Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Gambon, and Jim Broadbent
Directed by David Yates (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
Rated PG for scary images, some violence, language, and mild sensuality
Appropriate for ages 10+
With Harry’s Uncle Sirius dead, Professor Dumbledore has now taken it upon himself to take care of Harry. Little do they know that Professor Snape has also taken an oath to protect the malicious student Malfoy, and he has been tasked by the death-eaters to do something very awful this year at Hogwarts.
Through chance, Harry discovers an old text full of helpful notes and spells that once belonged to someone who called himself “The Half-Blood Prince.” While Harry is not sure who the mysterious prince is, the special text brings his wizardry up a notch, and helps him not only in school, but in his battle against evil as well.
I am fully understanding of the need to make the screenplay different from the source material and until now, I have never thought it a big deal in this series. I have always felt that the major points were covered and the themes were carried out well. With this new movie, though, I’m just not so sure. I can appreciate that it can be a real problem taking such a large volume of material and putting it into a two and a half hour movie, and I wouldn’t want the task myself, but I think this coverage is the least faithful yet in the series.
The major points were all touched on, so for that I guess you could say they did their job. The Malfoy, Snape, Dumbledore, and Harry story lines were completed in good fashion. But when I read the book, I felt that the most important thing it did was to tell the story of young Voldemort, or Tom Riddle, through Dumbledore’s memories. This very important character development is vital to the overall story and will now never get the chance to take place on screen. Sure there were a few little scenes with young Tom, but they were merely there to progress a different plot line. I guess that I found this character development so deeply interesting and important, that I think it would have been worth a little more time sitting in the theater.
The acting here was also inconsistent. Radcliffe and Gambon were solid in the dramatic leads, and I was very happy to see Tom Felton finally get a chance to show his stuff as Draco, but Harry’s friends Ron and Hermione (played by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) made many bad choices as they tried to steal screen time. In addition, many of the students seemed like they were trying to show off in the small amount of time they were allotted and ended up coming across like amateurs.
I realize that this review probably makes it sound like I thought this was a bad movie and that is far from the truth. I just had very high hopes that didn’t get lived up to. I am excited that the next and final movie will be in two parts, which means that the story might actually get the time and attention it deserves. B