Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

2009-07-17 12:07
 
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

What it's about:

Harry's school holiday draws to a close when Dumbledore fetches him at a train station and together they apparate to visit an ex-Hogwarts teacher, Professor Horace Slughorn. Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) believes that Slughorn holds the secret to overcoming Lord Voldemort.  The tense environment at Hogwarts gives way to much adolescent hormonal activity with Ron and Hermione still struggling to find each other amid unwanted affections from other parties. Meanwhile, Draco Malfoy has been assigned a dangerous task and with Snape being awarded the Defence Against the Dark Arts position, Voldemort's return to power seems inevitable, unless Harry can retrieve Slughorn's secret.

What we thought of it:

Despite the theatrics, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince doesn't quite live up to the excitement of Prisoner of Azkaban or Goblet of Fire.

To be totally honest, I'm not convinced it's all the film's fault. We've reached a point in the story where there's no turning back; Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is The Chosen One, the one destined to kill his arch enemy, and he's got to fight Voldemort and deal with all the unpleasantness that goes along with it. How can you possibly enjoy being a teenager when the fate of the Magical World rests on your tiny shoulders? And they are tiny compared to Ron's! Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, has developed into a very dapper young man.

Romance is a new character in this latest adventure, and it's made quite an entrance. While Harry is grappling with mortal issues, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron aren't letting their youth escape them. Hermione's feelings for Ron are developing, much to her discomfort, while Ron's hormones are taking the forefront in his life. The almost chav-like Lavender Brown throws herself at newly crowned Quidditch hero Ron, and who is he, as a hot-blooded teen, to refuse her? First it was Viktor Krum (in Goblet of Fire), and now Lavender stands in the way of Ron and Hermione's affection for one another.


Harry also has his fair share of romance to throw him off course. In the opening scene of the movie (definitely not found in the book), a pretty, older waitress chats Harry up at the train station. If it wasn't for Dumbledore, Harry might've had his first muggle date. Later, Hermione warns Harry that a fellow Hogwarts student is trying to feed him a powerful love potion. Hermione tells him that it's simply because she thinks he's The Chosen One, to which he smugly replies: "But I am The Chosen One!" And then there's Ron's younger sister Ginny Weasley. Let's just say Harry doesn't have to do a lot of spading when it comes to girls these days…

We meet the pompous yet shameful Horace Slughorn, superbly portrayed by Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones' Diary).The casting has always been spot-on in this franchise, and Alan Rickman is no less impressive this year as the tortured, elusive Professor Snape. Crazy takes on a whole new look with Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), who's much more vocal in this installment and provides much of the fear in Voldemort's absence. Surprisingly, the Dark Lord (as portrayed by Ralph Fiennes) is on a hiatus in this movie as we get to know him as the young Tom Riddle during his days at Hogwarts. The young actors portraying Tom are phenomenal. Fiennes' real-life nephew Hero Fiennes-Tiffin is eerily sinister for an 11-year-old boy, while Frank Dillane plays the teenaged Riddle with magnetic confidence and manipulation. One has to wonder if dark magic isn't at work here after all…

Perhaps that is why there's something a little lacklustre here. Our antagonist is missing but no longer mythical, and Dumbledore has realised he can't hide anything from Harry anymore. What's left for us to wonder about? However, as mentioned earlier, this is how the story goes. It's just a case of not translating well on screen.

Highlights include an almost vomit-inducing camera-ride through London and fantastic special effects, as well as adorable humour from the three BFFs. If you're a HP nutter, then you have to see this out of pure curiosity. However, it's really just made me want to read the book again.


Magical? Of course. Fantastical? Naturally. But can Harry still be entertaining despite his grim future as The Chosen One?

