Mania Grade: A
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- Movie: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Rating: PG
- Running Time: 2 hrs. 33 min.
- Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Jim Broadbent, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Julie Walters, David Bradley, Jessie Cave, Frank Dillane, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Helen McCrory, Natalia Tena, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Bonnie Wright
- Written By: Steven Kloves
- Directed By: David Yates
- Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
- Series: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE Review
Harry Potter's Prince Royally Delivers
By Liana Aghajanian
July 15, 2009
Mania gives the thumbs up to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince(2009).
© Robert Trate
Following the unfortunate return of ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’ in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” Harry(Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), Ron (Rupert Grint) and a slew of delightful characters return to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the sixth installment of the series to study magic, potions and spells. Beyond the lessons, tests, never ending corridors and ever-present battle between good and evil however, love is definitely brewing quite thickly in the air.
The tale begins with Voldemort’s minions, Death Eaters wreaking havoc in both the wizard and Muggle worlds. While Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) takes extra precautions to protect Hogwarts, Harry’s premonition leads him to suspect that the danger is coming from within the school, in the form of another nemesis, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). Dumbledore enlists Harry to help uncover a mysterious memory, known only to former Hogwarts potions professor, Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) that will reveal vital information on Voldemort. Since his time at Hogwarts, Slughorn has tried his best to block out the memories from his teaching days, but Dumbledore manages to coax him back into the classroom with the promise of a raise and the opportunity to teach the famed Harry Potter.
Things, as usual, rev up when Harry accidentally falls into the possession of the Half-Blood Prince’s potion book, containing highly sophisticated spells, tips and tricks during one of Slughorn’s classes. This new discovery only leads to the long list of questions stirring in Harry’s mind: Who is cursing Hogwarts students? How can the Death Eaters be defeated? Does Ginny like me? Who exactly is the Half-Blood Prince?
Truly a compelling adventure from beginning to end, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” strikes the perfect balance between a thrilling experience chockfull of shocking revelations and frightening moments and a humorous, coming of age story of one extraordinary, courageous kid and his friends who take on evil, but are just as ordinary as their Muggle counterparts when it comes to romance. The laugh out loud moments juxtaposed with teeth gritting scenes make this the funniest Harry Potter film, while maintaining genuine sense of terrifyingly exciting moments.
Our heroic trio, once baby faced and awkward have grown up to tackle the most difficult time of their lives: adolescence. With hormones raging and feelings emerging, evil seems to have nothing on young love. Harry soon comes to the realization that Ginny Weasely means more to him than just a friend, while Ron, somewhat reluctantly, deals with Lavender Brown’s (Jessie Cave) smothering affections. Ms. Granger is also bitten by the love bug in this installation, but her ginger haired Ron, remains oblivious.
With seasoned Harry potter costume designer Jany Temime and Tim Burke and Tim Alexander as visual effects supervisors, the details are breathtaking, from the bronze owl statue that comes to life, to the intricate designs on Dumbledore’s cloak and the snow covered Quiddage arena where Ron hopes to showcase his skills. The darkness of the film extends beyond the subject matter to the overall look of the film, with subdued, dark and dreary tones that fit right in with the London scenery. Directed by David Yates and produced by David Heyman and David Barron, the Half-Blood Prince also allows for long awaited glimpses into the Dark Lord’s world when he was just a troubled boy named Tom Riddle at a London orphanage.
The supporting cast is well-rounded with delectable and strong performances from Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn, Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood and Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange. Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Frank Dillane who portray Voldemort in his early stages are more than convincing and add dimension to what we’ve known up to this point as just ‘evil.’ The lessons of the Half-Blood Prince aren’t anything new – that good should always trump evil, that love is meant to overtake hate, that few posses the admirable traits of being courageous and brave, that standing up for what you believe in is always in the right – but presented in the context of a now mature Harry, they take on new meanings, laced within the magical world a Muggle could only dream of.
The devotion surrounding Harry Potter’s tumultuous story has lasted five films thus far, and only looks to improve with the sixth. Although the Half-Blood Prince does have a number of changes from the book, literary fans will no doubt gobble up their hero’s plight to fight the forces of evil. Originally slated for release in November 2008, the eight month delay is definitely worth the wait, even if it clocks in at 153 minutes long.