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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - 2009

The Half-Blood Prince is probably the second best of its series, and I am surprised at the criticism it has received. I have been watching and re-watching the entire series, in fact I am currently watching one of the films while writing this review, and I disagree with many of the skepticals who say numbers 5-7 are the weakest of the series. Filthy rich in storytelling and emotional depth, not only would I say that I highly enjoyed the sixth and seventh films, but I would go as far as saying they are by far the finest yet of the Harry Potter films. I only hope, as early critic reviews have been indicating, that Deathly Hallows Part 2 exceeds the greatness of its predecessors, and puts the period on the remarkable film series that this is.


Harry Potter and the rest of our heroes are entering their sixth year at Hogwart school, but with a new teacher, one who taught years ago, Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent). Though what Harry does not know is Dumbledore only asked Horace to come for Harry to become close friends with him, so that Harry can receive certain memories that happened between Horace and young Tom Riddle, learning more and more of Voldemort's past. Meanwhile, Harry finds a book of spells that supposedly belongs to "the Half-Blood Prince", who none of the students can find out any information on. Yet again, one final time, Harry is sent on an adventure at Hogwarts, getting all the more closer to his face off with the great wizard Voldemort.


Many people have said that David Yates ruined the Harry Potter films, and I agree that the Order of the Phoenix was a rough movie to get through, but in my opinion here he has done a fine job with the direction of the Half-Blood Prince. For the less demanding viewers, though, I will confidently say will find this film terribly dull and boring. But for the viewers who are already a fan of the films, they will find Half-Blood Prince one of the finest Harry Potter movies yet. And to be honest, that's all that really matters, if you don't care for the series at all just don't watch. Artistically David Yates does a fine job crafting this film, his direction is a tad uneven at times, mainly the beginning, but overall a succesful piece of work.


The visuals were beautiful, at the time the finest of any of the films, grabbing a darker and more intense visual feeling than ever before. I wouldn't call the Half-Blood Prince a visual delight, more of an awe-inspiring achievement in cinematography and special effects. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel never ceases to amaze me in his works, and it is a shame that the Half-Bloode Prince was the first and last Harry Potter film he worked for.


The performances were absolute pleasure to watch, especially if you have taken part in watching these three kids, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint grow in their acting talents, and go from young struggling performances to what they are today. Fine actors better than anyone else their age today. In the more intense scenes Radcliffe has improved an unbelievable amount, he is passionate and handles the emotions perfectly. Rupert Grint always knows how to make me laugh, that obviously does not change here, and Emma Watson has become quite the exceptional young actress. Michael Gambon has also impressed me as well, and I now have the opinion that he is Richard Harris' equal, I prefer neither of them as actors.


Overall, the Half-Blood Prince is one of my favorite Harry Potter films yet. It works emotionally and visually. For the people who don't like this film or the series, don't hate, just quit watching and live your life. The acting is solid, and the story sets up the set up, Deathly Hallows Part 1, where we prepare for the final installment, as "it all ends".

Rating: 8/10

17 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this very much. Great review Matt.

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  2. Glad you agree. Thanks!

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  3. Awesome review. This was almost my favorite Harry Potter film, but what hindered it, in my opinion, was the handling of Dumbledore's death. It didn't seem to matter nearly enough. Aside from that, it's an excellent film, and I'm with you about Yates. He had to find his stride with Order of the Phoenix, which I don't think is as bad as everyone says, though certainly the weakest HP film, but after that he's done an excellent job with this and Deathly Hallows 1. And if the reviews keep going in the direction they've been, Deathly Hallows 2 may be the best HP movie yet.

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  4. Well it is packing an unusual amount of early positive reviews, in fact I think the last movie that had this many without a negative was The Social Network, so I really hope Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the best. The trailer makes it look so. Thanks Daniel.

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  5. Indiana Jones 79July 10, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    good review, I agree B+!
    -IndianaJones79

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  6. Kyle, CinematicMethod.comJuly 11, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Great review. I can't see how people hate on films 5-7, especially as the acting continues to improve and the story gets better and better. Well done!

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  7. Exactly, oh well. Thanks!

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  8. Jesse P. From the VaultJuly 12, 2011 at 5:54 AM

    I hope to see it one day. I stopped watching them after the 5th and i don't think i will see the rest ever... I might one day.

    Nice work as always!

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  9. The fifth is definitely one of the weakest, and I understand if you wouldn't want to see the others. Thanks Jesse!

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  10. Its a little better than Order of the Phoenix, but it disappointed me a little considering the adaptation. Nice job

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  11. See I have not read the books so there is nothing for me to complain about concerning those. Thanks.

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  12. A massive improvement over the fifth installment but the ending, however was a mess. Great review Matt, and please, read the books ;)

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  13. Brent - The Silver screnJuly 14, 2011 at 4:51 AM

    I love Harry Potter! This movie had a fatal flaw that impacted on the Deathly Hallows for me though. The cliff hanger end was fine but the fact that Hallows was split into two parts meant the cliff hanger was superflous. If it was followed by a single Hallows movie it would have been fine but a cliff hanger followed by two movies to get to the finale?? Nah that was a mistake.

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  14. Sorry Hawaiian, i'm probably not going to get to the books anytime soon ;) I'm sure i'll get to them eventually though. Thanks!

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  15. Oh and yes, definitely an improvement, especially with Yates' direction in my opinion.

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  16. I guess I can see where you are coming from, but it seems (based on basically every critic's opinion in the world) that the final film works perfectly. Thanks for reading Brent!

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