‘Half Blood Prince’ one of the best Potters so far
“Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince”
4 out of 4 Stars
By Greg Vellante
The world of Harry Potter is divided between the magical, wizard-and-witch-filled community, and the regular, everyday lives of the “Muggles.” Among said Muggles, such as you and I, who are fans of Harry Potter, there are many more divisions as determined by the way we follow the story.
Some people eat up everything “Harry Potter.” They have been reading J.K. Rowling’s beloved books since the beginning and are fans of the movies. Other people read the books, but have no interest in seeing any adaptations because they worry the movies will ruin it for them. And still others are fans (if you call them that) who hopped on the “Harry Potter” bandwagon the moment the movies came out, having only read a few of the books, or worse, never having opened one at all.
Depending which type of fan you are, your “Harry Potter” viewing experience could be vastly different than the person sitting next to you in the theater. This certainly applies to all “Harry Potter” films, but most specifically to “Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince.”
“Half Blood Prince” is an intriguing film and an interesting adaptation. It poses questions regarding the deep themes of good versus evil, choice versus destiny, and myriad other moralistic questions that sit differently with different people.
It provides characters whose presence has been known since the beginning of the series, but whose roles and destinies take center stage in “Half Blood Prince.” It is a very thought-provoking film, prompting viewers to think rather than simply be entertained.
Still, entertainment is indubitably given. “Half Blood Prince” is not only 153 minutes of attractive storytelling, but uses vivid colors combined with dark, ominous themes to simultaneously magnetize and make you uneasy and uncomfortably lost. That’s also the state of the majority of characters, facing a world in which the evil Lord Voldemort has risen once more.
The special effects are top-notch as always, joining forces with emotional tenderness to create a finale that excites, haunts and lingers post-viewing. In addition to the special effects of the finale, Quidditch scenes are back and better than ever.
“Half Blood Prince” still manages to make viewers laugh, reminding that through dark times, humor always helps. Surprisingly, despite being one of the gloomier “Potter” films, “Half Blood Prince” also winds up being the funniest.
As an adaptation, “Half Blood Prince” neither succeeds with flying colors nor fails with burning disaster. It stays true to the main story, but changes are necessary for an adaptation of a 652-page book. Certain details were cut out, some that may disappoint some readers.
The premise remains the same. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is once again facing flashbulbs and newspaper headlines after the fiasco at the Ministry of Magic that finalized the fifth film. After battling Voldemort and verifying that the dark wizard is indeed back, Potter is gaining recognition for his bravery. He’s being called “The Chosen One” after a prophecy is rumored to contain the information that the teenage wizard is the only one who will, in the end, be able to destroy Lord Voldemort.
Returning to Hogwarts, Harry finds old friends, most notably Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), and equal enemies. Harry grows increasingly suspicious of old nemesis Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). He believes now that Draco’s father is in Azkaban for being a death eater, the younger Malfoy is following in Daddy’s footsteps. Actor Tom Felton is given a much more important role in this sixth film, and is given a heaping plate to fill as an actor. Mostly he succeeds, especially in the final scene, a thrillingly vehement confrontation that readers know all too well.
Humor comes largely from the subplots involving the love that is forming in different areas of Hogwarts. Ron has begun a relationship with the annoying Lavender Brown (Jessie Cave), a giddy girl who calls the red-haired wizard her “Won-Won.” This frustrates Hermione, confirming the fact that she does indeed have feelings for Ron, and this puts a serious dent in their relationship. Harry is caught in the middle, with love issues of his own to deal with surrounding Ron’s not-so-little-anymore sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright).
The film’s main premise involves Harry and Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). Slughorn isn’t teaching at Hogwarts for just any old reason. Dumbledore wishes for Harry to get close to the teacher in order to retrieve a specific memory that will help in the hopefully impending death of Voldemort. In the process, Dumbledore shares with Harry other insights on the past of Tom Riddle, the man who becomes the Dark Lord, by using a Pensieve, a rather cool device that allows you to look at certain memories taken from the minds of others.
Again, viewers will look at this sixth film with differing opinions, mostly depending on who has read the book and who hasn’t. It doesn’t really matter, for standing alone, “Half Blood Prince” is delightful yet disturbing. And these counter-forces are what make “Half Blood Prince” one of the better “Potter” films so far.
‘Half Blood’ Trivia
- In a flashback sequence, the 11-year old Tom Riddle is played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, the nephew of actor Ralph Fiennes, who plays the adult version of Voldemort. Director David Yates made the choice based on the young actor’s “dark, haunted quality”.
- Jessica Cave beat more than 7,000 girls to win the role as Ron’s love interest, Lavender Brown.
- There is only one chapter left in the “Harry Potter” saga, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” To make generous room for the book’s immense plot, the film is being made in two separate parts.
- “Part I” is set for release on Nov. 19, 2010, and “Part II” is scheduled for release July 15, 2011.
- Quotable: “Years ago, I knew a boy who made all the wrong choices. He seemed a student like any other. His name was Tom Riddle. Today, the world knows him by another name: Voldemort.” – Albus Dumbledore