half Blood Prince film seems to lose the vast majority of the novels conclusive punch. The books epic battle between the ominously masked and dark roped Deatheater’s and the child of Hogwarts is only a rushed scenic run in the film. But to the viewer, unlike the reader, this lack of a grand confrontation isn’t missed; although the hurriedness would leave even the regular movie goers a confused and looking for answers.

The rushed ending also does a true injustice to what should be a powerful loss of a main character. (I’ll avoid spoilers here incase anyone doesn’t know) What should have been a meaningful and transitory goodbye for Harry is passed over to a rushed pursuit of a quick ending. This makes me think that it may be more of a transition film, linking the more child-like installments with Yates’ darker portrayal.

That being said it’s still loads of fun. The pace of the movie is excellent with plenty of true adolescent humor mixed in with the growing dramatic tensions. The Half Blood Prince also displays the developing acting talents of the young cast. Daniel Radcliff and Emma Watson, showed clear improvement and have seem to come into their own in this film. Seasoned actors like Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman continue to anchor the fledgling cast, leading the viewer to continually buy into the darkness and magic so necessary for the Potter world to exist.

All in all, The Half Blood Prince is an enjoyable experience for both the die-hard fans, and the average moviegoer. With a run time of 2 hours and 33 minutes, it opens today throughout the country.

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