Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Release Date: July 15th, 2009

Click here for the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Trailer.

The lines between the wizard world and the muggle world are becoming thin. Death Eaters are now wreaking havoc and destruction in the non-wizard world, causing major disasters which are claiming the lives of muggels around the world. The Death Eaters also turn their sites on innocent people in the wizard world, capturing people like Mr. Olivander, the wand maker. Harry Potter(Daniel Radcliffe) is reluctant to return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after his latest scrap with Lord Voldemort(Ralph Fiennes) at the Ministry if Magic. However, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore(Michael Gambon) persuades Harry after taking him to meet an old teacher from Hogwarts, Horace Slughorn(Jim Broadbent). Dumbledore wants Slughorn to return to Hogwarts and take Harry under his wing. At a secret hiding place, Professor Severus Snape(Alan Rickman) is approached by Bellatrix Lestrange(Helena Bonham Carter), one of Voldemort's principal Death Eaters, and Narcissa Malfoy(Helen McCrory), the mother of Draco Malfoy(Tom Felton) who is Harry's enemy at Hogwarts. Lord Voldemort has chosen Draco for a special task, one that will cost Draco his life should he fail. Narcissa wants Snape to look over Draco and to protect him. Snape agrees but fails to convince Bellatrix of his commitment. Bellatrix forces Snape to enter the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa. This ensures Snape uphold his bargain lest he die.

While walking through Diagon Alley, Harry, along with his friends Ron Weasley(Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger(Emma Watson) spot Draco entering the dark magic shop of Borgin and Burkes where he participates in a ritual with other Death Eaters. When the students return to Hogwarts, they see that the school is under heavy security to keep out the Death Eaters. Slughorn returns to teaching taking up his old role as Potions Master while the former potions teacher, Snape, is given the Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Harry and Ron, who are not good at Potions, are advised by Professor McGonagall(Maggie Smith) to take the class due to the fact that Professor Slughorn is much easier than Snape was. The two boys didn't have any books for the class and were forced to grab some from the closet. There were only two left, a new one and an old, tattered one. Harry and Ron fight over the new one with Ron winning. Harry picks up the old one and notices that it belonged to somebody named "The Half-Blood Prince". This book had detailed instructions that differed from the ones in the book on how to make the different potions. For their first task, the students were asked to make a very difficult instant-death potion. With the help of the book, Harry surpasses everybody else, including Hermione who is always the best, at successfully makes the potion. Professor Slughorn then awards Harry a vial of Felix Felicis, which is basically liquid luck.

Harry leaves the school for Christmas break where he stays with Ron and his family. While having a conversation with Arthur Weasley(Mark Williams) Remus Lupin(David Thewlis) and Nymphadora Tonks(Natalie Tena) Death Eaters attack and try to capture Harry, who runs out into the fields after them. Ginny Weasley(Bonnie Wright) follows close behind Harry. The two enter a clearing with the Death Eaters casting spells from the the shadows. Lupin, Tonks, and Arthur Weasley find Harry and Ginny and fight off the Death Eaters who destroy the Weasley's house by burning it to the ground. While back at Hogwarts, Dumbledore reveals to Harry why he has asked Harry to become close to Professor Slughorn and why Slughorn was asked to come back to Hogwarts. Tom Riddle, which was Voldemort's real name, was a student at Hogwarts. Dumbledore shows Harry memories that he has extracted over the years regarding Voldemort. Dumbledore is looking for any clues to help defeat the dark lord. Dumbledore shows Harry a memory he got from Professor Slughorn. Voldemort was a close student of Slughorn and approached him one day with an interesting question. Voldemort asks Slughorn about a very dark piece of magic. Slughorn gets angry and throws Voldemort out of his office. The memory, however, was tampered with by Slughorn and it didn't reveal what the dark magic that Voldemort asked about was. Dumbledore wants Harry to get Slughorn to tell him what they talked about. Harry uses the vial of Felix Felicis to lure Slughorn to the grounds keeper Hagrid's(Robbie Coltrane) hut, where they begin drinking. While Slughorn is intoxicated, Harry is able to convince him to reveal the piece of magic Voldemort asked about. Slughorn reveals to Harry that Voldemort asked about Horcruxes. These are devices that the user stores a part of his sole in. Should the user die, the part of his sole will survive rendering the user immortal until the Horcrux is destroyed. Voldemort created seven Horcruxes which all need to be destroyed in order to defeat Voldemort. Dumbledore has already found and destroyed one of the Horcruxes which was a ring that belonged to Voldemort's mother. Harry had unknowingly destroyed another one in his second year at Hogwarts when he destroyed Voldemort's journal.

In the meantime, Harry is still suspicious of Draco Malfoy. Harry believes Draco to be behind two attacks on Dumbledore's life, one attack involving Katie Bell(Georgina Leonidas), who was under the Imperius Curse, delivering a cursed necklace to Dumbledore and another involving a poisoned wine that Slughorn was supposed to give to Dumbledore but instead gave to Harry and Ron. Ron drank the wine and almost died but Harry was able to save him. Harry follows Draco into a bathroom where Draco is at the sink crying. Harry confronts Draco who attacks Harry. During the fight, Harry casts the Sectumsempra spell, one he learned in the Half-Blood Prince's book, which severely injures Draco. Snape arrives and mends Draco's wounds after removing Harry from the site. To prevent Harry from using the book again, Ginny Weasley convinces Harry to hide it in the Room of Requirement. Ginny hides the book so harry won't know where it is. While in the room, the two uncover, unknown to them, a vanishing cabinet which Draco has been secretly trying to fix. The cabinet can transfer things from it to it's sister cabinet, which is located in Borgin and Burkes. After this Dumbledore asks Harry to assist him on finding another Horcrux. The two apparate to a seaside cliff where they enter a cave that houses one of Voldemort's Horcruxes. Dumbledore summons a boat from underneath the water which takes him and Harry to a small crystal island. At the island there is a small basin filled with water that has been cursed by dark magic. Dumbledore begins to drink to the water to reveal the Horcrux and makes Harry promise that no matter what he will not let Dumbledore stop drinking. Despite his pain and yelling Harry does as he is told. When they Horcrux is revealed Harry grabs it. Dumbledore asks for some water but the two are attacked by numerous inferi. Harry fights off as many as he can before being thrown into the water where more inferi attack him. Suddenly bolts of fire come crashing into the water killing the inferi. Harry swims back to the surface to see Dumbledore conjuring great flames. The two flee the cave an apparate to the astronomy tower in Hogwarts.

