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Review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Back and Darker Than Ever

From the moment the opening credits start to roll and we hear that telltale theme song, there's one thing that’s very clear about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: this is not the bright, shiny Hogwarts we came to know back in the first movie.

For one thing, the wizard world has been turned on its head by the Dark Lord and his followers, and now everyone knows it. The Death Eaters have been wreaking havoc, and the chaos has gotten so out of hand that it's even affecting the Muggle (nonwizarding world). To see what else you can expect, just


The movie picks up right where The Order of the Phoenix left off. Harry’s godfather is dead, and he finds himself lonely, confused, and angry as he heads back to Hogwarts during a time of crisis. As usual, he finds solace in his friendships with Dumbledore, Ron, and Hermione, but Harry's relationships and loyalties are about to be tested in ways he never imagined.


The film wastes no time pulling you right into the action, twisting and turning right along with the most evil of wizards as we watch the mania spread. While losing yourself in the magic world is what makes these movies so special, I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of Harry’s realm with a few shots of London’s most famous landmarks. The visual effects don't stop there, and the audience stays immersed in fantasy throughout the film. The cinematography is, in a word, dazzling.

When he gets to school, Harry's duties as "The Chosen One" weigh heavily on him. He and Dumbledore are trying to unravel Lord Voldemort’s mysteries, and Harry finds himself tracking his arch nemesis Draco Malfoy in his free time. On the other hand, Harry's role as a student comes with its own set of responsibilities — picking a Quidditch team, dealing with new professors, and playing mediator between Ron and Hermione. As far as classes are concerned, Harry finds help from "The Half-Blood Prince," whose old, heavily annotated Potions book sends Harry to the top of the class.

The comic relief of the film lies in the fact that the kids aren't exactly kids anymore. They’re growing up. They’ve got raging hormones. Their soapy, teenage world is a refreshing break from movie's heavy overtones. We can all relate to Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s angst and jealousy, plus everyone loves to see a little snogging. The chemistry between the characters is heating up, and the children we've watched all these years have emerged as solid actors.

I feel obligated to mention one thing, especially for families and kids: the movie is kind of scary. Along with the stunning visuals, there are a few scenes that get a bit graphic as the dark magic gets more intense. Though I knew what was coming I still had goosebumps and found myself jumping out of my seat — and I could see certain parts being a bit much for Harry's pint-sized fans.

The bottom line: The Half Blood Prince packs exactly the right amount of action, effects, and laughs — though it's definitely not my new favorite Potter movie. At two and a half hours it’s a lengthy journey, but at the end of it all you're left feeling more ready than ever for the epic two-movie finale.

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.

