Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review

Most Harry Potter fans have been with the franchise for a long time, ever since the publication of the first book. I only recently started counting myself a true Harry Potter fan after my son introduced me to the movies and I just had to read the books. I finished the last one only three weeks before seeing the movie adaptation of Half-Blood Prince.

So with all the book details very fresh in my mind, I had high expectations of this movie. And Yates, the production crew and the cast all delivered superbly! A few major elements stand out for me. Firstly, the pace was spot-on. It never felt rushed, and the key plot points kept coming at regular, yet not predictable intervals. The balance between the encroaching darkness and the comedy elements was superb. And there was real suspense! Although I knew what lay ahead, I felt myself waiting eagerly for each key scene. The poignant end, with the emotional farewell to a key character could not have been dramatized any more effectively, yet without mawkish hyperbole, than the scene at the astronomy tower. You could literally hear a pin drop in the cinema for a full minute or more after that.

The running time was not long, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it felt a bit short. Still, the excellent editing choices ensured that all major strands of the global myth arc found their way into the movie quite seamlessly. Some fans will complain about certain omissions and additions, but kudos to Yates for not following the book slavishly. His choices brought the atmosphere and sentiments of the book to screen deftly, visualizing aspects such as the ever-present threat of the Death Eaters that the book establishes through different, but equally effective, means.

I must also commend the three lead actors. They've all matured in pace with the maturing content of the books and their acting shows it. Rupert Grint has no reason to keep doubting himself as an actor. And although Emma Watson had relatively little to do in this film, she generally hit the spot.

As for Radcliffe, I particularly enjoyed his comedic turn in this movie. I do tend to agree with other reviewers that Radcliffe's handling of the more serious moments needs refinement. Not bad at all, but some depth still missing there. Depth only to found through doing some more growing up, I'm afraid.

Of the older guard, Alan Rickman's Snape was a consummate performance, as always. And Michael Gambon's portrayal of Dumbledore never felt more right than in this movie, don't let anybody tell you different.

My final words must go to Bonnie Wright. Going into the movie, I had serious doubts about whether she could pull off the blazing Ginny of the books, after the limited screen time she's had in the previous movies. And I know I'm not alone. But she definitely came through. Her quietly confident, yet forceful Ginny, was completely at ease with herself and certainly convinced me that she could be the pillar of strength Harry needs, despite the odd jerky delivery.

All in all - a triumph all around! Photobucket

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