Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

The already darkening skies encompassing the world of Harry Potter have darkened further in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth installment of the wildly popular movie franchise. Long gone is the baby-faced innocence our would-be wizards once had when they first entered Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There is now deep-seeded resentment among foes and burgeoning love between friends and classmates.

What one may not expect (I certainly did not), however, is that a great deal of the 153 minutes of celluloid dedicated to this film is derived from the exploration of said 16-year olds and their raging hormones. Don’t fret though, there is still that pesky Voldemort situation going on as well.

As it goes, Mr. Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is back in the thick of things as school headmaster Dumbledore (Michael Gambon ) has discovered that to defeat “He Who Shall Not Be Named”, the various objects encapsulating portions of Voldemort’s soul must first be destroyed. One in particular, is difficult to obtain and, as par for course, Potter is enlisted to help.

The battle to retrieve this object and the subsequent “shocker” are pretty much the highlights of the film and the only “real” bridge connecting Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to the fantastical fantasy world the film is supposed to be a part of. These portions of the film are good no doubt – intense levels of magic are employed and a fair share of ghoulies comes forth – but other than that the film drowns in set pieces unrelated to anything of worth. Let’s see, there is a good 15 minutes or so dedicated to a Quidditch match, a great many individual scenes of toiling between Harry and Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) as Harry tries to get the professor to admit to something he’s done in the past, and even more footsies between Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) than I care to see or imagine (all the while, too little of Emma is showcased for my liking).

But, while the film is light on action, it does give the opportunity to further develop some of the characters we’ve grown to know all these years. Harry continues his maturation and in this installment, he fully embraces the path laid out before him – personal safety, be damned. Daniel Radcliffe couldn’t portray the more serious Potter better than he does. As for Ron, well, let’s just say he is slightly less whiny than he’s been in the past. But who would have guessed, he’s become quite the ladies man! It’s a pleasant character development, even if the way alum Potter director David Yates captures it is a bit overdrawn. Hermione, as I mentioned, is sadly underused, being pushed to the side and used sparingly as a scorned and jealous lover. Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) on the other hand, finally gets to come out of the shadows and play a more crucial role to the proceedings. Whether or not he is good guy remains to be seen (I haven’t read the books the movies are based upon, so it’s all a mystery to me).

From my point of view, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is geared more towards the die-hard fans as it closes a few nagging open ends (although I’m told it misses quite a bit from the book). As for the rest of us, the movie is fun fantasy yarn but not as good as the predecessors it is built upon.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
3 Star Rating: Average


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)' have 4 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 6, 2009 @ 4:55 am Ed

    Your right about being for the harden fan, It sort of felt since I hadn’t read the book, I was missing out on something.

    The film was alright a bit of a filler in my mind. The scariest thing is seeeing how much they have all aged, makes me feel old.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 7, 2009 @ 7:13 am Gilbert

    I love watching harry potter series. Though I didn’t have the chance to read all the 7 books. Looking forward to the showing of this movie in our place.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 30, 2009 @ 7:56 am Paola

    I’ve read all 7 books and the first 5 films were ok, they followed the books pretty good, but the 6th one……. there are so many things that were left out and others that were totally invented!!

    To begin with, what’s up with the scene of the hanging bridge!!! In the book it is only mentioned as written in the papers. Then the scene with the waitress…… pulled out of thin air.

    The kiss between Harry and Ginny, it was supposed to be after the quiddich game, when they were celebrating and it is Harry who kisses her, not the other way around and Ron sees them, but is totally cool with it.

    Then, dumbledore shows HP many more memories that are crucial in HP’s understanding of V for the 7th book.

    Plus, because it’s not over, Harry never drinks the whole “luck” potion. When him and Dumbledore are getting ready to go get the thing with V’s soul, he tells the former DA members to be vigilant, he had a feeling that draco might pull whatever he was planning that night.

    In the cave, harry knew what was in the water, and he knew he was supposed to use fire but forgets to do so. And Dumbledore saves them both (this is actually correct in the movie) But he does not recover, he’s still very sick and weakened by the time they make it to Hogsmeade (because they don’t go back to the school immediately)

    Then, when they are in the tower, HP does not hide, he was wearing his invisibility cloak and when they heard draco comming, D cast the immobility spell on him (because he knew HP would try to fight them in order to protect him, even if he had to die to do so, and D could not afford it). So, once D was dead, the spell was removed and HP followed them down the stairs to find Ron, Tonks, Bill and others fighting the death eaters. This battle is amazing in the book and should have been in the movie!! But none of them die, since they all drank the “luck” potion for that night. But Bill does get attacked by Grayback and is permanentely disfigurated. Oh and btw, Bill and Fleur De la Cour (HP 4) are engaged.

    Besides all this, I found their acting pretty bad, specially Daniel during the “emotional” scenes. The whole movie was too calm, dead, when the 6th and 7th books are the ones with most action!

    I pretty much hated the movie, was very disapointed. So for those of you who haven’t read the books, read them, you are missing out in a lot! The fear, love, sadness, joy…… you guys will experience it so much more!

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 9, 2012 @ 5:27 am Katelyn

    HARRY POTTER is absolutely fanotabulous. I love HARRY POTTER books and movies.

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