juliarose23 juliarose23 8 years
i totally agree with you, i thought the movie was scary at some parts even though i knew it was coming! why was this rated PG?
mguy414 mguy414 8 years
I agree with everyone saying that re-reading the book before seeing the movie was a bad idea. It made me miss the little things that the book has and the movie can't provide without boring us to death and being 5 hours long! My main gripe, which I realize after I posted (and I think I may have posted somewhere else, but can't really remember) was when Dumbledore was explaining to Harry about the Horcruxes and said that they "could be even the most commonplace of objects." Yes, it is a little detail, but it bothers me even 3 days after seeing the movie. I almost jumped up and screamed at the screen in the theater. It was important for Harry to see the Hepzibah Smith memory because it helps him on the search for Horcruxes. Otherwise, as just a movie viewer, I would assume he's about to journey the entire world (?) for any sort of object that may or may not contain part of Voldemort's soul. Had we seen the Hepzibah memory, we would know more of what he is looking for. There were things I liked about the movie though, I promise! Draco Malfoy was more than I ever could have imagined and Tom Felton did an amazing job. I cannot wait to see how he handles Deathly Hallows....that's going to be almost as good! I also liked Slughorn. But I was so disappointed he didn't get to say "To Parry Otter, the Chosen Boy Who Lived!" because I had been calling it Parry Otter all night long. I just really liked that line in the book :) And I did like some of the comedic, romantic angles of the movie. It reminds us all that they are still just teenagers, and they are still going to be teenagers even with all the crazy stuff happening in their world. Rivrchild- I just think it makes it weird, maybe even jumpy for us to get into Deathly Hallows and be like "oh hey, btw, your godfather who has been dead for over a year left you a house. And Dumbledore left y'all a bunch of stuff too, given to you by a Minister of Magic who has been around for a year, but not introduced yet." But I've read all the books at least 10 times and am apparently very picky! And, sorry to say, but I thought the wand raising thing was kind of silly. I liked that the light shone through the Dark Mark, but it seemed like they all just...accepted Dumbledore's death. Personally, I would have liked more shock and awe, more students going "What? No! He's the greatest wizard ever! He can't die!" Things like that. Alas, I am not the only moviegoer in the world and it was not Yates' job to please just me! The movie will grow on me more, I am just being nitpicky right now. And I too like the Tonks/Lupin relationship.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
I loved the movie. My sister saw it Wednesday and called me that night to "warn" me how disappointed I would be. So I went into it with low expectations and was very pleasantly surprised. I think they picked out the most important parts of book six and focused on those. The development of Draco Malfoy was huge in book six and also in this movie. I also think the introduction of Voldemort as a boy was important in the book, and though it did not get huge play time in the movie, I think what did make it was sufficient and well done. I also loved the development of the three main characters as normal teenagers. This is the only book where these three, especially Harry, get a chance to enjoy some carefree fun and hold down relationships before all hell breaks loose. I thought this played out beautifully on screen. The sixth book was also the most humurous, which also played out beautifully on screen. Huge fans of the book, such as myself, will always feel somewhat short changed by the movies. The books have so much character development and plot twists that it would be impossible to capture without making a ten hour movie and honestly some things just don't translate well on to the screen. I was pleased with this movie and can't wait until the next.
rivrchild rivrchild 8 years
I loved the movie. I think the best choice I made was to NOT re-read the book right before. More often than not, instead of saying to myself "Wait that's not how happened in the book!" I instead found myself thinking "Oh, wow I totally forgot about that!" And I was able to enjoy the movie for what it was - a re-telling. I like what someone else pointed out - the important thing is that they stay true to the character and story development, which I think they did here very well. I totally disagree with whoever thought the Trio gave bad performances. I thought they were the best they've ever been! Emma Watson is superb, she's really good with the teen-angst emotion. I love the scene between her and Harry when she asks him "What does it feel like when you see Ginny with Dean?" Radcliffe has a really good comic side that we've never seen until now. The scene with Slughorn-Hagrid when he takes the Felix Felicis - hilarious and heartbreaking, such a hard combination to pull off. Which of course brings me to Slughorn who was wonderful. He brought so much more to this role than I expected. He was not entirely unsavory character, I really felt sorry for him, especially right before he finally gives the real memory to Harry. I like that they put Tonks and Lupin together in a scene and alluded to them being close. Bookbird - I had no problem w/ the attack on the burrow. I think Heyman said they wanted to break up the monotony of the happy-go-lucky feel in that part of the movie. Instead of Arthur just telling Harry that they are being watched, it's not just empty words then, the threat is real. I think it was a good idea to show the DE being more of a real threat. No, the DE didn't have an actual agenda/motive for attacking, but they don't have to - they are DE after all. They were just doing it to terrorize. Bellatrix is the epitome of this - she is a tease, she does it for fun. I think having Harry be petrified under the invisibility cloak as it happened in the book might have been difficult to understand in a film. Not that we've never seen harry under the cloak before, but this way it tests his trust in Dumbledore to do as he asks and not interfere. Also, his last bit of interaction with Snape just before snape goes up to do the deed, this is the audience's last bit of hope that Snape is good, and Harry's as well. I think it adds to the shock, at least from Harry's pov. mguy - the Trio can still go back to Grimmauld Place, I dont' see this being something they can't easily write in. Also I have a feeling they might do a wedding between Lupin and Tonks instead. they hinted at a relationship b/w these two in HBP movie. Although, Clemence Posey is supposed to be back for her role as Fleur so perhaps they will have the Fleur/Bill wedding after all? There have been pics of them filming what looks to be the "fleeing the wedding" scenes - Harry and Ron are in suits, Hermione in red dress, so I don't know what else it would be and Mugglenet is referring to them as "wedding scene photos." As for not having Dumbledore's funeral, I didn't miss it. I think it was much more powerful that long still shot of the empty Great Hall - showing his absence, the empty silence, and the way the students all raised their wands over his body, this was far more powerful than any funeral scene could have been IMO. And ending on Fawkes flying away was in a word, perfect. I'm so glad they didn't leave that out.
bookbird bookbird 8 years
As a movie, it was great - stunning visuals, above-par acting from the entire cast, and the right amount of levity to balance out the despair. As a book adaptation, it was sub-standard and I was extremely disappointed. Scenes that were emotionally gripping in the book - the cave, Harry & Ginny's first kiss, Dumbledore's death - were blink and you'll miss 'em onscreen. My major gripe with book-to-film adaptations is not cutting scenes - I understand that, even though I may not always like it - but adding scenes. The burning of the Burrow was pointless to me. Many of the changes that were made didn't make sense to me, because they didn't make the movie shorter. Harry hiding while Dumbledore is being killed? How hard would it have been to have him be petrified? Snape simply sneering at Harry instead of screaming at him like he did in the novel? Wouldn't have taken any more time. Skipping the Quidditch afterparty where Harry and Ginny kiss for the first time? Cut out some of the Lavender-Ron action and you've got room. I have a lot of gripes, can you tell? :)
mguy414 mguy414 8 years
(I'm not really anonymous, I have an account but don't feel like logging in right now!) I think I will have to see this movie again to appreciate the bones of the movie- the cinematography, the effects, the music, etc...because right now I'm just not happy with everything they left out. I went into it knowing it would be more romantical than the other ones and knowing it is not going to be EXACTLY like the book, but I feel as though they left out a TON of very important stuff. I needed that interaction between Scrimgeour and Harry, because what happens with Scrimgeour in book 7 is shows how many people are protecting Harry. Dumbledore didn't tell Harry about Sirius leaving him Grimmauld Place, so where are they going to go after the wedding that I assume is not going to happen as we saw none of Bill and Fleur? And we needed that scence with Mundungus stealing Sirius' stuff so Harry can find the real Horcrux!! I hated that scene at the Burrow, it was completely pointless. Though I think it would show those who watch the movies and don't read the books just how much the Weasleys sacrifice for Harry. I feel like they could have cut that out and spent more time on Harry looking at the memories (where is Hepzibah Smith? She has two dang Horcruxes!) and the getting the Horcrux scene with Dumbledore. Personally, I think they could have included the battle scene, because Deathly Hallows is going to be split into 2 parts and released at different times, so I could handle seeing two battles. But they definitely should have put Dumbledore's funeral in HBP. I cried hysterically when Sirius died...I still do after seeing OOTP at least 5 times, but when Dumbledore died? I was like "hmm yeah okay" and felt that if I had seen the funeral, I would have felt more for Dumbledore. I will probably like it more after I see it a few more times!
drvfnd drvfnd 8 years
I wish I had not re-read the book over the weekend! Maybe then I would not have been so disappointed with the movie. I understand the need to leave out some things from the book, but adding things NOT in the book is unacceptable to me! Burning the Burrow? And I don't remember in the book that Felix Felicis made Harry act like he'd just done a couple of lines or smoked a fat one. It just made him "lucky"! The movie was visually stunning and I think Rupert Grint did a great job as Ron this time. Maybe I'll go back and see it again in a couple of weeks when the book is not so fresh in my mind.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I saw the movie at 12:05 this morning and I thought it very entertaining, but it definitely wasn't my favorite HP movie. I realize that the movies can't include everything from the books, but I wish they hadn't added certain scenes or removed specific elements from the book - ***SPOILER ALERT*** for instance, the scene where Bellatrix and Fenrir destroy the Burrow at Christmastime was just pointless, and I also thought they should have been a little more subtle with the Harry/Ginny storyline. I wasn't too upset that they left out the final battle because I knew it would be repetitive with the next movie having similar sequences. I think the final scene of Half-Blood Prince should have taken place at Dumbledore's funeral but hopefully it will be included in the beginning of the next film as caty1221 said.
