Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

It seems like just yesterday when we were introduced to the wizard kids in training Harry Potter (Danielle Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). But boy have they've grown up as we enter the sixth installment of J.K. Rowling's epic story. And for the most part, that's a good thing because the evil Lord Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizard worlds -- and fighting the Death Eaters is no child's play.

Harry wants nothing more than to enjoy his waning days of summer break, but Professor Dumbledore (Sir Michael Gambon) has other plans for him -- and is more intent than ever before in preparing the chosen one for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Together they must work to find the key to unlock Voldemort's defenses, but first Dumbledore must convince his old friend and colleague to come back to Hogwarts. The retired Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) is not only an expert on potions, he has an invaluable connection to Voldemort -- and maybe even with the mysterious half-blood prince -- which could lead to unearthing crucial information.

Of course, along the way we must revisit (and sometimes endure) all the magic that has worked before -- must we sit through yet another Quidditch match? And the movie almost risks veering into complete 90210 territory as the teenage students wrestle with their hormones, and much time is spent on various blossoming romances and infatuations. But luckily, director David Yates keeps things on track as he concentrates on the darker side of the real task at hand.

The chemistry amongst the key players has only grown stronger and more magical with time -- and though the film is nearly two-and-a-half hours, you may actually wish you had longer to spend with them. The great cast also includes the return of supporting stars Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Dame Maggie Smith and Julie Walters. [Rated PG; opens tomorrow]

Grade: B


  • Unlike the last film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will not be simultaneously released in IMAX theaters due to an exclusive commitment with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The film will instead be released in IMAX on July 29, two weeks after its original release.
  • The final chapter of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be split into two films. Part one is scheduled for release on November 19, 2010 and part two will follow on July 15, 2011. Once again, Yates returns to the helm for the conclusion.
  • So out of the infamous trio of adolescent wizards, who is your favorite? Here are the results of the recent poll -- looks like J.K. should consider a series on Hermione now:
    Who is your favorite adolescent wizard?

    Harry Potter = 69 (40%)
    Ron Weasley = 23 (13%)
    Hermione Granger = 80 (46%)

    Total votes = 172

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