The Harry Potter universe gets decidedly darker with the sixth installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The Death Eaters are on the loose causing havoc and death in the muggle world, while Harry and his friends are off for another year of magical lessons at Hogwarts.
Half-Blood Prince finds us learning a lot more about Voldemort’s past, as one Tom Riddle. Harry, with Dumbledore’s help, delves deep into the memories about the Dark Lord, trying to figure out how exactly they’ll be able to defeat him. While Voldemort’s backstory is the most interesting part of the film, much of the film focuses on the teenage hormones running rampant at Hogwarts.
Harry has a crush on Ron’s sister, and Hermione spends her time sulking because Ron has a girlfriend and it’s not her. The kids are maturing that’s for sure, but more time is spent on the relationships at Hogwarts than needs be.
Half-Blood Prince still manages to be the most exciting and enjoyable Potter movie to date, but it’s not without its flaws.
Even though the film clocks in at around 2 ½ hours it still finds itself flying through the subject matter. Important things seem to be happening at lightening speed. People who haven’t read the books may find it hard to keep up.
The beginning and middle of the film are engrossing. The visual style sucks you in, while the character-driven drama and good amounts of humor keep you interested. It isn’t until the final act where things start to falter a bit.
The climax of the film has an air of incompleteness. Having not read the books I was informed that the film leaves out quite a big battle scene contained at the end of the book. I’m not here to say what should and shouldn’t make it into the film, but that type of action is exactly what was missing in the last few minutes of the movie.
The young actors have really grown into their roles, but they’re dangerously close to growing out of them, especially Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) who looks quite a few years older than both Daniel Radcliffe or Emma Watson. This is by far Watson’s best acting she’s done in the franchise. With the limited time she’s given on screen she really adds some deep emotion to her character.
Newcomer Jim Broadbent is hilarious as Professor Horace Slughorn. He plays Slughorn with equal parts humor and paranoia. The humor doesn’t stop with Slughorn though, the film is replete with genuine humor, which even pokes fun at itself here and there.
Half-Blood Prince is arguably the best addition to the Harry Potter film franchise, but its lukewarm climax holds it back from being an instant classic.