Friday, 31 July 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Dir: David Yates (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
Regular Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Bonnie Wright, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis
Additional Cast: Jim Broadbent, Jessie Cave, Freddie Stroma, Helena Bonham Carter, Evanna Lynch, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, Frank Dillane
UK/USA, 2009

Originally Seen: July 17, 2009 at the Empire Studio 7 in Nova Scotia

The wait is finally over for the latest instalment in the Harry Potter series and the film wastes no time letting us know we are stepping into new territory in the Harry Potter film world. Previous established patterns are out the window as the Muggle and Magic world continue to collide.

The characters are the true stars of the sixth instalment. Kudos to Daniel Radcliffe for bringing a strong and varied performance as we Harry continue to grow into and become more of a leader in an amazing way. This is done creatively and not always above board which nicely bridges family mischievous to that of his father James and even godfather Sirius Black. But the troublemaking isn't left to just Harry, the trio is completed with strong performances by both Rupert Grint as Ron finding his own feet and Emma Watson as the head and heart strong Hermione. On the flip side to these characters who continue to grow in their skills and friendship, we see the anguish of Draco's unique growing pains through a formidable performance by Tom Felton.

In the fifth film, The Order of the Phoenix, we saw a theme of students versus teachers and with The Half-Blood Prince we see that line pushed even further as the world because more focused on actions and allegiances rather than rules and roles. The timing for this shift is spot on with the characters as they approach adulthood and the film intensifies this timing with shifting to romantic endeavours at any opportunity it can, but I feel in doing so we are left with not as much attention to the plot of this film (think of the title) nor the overarching plot of the series. There are even a few threads are also left hanging, including a new character with no formal introduction. Perhaps splitting the final book into two films allows time for these gaps to be filled in the future along with the exploration of the remainder of the story.

Concerned I was getting hung up on the book to film changes, I trekked out to the theatre for a second viewing after which I will concede that all of the changes work, and even enhance the world. One example of this is the depth and perspective given to the characters Professor Slughorn played sweetly by Jim Broadbent. But, just like The Order of the Phoenix there were certain scenes in the book I had hoped to see on film that like were not included. Considering it is must have been a mammoth task of condensing such a large text, it is understandable. The changes and additions were mostly along the lines of the hormones a-raging tempo, which do lead to beautiful moments of realism with relationships, romances, unwanted advances and even isolation. The series continues to blend a brilliant combination of the trials and tribulations of everyday growing pains and triumphs alongside the magical world that becomes more dangerous and powerful in each instalment.

Although I have reservations over some of the changes and choices, it is wonderful to see a see a series that is so rich with story, characters, themes that develop over time and to see the actors grow as the roles become richer and complex.

Now, the big questions is do I re-read the entire series in anticipation of Deathly Hallows Part I, to be released November 18, 2010? I bet I will. Will you?

Shannon's Overall View:
I know I will grow to love it
I'll buy it
I'd recommend it to fans of to fans of magic, fantasy and adventure

10 minutes of preshow including 2 commercials and 6 previews: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Fame, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Sherlock Holmes, Shorts and Where the Wild Things Are

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

In anticipation of the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince I went through a weekly countdown of watching & reviewing the five Harry Potter films. You can watch my vlog about the experience or read the individual reviews here:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Poster at Nova Scotia theatre (which has the Friday as a release date):

Poster at Toronto theatre:

Toronto theatre was all decked out in HP character cut outs:

Along with character banners:

Even the coffee place next door was playing along with us Muggles:


Anonymous said...

Awesome review! I totally agreed with what you said about the strength of the acting! I too was disappointed about not seeing some scenes from the book in the movie, but it's still a fantastic movie! I'm looking forward to seeing it again in the near future!

Andrew Robinson said...

You know I loved the movie and this was the first of the series that I hadn't read the book before watching this movie. The characters is what pushed the story and that is why I loved it so much.

BTW. Paragraph 3 you say "The Fifth movie, The Goblet of Fire" The Goblet of Fire is the 4th movie and The Order of The Pheonix is the 5th movie.

anyways glad you loved it, have you heard any huge complaints from the Potter crowd?

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

The general sense I've gotten is that people who haven't read (or read but not recently) the corresponding book enjoy it more than people who read the book and know it well. Weird eh? It's had not to compare them even though they've done a great job in adapting the films.

I'll love it in time. I know because I have with all the other films.

Most of the rumblings I've heard are about the plot, but overall people seem to like it.

Thanks for the catch on the previous title - noted and corrected!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

And it was well worth seeing again. :)

Paul said...

I think Nova Scotia was more into it than Toronto! Must have been fun!

Encore Entertainment said...

very snappy review.

Movie Blaster said...

The most recent Harry Potter movies aren't that good anymore especially since most of the young characters got older now.... There was a certain cuteness to Harry Potter before that appealed more to kids... I doubt if its still there.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

They appear to be actively going darker as the kids grow older and the world gets more dangerous. A lot of fans are loving it, but other prefer the lightness. With a series that spans such a period of time people will always like different periods within the series.

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