Website: Harry Potter official site
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Wright, Tom Felton, Helena Bonham Carter
My Review: For the most part, I have found the Harry Potter movies to be disappointing, unconvincing, and a relatively poor representation of the brilliant books they’re based on. And Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is no exception. There. I said it. Let the public flogging commence.
My main issue with the movies are that they play like oversimplified Cliffs Notes versions of the books. There’s no way every detail J.K. Rowling packed into her tomes can make it into a movie, and still keep the movie under three hours, I get that. But the movies focus so heavily on the major action scenes (seriously, how many more Quidditch matches need to be filmed?) that they gloss over too many of the various backstories that lay the groundwork for the story arc of the entire series. They also pick and choose which emotional and relationship-based scenes to play, so the movies wind up missing out on a lot of the heart and soul that can be found in every one of the Harry Potter books.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince lays the groundwork for the final showdown between the good wizards and Voldemort’s army of evil followers, who are wreaking havoc not only in the wizarding world, but in muggle-based
As usual, the key scenes are played: Harry collects the memory he needs, Dumbledore and Harry figure out how Voldemort can be brought down, and you-know-who is killed by you-know-who. And everything is set up for the final installment, which will (thankfully) be split into two movies. But the movie feels disconnected and packs only a fraction of the emotional punch the book does. Too many of the developing relationships are either completely skipped or are so thinly portrayed that you’re left wondering why you should care.
Lupin shows up in one scene with a woman by his side, who you may remember as being another Order of the
The most egregious oversight is right there in the movie’s title: the Half-Blood Prince. Harry gets a used Potions textbook filled with the brilliant notes of a former student with the declaration that the book is owned by the “Half-Blood Prince” scrawled inside the cover. But rather than trying to figure out who that is and what that means—like he does in the book—Harry just continues to use the notes to excel in his Potions class, and at the end of the movie, the Half-Blood Prince’s identity is revealed, with no fanfare or explanation, almost as if the director realized the topic had yet to be addressed, so he threw in an extra line to take care of that pesky issue. “Oh, by the by, I’m the Half-Blood Prince. See ya in the next movie, Potter!”
Bottom Line: Once again, a Harry Potter movie fails to live up to my expectations and doesn’t pack enough of an emotional punch for me to truly care about what happens to the characters (the Harry Potter onscreen will never live up to the Harry Potter that played in my head while reading the books). Luckily, someone was smart enough to split the upcoming final story into two movies rather than pack everything into two and half hours. I just wish someone had been smart enough to do that with all of the movies after the third one.