caty1221 caty1221 8 years
David did an interview and explained why he left out the huge fight at hogwarts and dumbledore's funeral. He said he left out the battle because of the battle at hogwarts that takes place at the end of the 7th book.. he said it would be redundant to have two huge fights at hogwarts. He also said that there is a chance the dumbledore's funeral will be added to the beginning of the 7th movie part 1. I still loved. Again, you have to seperate the books from the movies.. no one will ever be pleased if they can't do that.
nessa17 nessa17 8 years
I saw the movie and I thought it was great especially the visual effects. The movie was very funny as well but the end felt like it was lacking something. I expected more action towards the end and to see more battle between the students and the Death Eaters but that didnt really happen. But, overall it was a great movie and I want to see it again.
catstarr catstarr 8 years
I loved the movie. there were some puzzling parts to me (was there really a fire at the burrow? what is harry doing with the trains?where was the prime minister?) but i haven't read the book in so long that the inconsistencies didn't bother me as much. It did a good job of not feeling terribly rushed like previous films have, but I still wish there was time for everything. Especially Tonks. Where was tonks? I am upset because they all said we'd get a deeper look into tom riddles past and there just wasnt enough of it. Finding out about his parents, his quest for a job at hogwarts, his obsession with the historical pieces... all very important pieces of information and yet completely left out.
Kazagirl Kazagirl 8 years
I thought the movie was just ok. I love the comedy relief and the scene where Harry and Dumbledore go to retrieve the locket. I felt that they left out a lot of details that would have made the plot more interesting. For example the movie was called the Half Blood Prince but they barely went into detail about Snape being the Half Blood Prince. I also felt that it hurt the plot line by them not mentioning how Snape was suspicious about Harry excelling in potions class. They completely left out the scene in the lavatory where Snape demanded Harry bring him his potions book. I get that they can't include everything in the movies but I felt they changed a bit too much for me in this movie. The Half Blood Prince is my favorite book in the series and least favorite movie so far.
caty1221 caty1221 8 years
I read somewhere that they will be adding Dumbledore's funeral to the beginning of the 7th movie part 1. I'm not exactly sure why they left it out but overall I really enjoyed the movie. My brother and boyfriend who have never read Harry Potter, really enjoyed the movie as well and that's saying something. I'm glad I didn't reread the book because I believe I would have been more disappointed with the things they out... but I try to watch book adaptations as a separate entity from the books... the books are the books and the movies are the movies. I love the books for what they are and I love the movies for the pleasure of seeing such a great story played out on screen.
oohsexypenguin oohsexypenguin 8 years
If the movie were stand-alone (not part of a franchise), I would love it. As it is, I feel rather... blah, about it. I agree that the screenwriter and director took way too many liberties - while some of the changes they made were ok, I felt that they left out a lot of the details that made the book so fantastic. Personally I would have loved to see more of Snape as the DADA teacher (seriously, guys? Why leave that out when he's been gunning for that position for so many years??). I wanted to see more of Voldemort's past (the house of Gaunt, more emphasis on his being a half-blood, etc.). And what the hell happened to the Dursleys? This was the first time we didn't see them at all! And don't even get me started on Dumbledore's funeral. They DEFINITELY made a mistake not putting that in the film. Beautiful cinematography, great chemistry among the cast, but I just can't be happy with a movie that differs so much from the books.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
tara, you TOTALLY hit the nail on the head! I have a feeling that hard core fans might be disappointed by not being completely faithful to the book (which is why I've stopped reading the book before going to see the movie). I wish I didn't re read the book RIGHT before the movie - I think I would have been more entertained !
runningesq runningesq 8 years
I feel like I'm the only one in the world who felt... meh. Yes, the movie was beautifully done, but it took so many liberties that I felt it strayed too far from the book. I wish the movie had delved more into Tom Riddle's family -- the house of Gaunt, Morfin, etc. -- but I understand the time restrictions. also hated that they cut out the assault on Howgarts at the end. LOVED Bellatrix - she's a great character!
tarabara1229 tarabara1229 8 years
esanderc- I actually felt the movie portrayed Ginny and Harry's relationship well. No offense to JKR, but I thought she did a horrible job fleshing out their relationship. *SPOILER ALERT* I do wish they showed Dumbledore's funeral in addition to the last battle scene *END SPOILER ALERT*, but I think overall it was a great movie. In fact, I think this movie does a great job at entertaining non-HP fans. My boyfriend loved the movie and is now starting to read the books. I have a feeling that hard core fans might be disappointed by not being completely faithful to the book (which is why I've stopped reading the book before going to see the movie), but honestly, it's in the studio's best interest to give the movies mass appeal. And for whatever reason, people tend to cry foul over Harry Potter more than any other series (like Lord of the Rings). Oh well, you can't win 'em all.
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