Review – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I haven’t read any of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books bar the first one, The Philosopher’s Stone and that was some years ago. It’s not that I dislike them or that I simply do not read, it’s just that I’ve never gotten round to them.

The films however I have watch and a couple of them many times. I love the whole ‘Britishness’ of them, from the setting to all of the cast members. Had they been ‘Americanized’, I don’t think I would have liked the film franchise as much. And it’s not just the British feel of the movies, but also the fact that Warner Bros have managed to keep all of the principal cast members as well as the peripheral ones too. Speaking of the cast, it has been great watching Daniel, Emma and Rupert not only grow into young adults but also good actors. One of the early criticisms was the wooden acting from all of the young cast, but hey – they’re children. Each film, they become more confident in their ability and comfortable in their roles.

So what about the latest offering, The Half Blood Prince? Well, Drew and I went to an IMAX screening of the movie in which the first 12 minutes were shown in 3-D. This was my first modern 3-D experience (does the Muppet Show in Disney World count?), but if this is any indication of things to come, I’ll be travelling to London a lot more often. The opening sequences felt like flying through the WB shield and the titles. The Death Eater’s attack on London was superb and Harry and Dumbledore’s visit to Professor Horace Slughorn magical.

Once the 3-D bit was over I relaxed into the rest of the film. There can be no argument that this film is the darkest yet. And yes, there are lots of rampant raging teenage hormones running riot all over Hogwarts and the obligatory Quidditch match, all of which were listed as faults by critics. Yes they could’ve gone into You Know Who’s back story or The Half Blood Prince but I think the writers and director took a good path that will set up the final two parts even better.

I don’t think I’ll be giving away any spoilers here but just in case, scroll down to the bottom for some relates news links.

It was important to show the developing relationships between Harry and Ginny and also that of Hermione and Ron and the only was to do that is following that particular thread within the book. This outcome of these relationships are important to the future of each of those characters.

The Quidditch match was equally worth putting in, without it, Ron’s display of luck and heroics might have less of an effect on the above thread. Especially with his entanglement with Lavender Brown. Also, watching Ron under the effect of the luck potion sets the audience up for the real effects when Harry drink it.

And yes it’s dark, of course it is. Draco is tasked with opening a portal into Hogwarts AND the murder of Dumbledore (a tragic ending which brought the young woman next to me to tears). It cannot be anything but dark, as we see the muggle and magical world succumb to Lord Voldemort.

It may not stand up against the Goblet of Fire and the Order of the Phoenix both of had more drama and pace, however the Half Blood Prince is still worthy of being part of a great series.

For more information and news about Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, see the list below:

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