Dumbledore instructs Harry to retrieve Snape, but before he can the two hear footsteps. Dumbledore orders Harry to hide under on the lower level of the tower. Draco appears in the tower and points his wand at the weakened Dumbledore, prepared to kill him as ordered by Voldemort. Bellatrix Lestrange as well as other Death Eaters arrive in Hogwarts through the Vanishing Cabinet that Draco fixed. They arrive in the astronomy tower as Draco is confronting Dumbledore. Snape arrives under the tower where he motions for Harry to be quiet. Snape joins the other Death Eaters and they all wait for Draco to complete his task. Draco is unable to bring himself to do it at which point Snape raises his wand and casts the Avada Kedavra curse which instantly kills Dumbledore who falls over the rail into the courtyard below. Draco, Snape and the other Death Eaters leave the school causing destruction in their wake as Harry peruses them. Outside the castle Harry confronts Snape and attempts to use the Sectumsempra curs on him. Snape easily deflects and knocks Harry down. Snape then reveals that he is the Half-Blood Prince and the creator of the spell. After the Death Eaters leave the students and faculty gather around the body of Dumbledore as Harry clutches to him being comforted by Ginny. After wards Harry is approached by McGonagall but refuses to give her any details. While Harry is in the castle thinking he is approached by Hermione and Ron. Harry reveals to them that the Horcrux they found was a fake. It contained a message to Voldemort from an R.A.B. The message stated that R.A.B. had found the real Horcrux and was going to destroy it. Harry tells Ron and Hermione that he doesn't intend to return to Hogwarts next year but instead is going to seek out R.A.B. and the rest of the Horcruxes to finally destroy Voldemort. Ron and Hermione remind Harry that they are his friends and that he can not do this alone and agree to go with him.

This is the sixth movie in the Harry Potter series based off of the books by J.K. Rowling and it was definitely the most anticipated one yet. Now everybody knows that movies based on books never have everything from the book in the movie and if you come to this film expecting it to be word for word from the book then you are going to be disappointed. However, this movie did a good job of keeping key points from the book in the movie and making the story make sense from the previous films. We have seen from the previous films how the mood and feel has progressively grown darker and more sinister as it did in the books. This movie is definitely the darkest of the series and turns Harry Potter from the lovable lad we saw in the first movie to the dark magic fighting wizard he is now.

What I like most about this movie is how they matured the characters from the previous films into this one. The director does a great job of making you feel like you are growing up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. Also, all the actors themselves were fantastic. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have come a long way since The Sorcerer's Stone and prove to be capable of the big roles they have in the Harry Potter films. But Harry Potter isn't all about the acting. The locals in which the movie and book take place are key structures in the story. Places like Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and the Weasley's home are points of interest that are crucial in making the film feel as real as possible. Well the special effects used in creating the world of Harry Potter were top notch. The areas in the film felt remarkably real and the production team did an excellent job of making you feel like you were actually in the Harry Potter world.

One aspect of the film that I really liked but was not suspecting was the comedic presence throughout the movie. This was by far the funniest Potter film yet. Now introducing comedy in a film that is supposed to be dark like The Half-Blood Prince is a tricky business. Add to much and it overshadows the true nature of the film, add some but not enough makes it feel awkward and unrealistic. However this film had the right blend. The comedy never seemed to overshadow the darker nature of the story but added that flavor that made the movie that much more enjoyable.

Being a reader of the books myself, I notice which things are present and missing from the book. This film is no different in leaving things out than the other movies. Some of the things they left out made sense like different scenes from the book that didn't progress the plot. But a few scenes they left out from the book were particularly disappointing for me. The biggest disappointment I had is how they left out the scene of Dumbledore's funeral. At the end of the book there is a big funeral with all the different characters and such. I particularly thought this was a major part in the book and the fact that they didn't add it to the movie angered me. Dumbledore was the biggest character in the books next to Harry. I just feel like they cheated him by not having the funeral. He just sort of died and they left him alone. I felt like he deserved more. But I'll let you make your own assumptions about that.

Overall this movie was great. I became a huge Potter fan after seeing the first movie. It actually got me reading the books. While I was a little disappointed at some of the things they left out I can also say that what they did put in the movie did the book justice. This is by far the best movie in the series. It had great action, great acting and was just a joy to watch. I can not wait until I get the chance to see it again. If you love the Harry Potter movies, or the books, or just love anything to do with it then you must see this movie. It makes me sad to see this beloved franchise coming to an end but I look forward to the climactic ending that awaits. I give Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 9 Liquid Luck Potions out of 10.


  1. Dumbledore was definately a character I have grown attatched to and I agree whole heartedly that there should have been a proper tribute. Even if they had used just a moment. I look forward to seeing the film. Thank you for the awesome (as always) review.

  2. and how much did they pay you for that review? ~_~