Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review (2009)

12/12/2009 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

Directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves, 153 minutes, rated PG.

By Christopher Smith

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is the sixth film in the franchise, and time is on its side.

The actors possess their best chemistry yet, slipping into this unraveling otherworld of growing evil with such seamless ease, it’s as if two years haven’t passed between movies and that the stakes aren’t as high as they are. There are plenty of moments for comic asides in this movie--some corny, others bright--even though evil is busy wending its way through Hogwarts and surrounding areas at a blistering pace.

David Yates directs from Steve Kloves’ script, itself based on J.K. Rowling’s book, and what they created is a fine segue out of most of the awkwardness of adolescence and into the throes of young adulthood. A good deal of their movie is unsettling and intense, more grounded and rich than any other film in the series.

This time out, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) must not only deal with the fact that romance is entering into their lives, but also that Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) is increasingly giving himself over to a dark side that will threaten them all if he fully embraces it.

And so, while Ron and Hermione brood along the sidelines--her affections for Ron are fully revealed in this movie, though in ways that are unrequited since Ron is involved with a fierce little minx named Lavender Brown (Jessie Cave)--it’s Harry who naturally has the most challenges to contend with.

First up are dealing with his feelings for Ron’s sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright)--he’s smitten by her. Second is the real core of the story, which focuses on how Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) needs Harry’s help to undo Lord Voldemort. To succeed, Harry must get close to Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), who returns to Hogwarts to teach his bevy of potions, but who is unaware that Dumbledore has charged Harry to pull from Slughorn a hidden memory that could help shut Voldemort down.

It won’t be easy, but Harry is game and so the story plunges forward, with audiences treated to several harrowing scenes, not the least of which involve how Harry taps into memories (it’s ingeniously rendered by the film’s superb special effects) and another scene that takes place in a cave filled with creatures reminiscent of Gollum from “The Lord of the Rings” movies. Watching them emerge from the water is a queasy experience, to say the least, and the film at its best.

While Robbie Coltrane’s Hagrid and Maggie Smith’s Minerva McGonagall continue to be shortchanged, which is a shame given the talent involved, Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape finds himself at the center of the movie, with his character realizing a depth it never has enjoyed. Rickman is all sneering evil here, so beautifully menacing, you wish for even more of him given the absence of Voldemort himself. The same goes for Helena Bonham Carter’s Bellatrix Lestrange, a wild toss of Gothic frizz who bellows through the movie and gives it a wild edge during those few moments she’s allowed onscreen.

But even when she, Coltrane and Smith aren’t onscreen, the movie satisfies with new revelations and twists, one of which is so dire, it might leave Muggles motionless long after fate reveals its cruel hand and the credits start to roll.

Grade: B+

View the trailer for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" here:

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  1. Diana said...

    I have to say I think this series of movies is one of the best creative series I have ever has the privledge to watch.
    I dont know how they actually do all the great special effects in these things.. but they are terrific. I havent seen this one yet.. but I will eventually. Being sick has really put a damper on being able to hit the movies. Its nice that they are growing up in this one. Will be interesting to see how these progress as the actors age. Im looking forward to this one and many more sequels!

  2. smartshopper2 said...

    I agree about Hagrid & Minerva being underutilized, they could probably do stories with just their characters.

  3. Freemoviesonline said...

    not what i expected.. watch it few month ago. the story just not a story.. felt like nothing really going on...