Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Full disclaimer: I have never read a Harry Potter novel in full, but I do enjoy the movies. I also fully realize that this review is a few weeks behind.

Not being as familiar to the Harry Potter story line as many of the fans of the movies I can tell you that I have thoroughly enjoyed the latest couple movies the best. With the first few big screen adaptations of the smash hit novels geared towards children I fell asleep watching them. It was not until Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that I really found myself enjoying the story of Harry Potter and his friends, and enemies.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix turned out to be one of my favorite movies from 2007, and with director David Yates back to work on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince I was eager to see how it would turn out.

Let's just say I was disappointed, but not because of Yates. The story line in Half Blood Prince, from what I gather is somewhat dull but sets up the final installment in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So while Yates has little to work with content wise, he makes the best of it with some fantastic directing. Half Blood Prince is a dark story and the movie comes off in much the way it should, with dark scenes from the start to the end.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince finds Potter back at Hogwarts and skeptical about his young nemesis Draco Malfoy's shady personality. It turns out that Potter's speculation is right on track in that Draco is being recruited by the Death Eaters in a plot to kill Dumbledore.

Potter also teams up under the guidance of Dumbledore to lore Horace Slughorn back to teaching at Hogwart's, but Dumbledore has ulterior motives to having Slughorn teaching again. It is Slughorn who can uncover a dark secret pertaining to Voldemort. Potter must seduce Slughorn into speaking of the secret memories of a young Voldemort, giving fans a chance to soak in Voldemort's origins.

In some ways this movie reminded me of the Star Wars saga. Luke Skywalker goes about his ways to uncover the past of his father, Darth Vader, while the prequel episodes detail the path to Anakin Skywalker's demise to the Sith and turning into Darth Vader. In Half Blood Prince you get a sense of how a young Voldemort dabbles in dark magic and turns more towards the forces of evil rather than using his power for good.

The ending also reminds me of Empire Strikes Back, in the way that the story ends on somewhat of a down note, but leads the story to the conclusion. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will actually be done in two parts on the big screen, and having not read the books I am actually clueless as to what will happen. You may already know.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, and have read the books, what did you think of the recent movie? Are you one who wants the movie to be as close to the book as possible, or are you like me and can appreciate the movie as its own entity aside from the novel? What did you think of Half Blood Prince?

Leave you thoughts, or rants, in the comments section.

Movie Info
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince from Warner Brothers
Director: David Yates
Writer: Steve Kloves (screenplay), J.K. Rowling (novel)
Genre: Adventure fantasy
Rated: PG
Running time: 153 minutes

Score of 1 to 10: 7.9

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