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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Daniel Radcliffe
Emma Watson
Jim Broadbent
Rupert Grint
Tom Felton
Helen McCrory
Alan Rickman
Maggie Smith
Michael Gambon
David Thewlis
Helena Bonham Carter
Julie Walters
Evanna Lynch.
Directors
David Yates.
Screenwriters
Running Time
153 minutes

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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
The one with sex, potions and rock ‘n’ roll


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Plot
Death Eaters are on the rampage, Dumbledore (Gambon) has a task for Harry (Radcliffe), Draco Malfoy (Felton) has a secret mission for Voldemort, adolescent hormones are raging and Harry inherits an old school text with notes in the margins from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.


Review
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
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Where the devil is Basil Exposition when you need him? It seems so long ago – exactly two years in fact – since we left Harry Potter and friends, and anyone not of Mastermind standard on all things Pottery can be forgiven for not being sure where we got to. The decision of Warner Bros to forego its pre-Christmas release makes financial sense for their 2009 accounting, and the millions of Potterites are without doubt good to go. But even a protracted introductory bit of back-story chitchat between Daniel Radcliffe’s boy wizard and his mentor, Michael Gambon’s Professor Dumbledore, doesn’t refresh the memory for mere Muggles.

So, for those not quite up to speed, Previously on Harry Potter: Sirius died, Lucius Malfoy was packed off to Azkaban and a revitalized Voldemort continues lurking (but not in this picture). Now Dumbledore is intent on extra private life-lessons for Harry, whose assistance is required to sleuth out a key secret from Voldemort’s youth as Tom Riddle. As befits the Hogwarts tradition of dodgy instructors, another new eccentric professor is engaged: Jim Broadbent’s Horace Slughorn. His area of expertise is Potions, which creates opportunities for several fiascos – fun to potentially fatal – involving concoctions for love, luck and painful death. Ominously, the master for Defense Against the Dark Arts (a position that bodes ill each and every school year) is now Alan Rickman’s inscrutable don Severus Snape, whose withering way with one-liners and inexhaustible creepiness continue to be a highlight of the whole shebang.

The artistic challenge has always been telling a story that stands up whether or not one is au fait with the J. K. Rowling canon. It’s only just about met this time. The earliest films sprawled though every chapter of the source novels, fearful of leaving anything out and enthusiastic in realizing every bit of whimsy in the wizardy world of Hogwarts. The middle films picked up the pace with freer adaptation as developments grew darker. The Half-Blood Prince reverts to overlength (screenwriter Steve Kloves has returned to duty), but still wrestles with blending the impending doom side of things (manifestations of which were a tad distressing to our smaller audience consultants) with the humour, heartache and angst of adolescent amours essential to what is, after all, a coming of age chronicle. But major plot points slip by (we’re still wondering what a horcrux is exactly!), big doings seem rushed and more everyday goings on extended. Do we really need another game of Quidditch to lighten the mood, when a destiny of doom and gloom is supposed to be closing in? Given the much-trailered destruction in London that opens the film, it seems odd that the consequences of that or anything else in the outside world don’t rate a mention.

The acting is once again wildly variable. The renowned elder thespians, apart from Gambon, Broadbent and Rickman, barely feature, with the emphasis on the youngsters – and while the leads have grown with their characters some of the teens are, frankly, dull and graceless. Two new additons, however, in Hero Fiennes Tiffin (Ralph’s nephew) and Frank Dillane (Stephen’s son) prove apples don’t fall far from the tree by being appropriately unnerving as Tom Riddle (who will, of course, grow up to become Voldemort) at age 11 and 16 respectively in key flashbacks.

The standout achievement in the film is knockout spectacle, courtesy of cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel and production designer Stuart Craig, with one climactic sequence amid flames giving Dumbledore his Moses parting the Red Sea moment. That’s the image we’ll remember best until HP7 Part One arrives, ETA November, 2010.


