Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
How does one plan an attack against the most evil wizard of all time? Learn about his past of course. This is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. A winding tale of mystery, deception, and love.
Back again to the magical world of Hogwarts and all of wizard kind. At this point, this world and many of its characters are very familiar. And, yet again, this is a film that feels like its a contemporary rom-com (unfortunately) set in a slightly fantastical setting. The few gloomy tones in the flick are counterbalanced, quite nicely, by somme welcome and effective comedic elements. Setting a slightly more upbeat mood, this film doesn’t look as dark as, certainly, the previous two did. Colors a bit brighter and saturated but the whole film has a hazy filtered look to it. Although the opening scene establishes the threat out there, that feeling of ever lurking doom does not stay throughout the film. And although some key elements don’t quite translate to the film, there are some very nice nods back to the earlier films (i.e. years 1 and 2) that are subtlety done but are enjoyable.
As per usual at this point. With a new film, new characters come along with it. This time we have Jim Broadbent playing Professor Slughorn. He brings a fun, humorous presence to the grim surroundings of the film. But there’s also a very touching and serious scene he shares with Harry. The Three kids have a slightly uneven flow with each other at some points. It feels almost as if they have to work at the chemistry that should be natural at this point and that they’ve in fact had before. Alan Rickman has only a handful of scenes in this picture but, as he always does, he hits them out of the park every time. He’s especially on point in his first scene of the film. And it has taken a while, but Tom Felton finally gets to bring the goods with his portrayal of Draco Malfoy. His final scene here is what his character arc has been building toward for the past five years of Hogwarts.
The visual scope of Half-Blood prince is probably the biggest the series has seen this far. The effects across the boards have taken a large step forward. The Qudditch scenes finally look fun and exciting. Going in and out of the pensive uses a new and very interesting visual effect. There is an additional scene that’s not from the books, but it works well and adds a bit of gripping tension to the flick. But while there may be some ham-fisted scenes throughout (especially that book hiding scene) the climax of the film reaches an impressive level of epicness that hints at what’s to come.