Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
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 director David Yates’s second foray into the world of Harry Potter, 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 first 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. 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 and when he had lines to say during the first couple of films I could handle it, but he just never seemed to have grown into his role as well as his counterparts.
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. At this point, there’s an anxiousness to get to The Deathly Hallows, but this is another in a line of good Potter sequels.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: I suspect that the trend with Warner Bros.’ new 4K Harry Potter transfers is going to be a gradual decrease in quality as we work backwards in the timeline. HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE came out in 2009, so it’s barely 8 years old, but the transfer is slightly less than the more recent Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2. HBP isn’t quite as dark as the last two films, but it is dark compared to other films, so most of the improvements in detail and color come with the black levels. Watching Draco creep around is easier with HDR because his robe and the backgrounds become distinguishable. The daylight scenes also look better, adding slightly more detail to closeups and backgrounds alike. Overall, this is another Potter transfer that is very good, but not overly great.
Audio: The DTS-X track is on par with the previous Potter DTS-X tracks. It’s very nice and definitely an upgrade over the prior Blu-ray releases.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film and you can read our review by clicking HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 Blu-ray Review