Movie Review: Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Jim Broadbent) 2009)

Posted: November 12, 2012 in Drama
Tags: ,

Harry Potter(Radcliffe) is  back for year number 6 at Hogwarts, but things are not as carefree as they’ve always been.  Voldemort is very much alive and terrorizing London, and people at Hogwarts are very much taking sides.  There is a plot afoot to kill professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) inspired by Waldemort and set in motion by Draco Malfoy (Tom Fenton).   Professor Snape  (Alan Rickman) has taken a secret oath to protect Draco, and to follow through with Dumbledore’s assassination if Draco doesn’t do it.

Dumbledore hires a potions teacher, Horace Slughorn, (Jim Broadbent) who has taught at Hogwarts before, was hired because he taught a young Tom Riddle (Frank Dillane) the boy who turned into Voldemort.  Slughorn has altered his own memory to hide a secret about Riddle/Voldemort?  Can Dumbledore find the secret about Riddle?  Does Malfoy or Snape follow through on their assassination attempt on Dumbledore?

At its best this movie is engaging, imaginative and yes scary.  Especially scary is Helena Bonham Carter as Beatrix Lestrange.  She’s got a screw loose, and she enjoys killing people. Bonham Carter clearly revels at playing such a nasty role, and she’s good at it.  Frank Dillane is creepy as the young Tom Riddle, so serious, yet so evil, nicely underplayed by Frank Dillane.

But at its worst, this movie is a clunky, bloated at times silly movie.  My advice to the makers of this movie is to cut out the romance, which plays like a bad Harlequin romance.  There is no romantic continuity between the movies, first it seems like Harry is interested in Cho, then it’s hinted that something might happen between Harry and Luna, now it’s Harry and Ron’s sister Ginny.  A romance has to be built up over time, I’m sure the books go into more detail, but the movies make it seem like Hurry’s interested in a different girl every year.  And this movie creates a love triangle for Ron, and I really didn’t believe that Hermione gave a damn, because there is no chemistry between Grint and Watson.  Also cut out the quidditch scenes, I think everyone’s outgrown those, especially those kids who’ve seen all the movies.

Finally, the climactic scene seems oddly disjointed, with Harry in the cellar looking up at Malfoy Dumbledore and Snape.  Don’t the moviemakers or the author want to show Harry as actively trying to stop the murder of his mentor?  Harry seems awfully passive in this movie, almost cowering in the cellar.  If he is the Chosen One, (and by the way who chose him), shouldn’t Harry be fighting for the forces of good?  The forces of darkness are sure fighting him. He puts up a token fight later, but that hardly seems heroic.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince:  Half Hearted.

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