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137 out of 184 people found the following review useful:
Great cinematography, consistency weak, 16 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My favorite part of the novel Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince, which was probably my favorite novel in the series, was all of the subplots. We had the drama behind the Minister Magic and relations with the Muggle government. We had the quite humorous interactions between Dumbledore and the Dursleys. We had the whole memory of Voldemort's family - really quite crucial to the seventh book - and the memories of Voldemort finding the other Hogwarts founder items to use as Horcruxes. We had Bill and Fleur's relationship. We had Tonks's depression and patronus change, which led to Tonks and Remus's relationship. We had lots of interaction and conflict between Harry's house elves. We have Snape's constant suspicion of Harry. We have the complications with Madame Rosmerta. And we had so much in the end - Harry being trapped under the Invisibility Cloak during Dumbledore's death, an entire battle at Hogwarts, and Dumbledore's elaborate and meaningful funeral.

All of that was completely and entirely omitted from the movie.

What we do have is a weak plot involving an old Potions textbook that is featured about two times before Harry's friends convince him to do away with the book. Snape never punishes Harry, only reveals his identity in a brief scene at the end. The Order of the Phoenix is not mentioned at all throughout the entire movie, and neither is Grimmauld. We have a nearly sickening amount of teenage hormonal relationships - while some moments like harry comforting Hermione and Ron whispering Hermione's name in the hospital wing were well done, the growing relationship between Ginny and Harry was awkwardly portrayed. Additionally, they cut out the entire end scene - battle and all. One would think that a battle scene would attract even more moviegoers to the film, and the battle provided filmmakers a chance to show minor characters who weren't heavily featured. No, the movie ends with a weak scene showing the three main characters in a tower talking about next year. The same amount of foreshadowing could have been done within canon - Harry telling Ginny that they couldn't see each other anymore at Dumbeldore's funeral. But that certainly didn't happen.

Oh, and do you remember the Burrow burning down? No? Well, it happens. It's a great scene, actually, very well done, but not remotely canon. The Burrow is integral to the plot of the seventh book. Let's see how they pull that one off.

Actually, they seem to have been pretty obsessed with fire in this film. Hagrid's hut burns down as well.

The cinematography, though, was excellent. One of my favorite scenes showed Harry walking up a staircase and Draco walking up a parallel staircase in the background. The lighting is effective, the various focus effects are absolutely magnificent, and the soundtrack, as always, is excellent. The film is a visual pleasure - perhaps lacking in action, but it is one of those films that one could watch several times extracting details from the masterful sets.