CTheB 2009/07/14 10:10 AM
Given that there are plenty of entertaining movies involving angst, dark times, etc., I'm not convinced that any lack of entertainment in the movie can be blamed on any of that. A poorly written screenplay or poor director (or even producer) seems more likely. Or a combination of those.
Potter fan 2009/07/14 10:30 AM
Book number 6 was definitely the best in the range! If what you say is true, it's a real pity that the movie doesn't do it justice. My advice would be to read the book first!
Lydon 2009/07/14 12:19 PM
Order of the Phoenix was miles better than any of the other movies, and considering this is the same direction I'm sure I'm going to love watching it tomorrow morning. Not sure why you mentioned Goblet of Fire and Prisoner of Azkaban as movies for this one to live up to.
Rene 2009/07/14 1:12 PM
I think that Goblet was the best movie. Order of the Phoenix was really over-hyped. The book was my least favourite as well. Really looking forward to Half Blood Prince though!
preshen govender 2009/07/15 8:42 AM
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Harry playing with his magic wand always a hit
Mel 2009/07/15 3:31 PM
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Hi, I agree with Potter fan... book 6 is the best... I hope the movie doesn’t disappoint like the Order of the Phoenix...
harry 2009/07/15 4:17 PM
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watched the 6th movie last night ..was great ......it doesnt do justice to the book though........i still think the 7th book was the best ...
CM 2009/07/17 7:33 AM
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Snoozefest of note - definitely the most boring Harry Potter so far - hardly any action and just raging teenage hormones everywhere. It is obviously leading up to the finale so I guess we had to have at least one dead boring Harry Potter and I'm afraid this is the one.
Alicia 2009/07/17 7:59 AM
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I'm very disappointed in the movie - I was hoping that they could stay true to the book(which was brilliant), but ALAS!!!
Pottie fan 2009/07/17 9:22 AM
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Big big dissapointment. Recently read the book AGAIN to refresh memory before watching movie. They clearly included scenes that were not mentioned in the book at all. (Ron's family house attack). And then they leaft out some of the crucial fighting scenes at Hogwarts between the aurors and death eaters. Cannot believe they left out some of the action packed scenes! (Still extremely dissapointed) I agree with CTheB. It was a poorly written screenplay and/or poor director. Still dying HP fan though.
Katlego 2009/07/23 4:16 PM
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What a waste,arguably one of the big flops of the year,for anyone that wants to go see it,dont even bother,the only nice part is the start of the movie,its then 90 mins of junk,the order of phoenix was better.
kim 2009/07/28 12:57 PM
What a huge disappointment and a major flop. After what has come before this was a load of melodramatic rubbish - don't bother if you have read the book, if you have not, then see it just to be up to speed with the story (although you have not missed much)....sad, very sad for potter fans
Khethu Xaba 2009/07/31 8:37 AM
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The best Harry Potter Movie to date is Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. The rest of the movies have failed to live up to the standards of the books.
Garry 2009/08/05 3:05 PM
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Really disappointing film. The missed a lot of the great scenes and vital plots from the book. Don't get a great sense of the book at all....book was much better than movie... sad really especially that they made up scenes that weren't in the book.
Leon 2009/08/05 11:24 PM
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Most dissapointed This movie rates 1 on a scale of one to ten Saw the movie with two friends - one who has read the books and the other who has only seen the movies His coment was what was that all about Not having read teh book he found the story line virtually non existant All the important stuff lik Voltermorts beginings was left out and junk put in its place At Times I was wondering if it was a Laurel and Hardy Movie with Daniel Ratcliffe doing a pritty good imitation of Laurel Rupert Grint was patehtic this time round but Hermonie was excelent She I think was the best of the lot The changes to the book were most unsatisfactory I do realise that there is a lot that is in the book that had to be cut but cutting the crucial scenes was a total disgrace Hopefully the Deathly Hallows two parter will be better Since the Chamber of Secrets the photograhy has gone very dark and very gloomy - It is so dark that one battles to see whts going on Hopefully the Movies will be re released in an extended version with all the scenes that were cut out of the movie been restored to make the movies worth while I dont mind watching a ten hour version of each of the movie providing it does justice to the books But I doubt it The directors of the later movies have changed the story so badly that it would take sheer magic to put it back on track Dont think though that all has been bad in the movies, It hasnt - There are some parts where the movies are better than the books but alas they are few and far between I will still get the DVD when it comes out just so i can see what was been said because the vocals also left a lot to be desired In a lot of cases it was Mumble Mumble Mumble Thats one good use of DVDs (subtitles)
Anonymous 2009/08/07 2:41 PM
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errr, i thought it was nice :)
Khethu Xaba 2009/08/13 10:50 AM
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The movie was so horrible I couldn't help but laugh. What was up with the scene where Ginny Weasly chases Harry Potter to fight Bellatrix Lestrange? I think Warner Bros. should fire the person who worked on the screenplay. This is a new low in the Potter series, lets hope it only gets better from here.
Leonie 2010/03/08 1:59 PM
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What a dissappointment!!! I have read all the books and watched all the movies thus far. How is it that Hogwarts and surroundings keep changing with every movie?. Since when did Dumbledore fetch Harry from a train station? I think the opening as per the book whould have been the best considering the Dursley's disbelief in the Wizarding world and having the Headmaster in their house? It was such a dissappointment not even to see the Dursley's in the movie!! Why do they always have to leave out some of the most important parts which really makes you understand what it's all about? Very little emotion was give to Dumbledore's death, and people who have not read the book would not even have figured out what Malfoy was up to. I really hope that the last movie will be one of the best, and not such a dissappointment as this.
Leonie 2010/03/08 1:59 PM
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What a dissappointment!!! I have read all the books and watched all the movies thus far. How is it that Hogwarts and surroundings keep changing with every movie?. Since when did Dumbledore fetch Harry from a train station? I think the opening as per the book whould have been the best considering the Dursley's disbelief in the Wizarding world and having the Headmaster in their house? It was such a dissappointment not even to see the Dursley's in the movie!! Why do they always have to leave out some of the most important parts which really makes you understand what it's all about? Very little emotion was give to Dumbledore's death, and people who have not read the book would not even have figured out what Malfoy was up to. I really hope that the last movie will be one of the best, and not such a dissappointment as this.
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