Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
With heavy emphasis on attractions to the opposite sex and the jealousy that comes with it, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a transitional tale of both the children’s growth and the breaking of light for darkness. The once lively halls of Hogwartz, lined with young children practicing their magicks and playing games with one other has been swapped for dark foreboding paths, barren classrooms and unnaturally looming darkness. The quirky professors of the lighter films, having scattered and banished since The Order of The Phoenix are no longer here to entertain us with their eccentric personas, goofy spectacles and comedic spells. No, this is a very different Hogwartz and Dumbledore’s relationship with Harry Potter is more the focus than the raging hormones of he and his friends.
Emma Watson, who has had as many haters as supporters of her acting in the past will no doubt shut these critics up by her performance in this one. For the first time we are given a convincing range of emotions by her as she cries when her love interest is with another and smiles warmly and at peace when he is finally hers (convincingly). You cannot help but feel sorry for her during certain times when her lineage is questioned and when the loneliness settles in. Some of the more memorable scenes for me were between her and Daniel Radcliffe in their strange friendship that seems more brother and sister than classmates. The entire Weasley clan is back providing laughs, cringes and at times sighs. This not being limited to the bumbling blunders of Ron who has somehow grown into quite the ladies man at the school.
Though beyond the teens and their love stories and my wont for a Harry and Luna Lovegood romance, the main theme is always obvious and that is the choice of good versus evil. Nothing is as it seems and a cruel plot is hatched that forces Dumbledore to use Harry as a sort of spy to uncover a hidden secret. The comical Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) is introduced and replaces the spirit of the teachers we have grown accustomed to “experiencing” in the former films. He is a pleasure to watch as his every word is entertaining and adds a bit of light humor to an otherwise gloomy film. The sexual tension amongst the students, and the detective work of Harry takes up two thirds of the movie but by the time you hit the last third the dark tone becomes pitch black. By the time you make it to the last 30 minutes, you will experience a heavy tragedy and an explanation behind the title that is The Halfblood Prince.
Out of the entire series, this one shines and falls well in line with the rest. To compare it with another movie I would choose The Empire Strikes Back in terms of the dark mood, the winning hand of evil and the feeling of “to be continued” that occurs when the credits roll. With beautiful direction, relevant cinematography and outstanding special effects, I find it hard to complain about anything. Outside of the alienation of a new viewer who may choose this to be their first movie in the Harry Potter series, the story and acting is one of the better in the 7 films to date.