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Fred Reviews Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Published July 14, 2009 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Warner Bros
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Poster Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I have never been a big Harry Potter fan. I hated the first two movies. Gave the first book a chance. Skipped ahead to three since they were basically shot for shot in the movies. Still unimpressed, I loved the third film. Gave the books one more shot. Four was definitely the best book, but I could still stick to the movies, which have been okay since.

Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is really back into the dense Potter fan territory, which makes is rather impenetrable for the casual likes of myself. I can appreciate it, but I still don’t like it.

It starts off great with magic invading the real world of gloomy London . Harry is picking up waitresses until Dumbledore cockblocks him. It even takes apart some of the clichés of the genre, like, “I bet you wonder why I’ve brought you here.” They even go the bathroom just like real people do. I can relate to that.

The movie really fills the screen, whether it’s magical spectacle or just introducing characters with a look up a winding staircase. The visual gags are a step above some of the lazier films too, finding new ways to make moving pictures interact with the environment. Seeing Quidditch in winter is a new visual for that, but still the most pointless sport ever conceived. Although they seem to have done away with the snitch, so perhaps this version of broom hockey is more fair.

Then they have to get into the plot and the classwork and the relationships. Potion class is kind of fun, but even that starts to feel like a lecture. At least the kids lounge around some. They’re not all serious all the time, which makes some of the other stories unrelatable.

The film covers time well with the seasons but there’s still a whole lot of plot to get through. The stakes are hardcore, with kids getting thrown, banged and whomped around. I just don’t care what Voldemort was like as a kid. To be fair, I also don’t care what Darth Vader was like as a kid. If you’re into it, this must be heaven.

The romance is admirably portrayed. Dating with magic addresses all the real life feelings, with a cinematic twist. They may have special powers but it’s still human hormones. They deal with sex questions smartly and with humor. It’s obvious humor but at least it’s not so self-important and serious. By the way, liquid luck is a metaphor.

It still felt like a standard teen movie, which is the point, but I didn’t feel like watching a standard teen movie either. It’s not as boring as the Voldemort backstory and plot though.

There are a lot of wand fights shot with handheld shaky cameras, so the modern style has caught up to Hogwarts. The climax is more emotional than spectacle. It’s scary, with loud banging monsters jumping out. Like I said, I appreciate all of this as a study. I just can’t connect to it emotionally. They should cast Will Smith as the Half-Fresh Prince. Then I'd be interested.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Warner Bros

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