Verdict
We’re marking time before the final battle between Good and Evil, with the promised darkness sitting somewhat clumsily with teen romance and humour.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Empire Star Rating

RE: Worthwhile set-up for HP7 Part 1

What a horrible, horrible adaptation. I'm usually not against adding stuff that isn't in the original source novel, but only when it's done by people who understand, appreciate and enjoy reading that source novel. Not by unimaginative hacks with only their paychecks in mind. The direction was pedestrian to the extereme, once again Yates manages to disintegrate the great atmosphere of the books and to turn a rich, complex novel into a flashy yet soulless advertisement. He didn't hit a singl... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bozo at 01:05, 12 October 2009 | Report This Post


Worthwhile set-up for HP7 Part 1

Agree with Angie's 3-star rating. It's dark and mysterious with the usual Potter flaws of wooden-acting and being way to overlength. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by CIRVIRUS64 at 06:43, 09 October 2009 | Report This Post


GREAT movie (not that I expected anything bad...),loved it as always!! Liked the comedy touch it had - however I missed some action. What happened with the fight at the end of the book? "Half-blood Prince" has a few weak points, but the good parts clearly overweight!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by FanaticalAboutFilm at 13:51, 21 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Good but crucially flawed

having just gone back and watching order of the phoenix, which in my opinion is much better; why in 5 (or 6?) films has there only been ONE decent wizard fight scene? a world of powerful magic users utilising their powers to kick the shit out of each other and fling fireballs around etc, lends itself extremely well to cinema. so why the fuck hasn't there been alot more of it? even that disney animated film (can't remember the name, merlin / sword in the stone ?) realised a fantasy wor... More

Posted by spamandham at 15:11, 09 September 2009 | Report This Post


Good but crucially flawed

Dont get me wrong this is a GOOD film and i ENJOYED parts it and its much better than other so called famiily summer blockbusters BUT this film has plenty of rather big bug flaws which spoil it. Now it has good performances from Tom Felton, Alan Rickman and Jim Broadbent. However Felton and Rickman are wasted by the script which spends more tim focusing on teenage love than the actual dark, serious and proper stuff which is going to effect the story. I have nothing wrong with the humour and teen... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by THE DALTONATOR at 11:22, 08 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyed it

what the hell is a 'half blood prince' when its at 'ome? eh?gn] ... More

Posted by spamandham at 02:39, 07 September 2009 | Report This Post


Enjoyed it

For someone that hasn't read any of the books (and has no intention of doing so) I really enjoyed this as I didn't have the baggage of looking for what's been missed out and what's been made up for the film. It's a bit all over the shop in terms of story (too much romance although some of it is quite funny and the potion book gets carried about by Harry throughout with only a few references until the end and by then I had forgotten that the film was called ...and the Half Blood Prince!!!). Havin... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trueborndjross at 13:11, 03 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Muddled and over-long

Loved it, can't really remember anything about the book other than the ending anyways, so maybe that's why.  I enjoyed the whole awkward teenage relationship theme that ran through the film, it made me chuckle. Special effects were superb; the world really comes to life.  Can't wait for Deathly Hallows, although I recall being utterly bored with the final book, until around half way or so ... More

Posted by Drone at 23:18, 28 August 2009 | Report This Post


Muddled and over-long

What a disappointment this film was. Too many scenes cut from the book, too many scenes added from the clear blue sky, far too much hormonal angst and WAAAAYYYY too long. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ovverbruv at 14:25, 15 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Half-Done Script.

SPOILERS !!!!   I really enjoyed it. Not as much as the other films but then again, it was my least favourite of the books so I was never going to. The only disappointing aspect for me was the lack of battle at the end of the film; although I can understand why it was left out given that the last book ends essentially the same way.   What I was suprised with was actually how disturbing some of the scenes were; the posession of the girl with this necklace - forget her name, and... More

Posted by waltham1979 at 16:42, 11 August 2009 | Report This Post


Harry Potter and the Half-Done Script.

What happens when you have two Pensieve memories about Voldermort, ocassional scenes of Malfoy on his mission and much of the focus on forced romantic love traingles? You get this uneven, if interestingly shot cinematraphy wise and near the end, emotionally-involving film. The trio are still fluctuating from passable to stilted, really wooden acting from Bonnie Wright, unbalanced main sub-plots, and some very pointless scenes(Harry fliriting with the waitress - WTF?). On the whole, it's a set... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sunnygirly2k4 at 22:33, 09 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Anyone else notice this.....

