Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince - Bloody Brilliant

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince is an excellent followup to the fifth film in the series, Order of the Phoenix. I was not too big of a fan of the first film. The second was excellent in my opinion. The third was horrendous. The fourth had its moments but was disappointing. The fifth was a fantastic return to form (even with its many cuts, which displeased the majority of fans of the books) and the sixth is just as excellent as I thought it would be. I came in with high hopes and walked away from this viewing experience very satisfied and sure that the final installment (The Deathly Hallows, which will be two separate films) will be as wonderful and as thrilling as the book, since this one captures the essence and the spirit of Rowling's sixth installment with relative ease.

I am not going to bother even getting into the plot, seeing as the majority who go to see these films are fans of the books anyway and know what is going to happen. All I will say is that this film is as dark and as depressing as the book it is adapted from. I am sure that there will be shrieks of delight as well as of fear and there is no doubt in my mind that there will be plenty of tears shed upon the dramatic and shocking climax. Save for a few missteps here and there, David Yates employs a directional style that has vastly improved and that fully takes advantage of the dark subject matter of the novel with its excellent understanding of dramatic tension as well as black comedy and simple fun moments which define the friendship and the lives and times of Harry, Ron and Hermione at Hogwarts.

For those who have read the novel and are expecting to see some hormones raging—the film definitely delivers. Rowling made her readers squeal with joy upon introducing romantic subplots and while some are sweet and serious (Harry and Ginny Weasley) and some are downright hilarious and at the same time cringe-inducing (high school students will understand the relationship between Ron and Lavender Brown perfectly). This all works because the three main actors have definitely matured. Daniel Radcliffe (though still weak at some points) is growing up to be a fine young actor. The great reviews that came his way with his triumph in "Eqqus" are put to excellent use with his nuanced performance. I see a great many good things ahead of him. Rupert Grint provides excellent comic relief as the gangly Ron and Emma Watson gives an excellent performance as the kind and intelligent Hermione Granger—growing up to be quite beautiful and not to mention into an excellent young actress was not easy I am sure, seeing as she as well as the other two were thrust into the public eye at ages so very young, but she has matured the most out of the three of them and it is a shame that she has claimed that she is giving up acting practically completely in favor of a college education. While that is all well and good, I do hope that this young talent changes her mind, as she is excellent!

The supporting cast is excellent as always; Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon are fine and isn't always wonderful to see the familiar faces of others like the great Julie Walters and Alan Rickman? Jim Broadbent (strange casting I thought at first) is wonderful as Prof. Horace Slughorn and there is a surprising turn from Dave Legeno as the evil Fenrir, who I'm sure many have been dying to see on screen ever since reading the novel itself! Helena Bonham-Carter (who wowed me to no end with her minimal screen time as the deranged and depraved Bellatrix Lestrange) delivers once again—she is a delight and fits in wonderfully with everyone else.

This is sure to be loved by all die-hard fans. Much more confident direction, fine cinematography, an improved score and excellent performances by an all star cast mark this triumph, which is sure to be one of the biggest hits of the summer; I await the next installment with much glee, though there will be tears once it is all over I know.

Enjoy the ride while you can! Photobucket

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