Reel Shorts | Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

15 07 2009

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Under a dark cloud of mystery and impending doom, the sixth installment of the second best franchise in motion picture history, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” magically unfolds and establishes this film as the best in the legendary series.

For close to a decade, movie audience have thrilled at the exploits of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ronald Weasley (Rupert Grint) and this latest story by director David Yates brings stories together beautifully to create the quintessential (at least up to this point) Potter film. While past films have focused on the adolescent students and their exploits at Hogwarts, “The Half-Blood Prince” adopts a darker more sinister tone as Potter inches closer to fulfilling his destiny as “the chosen one.”

From the opening scene, you can tell that there’s going to be plenty of unrest at Hogwarts. A mysterious group, the Death Eaters, are wreaking havoc all over London, Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) requests Harry’s help to bring an old instructor, Professor Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) back to Hogwarts, there are issues of mistrust and loyalty – and the students hormones are truly raging.

As the students comeback for another year at their magical school, Potter and his arch-rival, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) are once again at odds. While maintaining a suspicious gaze on Malfoy, Potter has an additional assignment from headmaster Professor Dumbledore. He engages the young wizard to let recently returned Professor Slughorn into his confidence to obtain some information that could mean life or death for the future of those in the light. The Professor of Potion takes an immediate shine to his new prize pupil who masters his class with the help of an old potion book that once belonged to the Half-Blood Prince.

While Potter is working with Dumbledore trying to solve one mystery, his best friends are embroiled in war of passion among the Hogwarts student body. On the front lines is Ron who can’t decipher Hermoine’s feelings for him and entertains an overly affectionate classmate, which leads to him breaking his best friend’s heart. In one climatic scene, even Professor Dumbledore exclaims, “Ah, to be young and and feel love’s keen sting!”

Opposing forces butt heads with one another and loyalties are questioned especially among Hogwarts’ professors Snape (Alan Rickman) and Slughorn. As usual, the film benefits from top-notch supporting performances from Helena Bonham Carter, Broadbent and the fantastically wicked turn by Rickman.

Much like last year’s fantasy favorite, “The Dark Knight,” “The Half-Blood Prince” slowly builds to a satisfying climax resulting in heartache, fear but ultimately hope. Featuring a hauntingly beautiful score by Nicholas Hooper and superb mood-setting photography by Bruno Delbonnel coupled with Steve Kloves’ screenplay, “The Half-Blood Prince” perfectly bridges this story with previous outings and sets the stage for the final confrontation and well-deserved climax of extraordinary series of films.

It almost seems criminal that audiences will have to wait another year and half for the series climax but if history is any indication the end promises to be as satisfying as one of Ron Weasley’s tasty treats!

Grade: A

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One response

16 07 2009
Jahmal Harrell

“Satisfying climax”! I have to assume you didn’t read the book. This movie suffers from the worst case of revisionist’s history in the series. Very subtle hints were sprinkled throughout the book that sets up “The Deathly Hallows”. The death of Dumbledore seemed like an afterthought. (Sigh) Steve Kloves and David Yates really missed the mark with this ending. B+

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