I really enjoyed this one!   The acting was so much better from Emma Watson and i could really sympathise for her character. I loved the way that they added a good amount from the books as well as changing a few things.  4* from me ... More

Posted by katie92 at 12:43, 09 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Indulgent Filmaking

I can't help but be a tad biased but I loved it, second favourite from the films. Beautifully filmed in places, acting was a step up by the entire class (especially Malfoy and Ginny.)  Good balance of humour, darker scenes and romance. Overall a 4.5/5 for me, second favourite in the series straight after Prisoner of Azkaban. I think my problem with the Burrow scene was that nobody mentioned it afterwards. I liked its inclusion in the film, kept the pace up. But I wished they'd m... More

Posted by ginkgonk12 at 12:32, 07 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Indulgent Filmaking

Agree with your comments. Would love to know Rowling's opinion of the film although I thought she had some sort of script approval thing going on whic, if she did, she must have been OK with. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by steveg66 at 12:27, 05 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Im sure the wedding is going to be in the film, there was some footage leaked online of them all dressed up in london after they escaped the wedding. ... More

Posted by target at 10:21, 05 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

I was a bit disappointed that dobby was cut again. I wonder if they will still film his involvement in the deathly hallows? I suppose it probably costs a lot of money for that special effect. ... More

Posted by Winchester Bunny at 21:11, 04 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Chapter 8: The wedding. well i think it's chapter 8, but defo the chapter called The Wedding ... More

Posted by Sumintelligentguy at 19:18, 04 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

But the last line of that chapter is possibly the best line of the whole series! they cant cut it out - though they probably will. Which chapter? There are a couple mentioned in your reply? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by steveg66 at 15:41, 04 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: Alistair L: steveg66 I've got a strong feeling that the script writer has put this scene in to allow the Weasley family to move in to Shell cottage in the last film thus cutting out Bill and Fleur's roles from the book. I was wondering how they were going to get around the meandering and pointless inclusion of Bill and Fleur. I finished re-reading Deathly Hallows last night and there are certainly a few insignificant things that they can cut -nd Fleur's wedding being one of them. e... More

Posted by Sumintelligentguy at 22:16, 03 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Disappointing, but still watchable.

I was worried going into see this film after having many mixed reviews but actually really enjoyed it. It kept the dark aspects of the story but was equally as funny. I was also worried when I heard they had cut out all but 2 flashbacks, considering these take up most of the story in the book. I understand this though cos obviously a film with only Harry and Dumbledore walking through memories wouldn't have been very good so think this was a good decision, however Im worried that those... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dannytree at 21:54, 03 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Indulgent Filmaking

I liked this one, it had a lot more lighter moments in it and the three main leads got the chance to play some scenes that were more "normal teenager" than "magical student teenager" which made it feel different from the other films. The death eaters scenes were great, cave scene was impressive, the end did feel condensed but that is because I was waiting for the fight scene. My favourite moment was when they opened that cupboard in the potions classroom and saw the two copies of the... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Winchester Bunny at 20:41, 03 August 2009 | Report This Post


Indulgent Filmaking

Regardless of what details are left out, whether or not the Weasleys went to stay at a particular destination post-death eater attack...the simple fact is the director made a bad movie. JK Rowling should be angry with Yates' vision of her beloved world. Because of Yates' decision to explore the relationships of the Potter trio to the point of out shmaltzing Days of Our Lives (except Days has better acting) I am afraid I might forgo my much loved and eagerly awaited regular dose of HP next time a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Danny77 at 18:42, 03 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: steveg66 I've got a strong feeling that the script writer has put this scene in to allow the Weasley family to move in to Shell cottage in the last film thus cutting out Bill and Fleur's roles from the book. I was wondering how they were going to get around the meandering and pointless inclusion of Bill and Fleur. I finished re-reading Deathly Hallows last night and there are certainly a few insignificant things that they can cut - Bill and Fleur's wedding being one of them. But, there a... More

Posted by Alistair at 15:31, 03 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE:

ORIGINAL: Ebony Heart  And for the destruction of the Weasley's house... I don't remember that sequence at all (and having read book six more times than is healthy, I would've remembered that...) I've got a strong feeling that the script writer has put this scene in to allow the Weasley family to move in to Shell cottage in the last film thus cutting out Bill and Fleur's roles from the book. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by steveg66 at 12:48, 03 August 2009 | Report This Post


Harry Potter: And the Half Assed Directing

The latest Harry Potter film was to be one of the highlights of the media calender for me. A film that had high anticipation from many of the adoring fans which was sure to please the crowds. However, HP:HBP was the cinematic equivelance of opening your christmas stocking to find a lump of cole. The trailor and media advertisements made it seem so magical and fancy. As if Inside the film was something that could only be enjoyed and bring happiness to the viewer. Until you sadly open it, and you... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DavidNixon at 03:15, 03 August 2009 | Report This Post


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