Movie Name: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Studio: Heyday Films
Release Date(s): July 6, 2009 (Premiere)/July 15, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Voldermort and his Death Eaters have the Wizarding World living in fear and even the Muggles are noticing that something is wrong. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) recruit Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) to teach at Hogwarts in an attempt to root out what Slughorn knows about Tom Riddle’s past before he became Voldemort. As Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) find themselves dealing with love, Dumbledore is discovering how Voldermort has managed to survive his “death”. Plus, Snapes (Alan Rickman) makes a bargain to protect Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) that could be his downfall.
Directed by David Yates, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince adapts the 2005 novel by J.K. Rowling. The sixth film in the series follows Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2007. The film was a record breaker and a positive response from critics. The film was nominated for Best Cinematography.
The last few Harry Potter books had a problem. The story itself was starting to unravel a bit as Rowling was changing the format of the series. It no longer was just Harry and his friends going to school and having an adventure. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood has the advantage of being closer to the storyline that was enjoyable in the first few books and (despite the ending) a bit light-hearted in comparison to the previous film.
Most of the Harry Potter films are tight, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince continues that string of filmmaking since it has to tell so much story in a relatively short time. This film spent a lot of time on teen romance. It was a pleasant change from the other stories and covered grounds in the relationships that needed to be established by the end of the series without being much of a distraction to the main plot. It is also interesting to see the Muggles are starting to see the effects of the Wizard World war with the destruction of the bridge over the Thames at the beginning of the film. The story also establishes the Horcruxes storyline that will guide the series.
The series lucked out on casting decent actors when they were young. This is a good film for Daniel Radcliffe in that he doesn’t have to mope around as much as he did in previous entries. The kids for most of the movie seem to be having fun falling in love. This creates a lot of melodrama between Radcliffe, Bonnie Wright (Ginny), Emma Watson (Hermione), Rupert Grint (Ron), and the other students…which you could argue has been missing from the series since they are moody teens. I do think Jim Broadbent is one of the weaker “fill-in” teachers of the series because he plays it too goofy for the darkness of the overall storyline.
The movie still looks great. The early Christopher Columbus entries in the series really played up the fantasy and didn’t feel “real”. The world created in the films since Christopher Columbus left does have much more feeling and substance to it. Hogwarts could be a real place.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince despite the lightness also feels more dangerous. The series is winding down and after the death of Sirius Black in the previous film, it feels like anything can go. The movie is followed by the adaption of the final book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which (unfortunately) was split into two parts Harry Potter and the Death Hallows—Part 1 was released in 2010 with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2 released in 2011.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)