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Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Contributor:
Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee
Ah, Harry Potter.
The expectations are so high. We’ve had a very long time to read, re-read, and memorize entire scenes from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
Can the new movie deliver?
 
It would seem so, on many fronts.
The story is for the most part true to the book.
“For the most part”, in the way that Bush is smart, mostly, or that most people in New Zealand adored Helen Clark.
 
The basic storyline is the same, in that Harry Potter is working towards defeating Voldemort, having a romance, and watching his friends having romances. He also stalks Draco Malfoy for a goodly portion of the movie, in between watching memories obtained from Dumbledore, and then stalking Professor Slughorn.
 
In terms of new characters, Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn, is excellent, and as in the previous movies, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman as Bellatrix Lestrange and Professor Snape give stand out performances.
Ralph Fiennes, who played Voldemort in the fourth, fifth and sixth movies, does not appear in this one but his nephew Hero Fiennes-Tiffin plays the young Tom Riddle.
There are too many actors to list here, but the cast list reads like a Who’s Who of the British acting world. See a full list at imdb.com here.
 
The visual effects were fantastic as usual, and the level of detail in terms of this obviously well thought-out and enjoyable.
There is a great “You shall not pass” moment for Dumbledore, and a couple of Lord of the Rings-type sweeping camera-shots of the country side.
The “magic” is sufficient for suspense of disbelief, and the opening sequence was at least an exciting introduction.
The love stories are portrayed accurately, although I won’t ruin them for the three or so people who haven’t read the book- just trust me when I say they pull them off reasonably well, and the actors playing Harry, Ron and Hermione all pull off fresh and interesting performances of the characters they have portrayed for so long. The character of Lavender was surprisingly comic and a great performance by the actress Jessie Cave.
 
Apart from that, if you’ve read the books, I’m sorry to report you are going to be disappointed.
If you haven’t read the books, you’re probably not going to be so much disappointed as wondering just what on earth is going on, in which case you should probably go and see it, as your stress levels won’t rise past vague confusion and slight anxiety, I’m sure.
The level of detail in the Harry Potty canon is understandably difficult to fit into a two hour movie, but in this case the screenwriter Steve Kloves seems to a) have forgotten what happened in the book, b) be in denial that there will be a seventh and eighth movie, as a few necessary plot points are nowhere to be found, and c) neglected the few small-but-charming moments that make the Harry Potter franchise what it is.
Watch for one scene in particular, about halfway through. It’s not in the book, and involves a key location for the seventh book being wiped out. For no apparent reason.
 
This is not to say the story is entire without charm; watch out for the Felix Felicis scene; Daniel Radcliffe clearly takes his inspiration from a few magic mushroom moments, and Rupert Grint does a smashing impression of somebody completely, well, smashed, while over-intoxicated on love potion.
 
If you’re a fan, you’re going to go see it anyway, so I recommend you wipe all thoughts of the book from your head and go in with an objective attitude…however, once you’ve done this you might want to sneak in a copy anyway for translation purposes, as you’ll have no idea what’s happening.
 
Overall, I though the movie deserves a 3/5. It does a little of all the aspects of a good movie well…it just can’t sustain all of them at once, unfortunately.
 
I’m still looking forward to the next and final movies (apparently there are two), for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, due out in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
 
What: Those who have been living in a box for the last decade or so, here, have a Wikipedia link.
Where: All good cinemas- visit the Village site here.
Why: Hey, it’s still the Star Wars of our generation, it deserves a little respect.
Rating: Recommended.
 

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