Film Review – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I will be the first to admit that I am not a hardcore Harry Potter fan. I have not read any of the books, and I haven’t gone out of my way to see the movies. Don’t get me wrong, they are well produced movies but for the most part they haven’t really hooked me as much as the Lord of the Rings.
I was finally able to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince followings its release on DVD. This is a film I wish I had gotten to see in the movie theater, but missed the opportunity. John gave this as his DVD pick of the week on Episode 22, so I felt compelled to watch it. And I can see why he would recommend it, as I thought for the most part it was a solid film. I can’t say as much for the DVD release – which is fairly mundane and uninspired.
The movie opens with everyone in fear as Valdemort continues to grow stronger. There is a lot of uncertainty about Hogwarts being open for school, but begrudgingly everyone finally ends up going. This film seemed to be centered on the relationship between Harry Potter and Dumbledore, as most of the accessory characters seemed to have much smaller roles this time around. It also made me sad to see great character actors like Maggie Smith and Robbie Coltrane are barely used in this movie. Daniel Radcliffe and Michael Gambon are both enjoyable, but pretty much the same as every other one of the movies. I find Alan Rickman’s Snape to be one of his less interesting characters, but I’m expecting big things from him in the final movies.
The film is visually quite beautiful, though I didn’t find the CGI to be overly impressive – especially considering other CGI work that has been coming out recently (such as District 9). Also, at times the CGI looked like it was ripped straight out of the Lord of the Rings.
For the fans of the film, the ending will send a chill down your spine since it is such a large moment for the arc of the series, but for me it wasn’t that mind blowing. It didn’t help that the twist had been spoiled for me in advance of seeing the movie, but I still found it to be somewhat anti-climactic. The problem for me is that, unless there is a massive twist in the final two movies, the story is too predictable. Up to and through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince the plot twists have been fairly predictable, and it is glaringly obvious which characters are good and which are bad. This takes a lot of the suspense of the movie away for me. I’m willing to give the series the benefit of the doubt though and chalk this up to the difficulty in transition the source material to film.
As far as the series go, this entry is definitely solid. It definitely isn’t my favorite (that is still Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), but it is definitely better than the first two movies. I am going to give it a 3 out of 5.