Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter is in his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and we find that his adventures are still exciting, humorous and full of peril. In this recent installment, by director David Yates, we follow Harry and Professor Dumbledore as they try to uncover the mysteries of Lord Voldemort. Mr. Yates does a good job with this complex, and quite long, chapter of the Harry Potter-verse. Although he didn’t measure up (in my opinion) to Alfonso Cuarón’s adaptation of Prisoner of Azkaban, he was still able to give us a good movie full of suspense and humor.
As we follow our three main characters through year six, I immediately am aware of the acting from Radcliffe, Watson and Grint and how it compares with the last five films. It’s tough for kids to take a role like the main Potter trio has and grow with it through the years. Not only do you have to deal with all of the Hollywood drama but in this case you have to deal with all of the die hard Potter fans scrutinizing your portrayal of their favorite literary characters. With that in mind, these three have done an excellent job. Up until this film, they were neck and neck with their acting chops, but sometime over the last year or two, Radcliffe and Watson blossomed. I found their acting to be more natural than Grint’s and the supporting cast. It was almost painful to watch Ron and even Ginny during their “romantic” (for lack of a better word) scenes and to me they seemed almost embarrassed and uncomfortable with the situation. I have to admit the entire segment with the love potion made me cringe and I was very happy for it to be over with. And please don’t get me started on Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy, even though he is the exact mental image I have of the Slytherin, his facial expressions just don’t work. When he had lines to say during the first couple of films I could handle it, but just having to watch him act is, well pretty bad.
Another complaint I had was that one-third (well, possibly less but it felt like more) of the film was watching Malfoy going about doing sinister things with a panned or cut shot of Harry following him or eavesdropping on the conversation. I know it was part of the plot to show that Malfoy was bad and Harry didn’t trust him, but I sort of thought we all knew that from watching the first five films. Oh, and the revelation of who the Half-Blood Prince was is a bit anti-climactic, it is the title of the film so a little lead-up to the reveal would have been appreciated.
What I really enjoyed was the effects. Like with all of the Potter films the effects are necessary to create the magical world of Hogwarts and this film delivered as well as in the area of the surrounding scenery. We got some great views from Hogwarts as well as some stunning visuals of the surrounding area at the Weasley house and the location of the caves. I was really happy to see some English landscaping.
Beside those few complaints (which really isn’t too bad for a 2.5 hour movie) I was pleased with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I walked away satisfied and glad that I have two more installments of my favorite series before I have to say goodbye to Harry, Ron and Hermione for good.