Sunday, November 20, 2016

Movie Review: "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" (2009)

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Movie"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"
Director: David Yates
Year: 2009
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2 hours, 33 minutes

Now that Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) return is out in the open, the Order of the Phoenix must prepare for the eventual battle. Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) has a special mission for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and wants him to befriend the new Potions master Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), who possesses something very important to Dumbledore and the resistance. 

David Yates returns to the director's chair for the sixth entry into the Harry Potter franchise, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." The film is once again written by Steve Kloves based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. Harry, Hermione, and Ron are back again, played by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. The three have returned to Hogwarts the next year despite their unfortunate terrible prior year with Dolores Umbridge. Tensions are high everywhere they go as Death Eater attacks across the wizarding world have set people on edge. Dumbledore, played by Michael Gambon, has been trying to find ways to combat Voldemort's followers. He needs something from an old friend named Horace Slughorn, played by Jim Broadbent, who has recently agreed to become the new Potions master at Hogwarts, a position he held many years prior. Horace has a bit of an ego and likes to boast of his connection to famous wizards. Dumbledore hopes this will allow Harry to get close to Horace and convince him to give Dumbledore the clue he needs.

Despite dropping back down to a PG rating, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is still another very dark and grim entry into the franchise. In fact, we're not entirely sure why it received a PG rating at all. Death Eaters begin to infiltrate every aspect of the wizarding world, including the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts itself. We can tell the light has gone from this universe as what use to be a bright and colorful palette of stunning visual magic is now all washed in hues of grey and blue, offering a much colder feeling for a much drearier, colder toned film. "Half-Blood Prince" really marks the beginning of the war between the Death Eaters and The Order of the Phoenix. Some secondary characters get more prominent roles, such as Tom Felton's Draco Malfoy and Alan Rickman's Severus Snape, who will both become key figures from here on out. We start to question who we, as well as Harry and his friends, can trust, and start to understand that no character is truly safe, not even at Hogwarts, not even Dumbledore himself.

This is a series that managed to never really falter, even after six installments. This is an impressive feat for any series, but especially so for a series based off of children's books. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is an entry that has relationships formed, others broken, and character arcs coming into full fruition. These films are not just visual spectacles, but are truly emotional pieces of cinema as well, written stunningly and beautifully shot. We can't wait to see what's next for Harry, Hermione, and Ron, even if it's not anything good.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 84%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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