It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.
In the sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, and in both wizard and muggle worlds Lord Voldemort and his henchmen are increasingly active. With vacancies to fill at Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore persuades Horace Slughorn, back from retirement to become the potions teacher, while Professor Snape receives long awaited news. Harry Potter, together with Dumbledore, must face treacherous tasks to defeat his evil nemesis. Written by
(at around 8 mins) When Dumbledore first introduces Harry to Professor Slughorn, Slughorn's robe changes color more than once. However, this is due to the fluorescent lighting outside of Slughorn's home. See more »
Dark, funny, and not weighed down by too much exposition.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - A footnote: Funny thing about
Harry Potter reviews. If you peruse enough of them, you'll notice that
"lack of nit-picks" is a substitute for praise. Everyone comes from
different points of view when they go in to see these films. Some
people read the books, some haven't. Everyone has their favorites, or
hates the films in general. I have never experienced the films without
having read the books first so I cannot comment on how hard it is to
follow any of them. For some they are too long, for some not enough. I
have enjoyed all of the films to varying degrees all for different
reasons. David Yates continues from where he left Order of the Phoenix,
arguably the weakest of the seven books but one of the stronger films.
In the sixth Harry Potter, Harry works with Dumbledore to unlock a key
secret about Voldemort. To do this, Harry has to get close to Professor
Slughorn (played with aplomb by Jim Broadbent). What interested me most
about the way this is played out are the quiet similarities presented
between Harry and Tom Riddle. Dumbledore actively wants Harry to act
more like Tom in an attempt to defeat him. This enhances the idea
posited back in the 2nd film and book. The sub-plots surrounding this
are delightful. Quidditch has never been done so well. The Slug Party
is also delightful. Harry's fancying Ginny and Ron's troubles between
Lavender and Hermione round out the film. A small downside of this is
there is less room for some of the best talent in the UK, many of whom
merely supply the garnish on a good meal.
Michael Gambon is wonderful in this turn as the greatest wizard
Dumbledore. He just needed the screen time to shine. I hope this nails
the lid on the doubters. Alan Rickman plays Snape to perfection, much
as it would have been fun to see him momentarily lose his cool. Maggie
Smith and Robbie Coltrane have wonderful cameos. I seem to be the only
person that appreciates Daniel Radcliffe post-Equus. I think the young
man has really come into his own. Rupert Grint has also become a fine
comedic actor. Tom Felton slowly freaks the hell out as a young man
given an impossible task. My favorite little scene stealer is Evanna
Lynch as Luna Lovegood.
The film plays fast and loose with the source material, and, unlike
with Prisoner of Azkaban, the results are not disappointing. On the
contrary, this might be, next to Goblet of Fire, my favorite of the
films. Part of the reason this time is the film's atmosphere is so
appropriate, the characters so well acted and written, that it makes us
yearn for more of everything that IS in the film, not lament what was
cast aside. I can forgive plot simplification as film is a different
medium. I would not have made all the choices Yates has, but he nails
the beginning and end of the film, includes many touching character
moments, and the movie on the whole is FUNNY damnit! True Potter fans
should see that Yates has broken the letter to preserve the spirit of
One note from the Potter die-hard within the competent film critic: it
is disappointing to miss out on one crucial flashback that would have
given Ralph Fiennes a terribly awesome scene to do with Michael Gambon.
As for the rest. Potter-ites, Yates has this well in hand. Put aside
the canon-charts, and enjoy watching small variations on a story you
know and love. I know, given the choice, I prefer a story that pops to
life over one nailed down to a strict regiment of plot points and
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