Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (12A)
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Helena Bonham Carter
Running Time: 154 minutes
Director: David Yates
Before I start this review, I’d just like to say that there are going to be a few major spoilers in here if you haven’t read the book.
The plot of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in a nutshell is that Harry returns to Hogwarts and finds himself working closely with Dumbledore to try and find a weakness of Voldemort’s. A new professor, Professor Slughorn, holds the key to a very important memory that Dumbledore asks Harry to retrieve from Slughorn. Malfoy has been given a very important task by the Dark Lord himself and if he fails, Voldemort will kill Malfoy and his family.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince should have been released last November, but Warner Bros. decided it would be better if they put the release date back by 8 months. Was it worth the extra wait? Yes and no!!
The reason I say this is because I really enjoyed the film and thought it was the best of the series so far, until Harry and Dumbledore got back to the astronomy tower after going to the cave to find a Horcrux.
Steve Kloves who wrote the screenplay for The Half Blood Prince, seemed to have included a lot of the book into the film which I was quite impressed with. But two of the most important chapters of the book, which you would have thought would have been a definite to appear in the film, were cut, which left me fuming as I walked out of the cinema.
The scenes that were cut were the fight between the Death Eaters and the Order in Hogwarts, before and after Dumbledores death, and Dumbledore’s funeral. I won’t go into a rant because this review would be about 5000 words long…..trust me!!!! But suffice to say, that leaving out Dumbledore’s funeral, in my opinion is an insult to his character! Would anybody really complain that an extra 5 minutes were added to the end of the film to see Dumbledore sent off in style? Also, what was the point in the Death Eaters being in Hogwarts if they weren’t there to fend off the Order whilst Malfoy completed his task?
An extra scene was added, which I thought was pointless. This was the Death Eaters attacking The Burrow, which doesn’t actually happen until the Deathly Hallows at Bill and Fleur’s wedding (who were cut from the film as well as Dobby and Kreacher). A little ‘handbags’ fight started and before you knew it, the Death Eaters were gone.
But back to the review.
The Half Blood Prince started off really well and had my attention from the first minute. The young cast all seem to have improved and gave solid performances. Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy, really surprised me at the beginning of the film by how good he played Malfoy. He really seemed as menacing and nasty as in the book. He did seem to fade off a bit throughout the film, but I would have liked to have seen him more involved in Half Blood Prince. The fight between Malfoy and Harry in the bathroom impressed me!!
Rupert Grint and Emma Watson were solid throughout and stealing a bit of the limelight of Dan Radcliffe at times. But I think Dan Radcliffe had the funniest scenes after taking the Felix Felicis potion to get the memory he needed off Professor Slughorn.
Jim Broadbent is added to the cast as Professor Horace Slughorn and he plays the part magnificently. As always, Alan Rickman is perfect as Snape I thought this was his best performance and one of the best characters in the Harry Potter series. Helena Bonham Carter, although not seen too much throughout the film, plays Bellatrix Lestrange with a handful of creepy and makes the scenes she’s in her own.
The two young lads that play a young Tom Riddle were cast well. The younger one is actually Ralph Fiennes’ (who plays Voldemort) nephew. But it’s the older version of the young Tom Riddle who really brings a disturbingly creepy feeling to his scenes, and you can see that he is the Dark Lord in the making.
I was disappointed to see how little Hagrid, Neville, and Luna were used throughout the film, but they can’t add everything otherwise the films would be pushing four hours!! But, you do get the see Luna wearing the giant Lion’s head just before the Quidditch match, which was brilliant.
I read the book a week before The Half Blood Prince was released and forgot how little action there was in the book, as it was more about building up the suspense before Deathly Hallows. Kind of like the calm before the storm, and also a lot of love interests which every teenager goes through.
This is probably the funniest Harry Potter to date, but it’s handled brilliantly and doesn’t move away from the main storyline. There’s a lot of teen romance in this film which sees Ron with the brilliantly, yet barking made, Lavender Brown who was played brilliantly and Hermione’s jealousy, and the spark between Harry and Ginny.
Don’t let the amount of comedy put you off, as I felt this gave the characters more believability, and you could connect with them better as we’ve all been through the teenage years and know what it’s like.
The effects as always with Harry Potter films were brilliant and with the impressive sets, it really does add magic to the film. Watching Harry and Dumbledore apparate to the cave and watching them stand on the rock with the sea crashing around them was brilliant, plus the Quidditch match is very impressive to watch.
Overall, I thought that Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was a great film, but the end was gob smackingly poor and only hope that they’re saving the best till last.
Deathly Hallows is due to be released in two parts with the first being in November 2010 and the second and final part around this time in 2 years.
3 out of 5