FILM REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

Written by Mckay Stevens on . Posted in Film

With the latest wave of Pottermania now crashing over the world with the release of the series’ sixth film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we thought it would be appropriate for Rhombus to weigh in with its first ever movie review. Film writer Mckay Stevens shares his thoughts and insights on the flick below. As always, you are welcome (and encouraged) to give us your thoughts and opinions in the comment box at the bottom of the page. We look forward to reviewing more movies and having a continuing conversation with our readers in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy Mckay’s review below. — Steve Pierce, Editor

I’ve been preparing my thoughts carefully. I want to be extremely cautious on what I am about to say, because I’m afraid of sounding like I did not like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Visually, Half-Blood Prince is the most stunning of all the franchise’s previous films. Everything is intricately and delicately placed right where it needs to be. The special effects are some of the best I have ever seen.

Half-Blood Prince seems to contain much more humor than its predecessors, and for good reason: the kids are growing up and starting to take notice of the opposite sex. This area of the film is very exciting to watch. It seems like just a small taste of what the franchise faithful have been so anxious to see. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions, and I give credit not solely to the writers, but to the actors themselves. It is fascinating to watch the actors diving deeper into their characters as their characters dive deep into themselves.

The film’s acting is even more impressive than before. The “Big Three” are completely consumed in their roles and they make it nearly impossible to turn away from the screen while they are occupying it. Alan Rickman is outstanding (as usual) as Snape. Even though I think of the Sheriff of Nottingham every time I see him, it doesn’t matter because he’s just so cool.

Professor Slughorn (played by Jim Broadbent) is also a delightful addition to this film. He represents an essential part of the plot, but I enjoyed watching him for other reasons. He is a goofy old man falling off the edge of sanity and into the fathoms of senility, and he pulls it off with ease.

Viewers will finally find themselves free from the obnoxious bullying of Draco Malfoy in this chapter. Instead, he is granted more screen time, one-fifth the amount of lines and a deal-of-all-deals that will force him to face his biggest fears. Malfoy spends most of the movie alone and he succeeds in exploiting his inner dilemma, bringing it to the surface for the viewers to absorb.

I came to enjoy the acting of Daniel Radcliffe as the title character much more in this film. If you’ve already seen it (or read it), you’ll understand why. If not, let’s just say that Harry employs some bizarre methods for accomplishing his tasks and it’s just plain fun to watch.

The film’s story is both interesting and fun, but for some reason I found myself bored at certain points. Granted, this is possibly because I have never read the books and, therefore, my understanding and appreciation are limited. But I kept getting excited during the build-up of a big scene and then, before I knew it, the scene was over and I felt like nothing special had happened. It felt like there were a lot of people almost doing things throughout the whole movie — and then the movie was over.

But what I’ve realized in the hours since I saw the film is that it was a masterful setup for the two-part finale. The more I replay the movie in my head, the more I like it. There’s a lot of story to cover in two hours and thirty-three minutes, so there may not be as much action as you might expect from a Potter movie. It is a transition of both the characters and the whole story. Our favorite teenage wizards are maturing, getting romantic and realizing that great sacrifice will be necessary now more than ever before. The Dark Lord is expanding his kingdom and his legions, and his network will be too close for Hogwarts to remain a safehouse. The film appears to focus more on telling us what’s about to happen rather than what is happening right now.

And so, as nice as it was to watch the Olsen twins grow up on Full House, watching Harry, Hermione and Ron mature into their own powerful characters has been even more rewarding, with the greatest rewards beginning to present themselves in the hilarious and emotional Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Mckay Stevens is a film correspondent for Rhombus. He apparently enjoyed Full House more than most.

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