Running Time: 2 hr. 33 min.
Release Date: July 15th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG for scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality.
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
Directed by: David Yates
JJ Rating: A+
Voldermort is controlling things from out of sight, but he is not out of mind. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) realizes there’s something afoot and Hogwarts isn’t as safe as it use to be. Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) concentrates on preparing Harry for the final battle. Emotions run high due to who loves who. It’s much more than another year at Hogwarts. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Yes an A+ is emphatically high. To me an A+ does not indicate perfection or that the movie is immaculate. Even in an A+ film there are flaws, it’s just that the flaws that are in the film are not necessarily noticeable enough to make a big deal over. Meaning those that do give A+ to films or 10’s or five out of five stars are not perfectionist or nitpicky. Always have to make fun of someone’s ridged thinking that keeps them from being fun. Enjoy a film and pat it on the back. Some deserve it.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is my favorite out of the entire series, thus far. Why? The extraordinary acting by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint is unmistakable. Watching the film I could not think of what I was seeing as acting as much as me being a fly on the wall of this sensational story that was unfolding before my very eyes. They have such a strong bond that their chemistry permeates the theater like the sweet, comforting smell of baked cookies. All of this is a combination of the previous films. With these (including everyone else) characters so well established there was no need to have long periods of drama to play on emotion or set up to get one to laugh. This film banks on people having seen the others. It doesn’t bother with trying to tell you about the characters any more, but assumes (and rightly so) that those who decided to see it would be very familiar with everyone.
Speaking of well established characters, one of my favorites is Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch). She is so eccentric. I find her very fascinating. Her appearance, as well as her words, brings a lighthearted feel to every scene she is in. Lynch does a great job of displaying aloofness and an odd sense of care to Luna. Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) has a silent and deadly role in this film. Felton has such a painful expression on his face for the mass majority of this film that it is wonder that his face didn’t stick like that as all our mothers warn us of such a consequence. His peek emotional moment is at the end with his face off with Dumbledore. He’s very good. Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) is a genital giant. Coltrane is subtle and sweet and yet powerful like thunder. Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) is the new potions professor. Broadbent shows a range of emotion throughout the entire film and mainly through his expression filled face. Painful and regretful are his feelings that beam so radiantly from his features. Frank Dillane plays Tom Riddle with creepiness that reeks of darkness. His face with a flashlight underneath would be great to tell scary stories by the campfire. He’s good for the small amount of time he had. Dumbledore commands attention by name alone but Gambon commands attention by look alone. He moves slowly but his words and his facial expressions are precise and stabbing when it is right time to be so. Bellatrix Lestrange the most obnoxious bad guy to be formed in Potterland is played by the talented Helena Bonham Carter. She needs to get her comeuppance because that is storybook justice. God she’s good. And finally Professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) is seemingly dark and devious. Rickman accents his lines with words spaced out as if to have the listener hang on every word because they are so important even though they are dripping with condescension and sarcasm. But his eyes are full of protection and determination to do what needs to be done…so much heart hidden in under a seemingly hypocritical façade.
My favorite scenes span the entire film, but if I am to share a few without divulging too much the following would be the ones:
First is when Hagrid, Horace Slughorn, and Harry Potter are all in the same scene. It starts off funny with weird gestures by Potter, a bizarre request by Slughorn and a bewildered Hagrid. Then it moves into Hagrid’s home where they drink and talk and share stories. The humor sticks around awhile longer but leaves once Hagrid is done and Slughorn explains the fish bowl. It’s so simple and so beautifully acted as well as shot by the great director David Yates.
Second is the Quidditch match where Ron is nervous and Harry helps. The match itself was entertaining with Hermione rolling her eyes this way and that. Not to mention Luna’s gear that is not shocking because everyone is use to her, it’s just amusing their non-reaction to her as well as how she looks.
Third is Ron’s reaction to chocolates he eats off of Harry’s bed without asking. His infatuation for a certain someone grows to the extent that it becomes uncomfortably comical and one of the better moments in the entire film.
There is a lot of relationship play going on between so many characters. Of course the bulk of the emotion is because Hermione drops hint after hint after hint that she likes Ron and Ron doesn’t pick up on a single one, which, as always, leads to a heartbroken female and a ton of volcanic emotion aimed at the male for doing so unwittingly. I think the script and the direction were handled carefully all the characters’ relationships. They were not boring or drawn out in any fashion. What I really like about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the drama-comedy hybrid that was created. One minute things are funny and the next it’s depressing. It’s a rollercoaster of human emotions and it’s not at all jarring or annoying. It’s smooth and reasonable.
The look of everything in this film is beautiful. There’s so much darkness that surrounds everything because of the theme that is presented and yet it has an amazingly comforting look about it. It was all pleasing to the eyes. Great sets, great locations and great eye candy CGI work.Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was a full blooded movie experience that totally decimates the disappointments of the summer into total oblivion and shouts “THIS is how a movie is made” and who will take heed? Sadly no one. But it is most awesome that I got to experience it and I would defiantly see it again in the theater. Nothing but pleasant thoughts dance in my head when I think back about this movie. A smart critic stated that this could get an Oscar nod and I’m going to have to agree that it’s very possible it could be up for Best Picture…or get snubbed like The Dark Knight and DoubtOh Academy why do you forsake me?