Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review

Published 5 years ago by

Short Version: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince might be the best Harry Potter film yet.

harry potter half blood prince review Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Review

Screen Rant reviews 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'

If you really care about Harry Potter, Ron & Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger as living, breathing characters then you’re going to love Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Disclosure: I’ve only ever read the first book and while I’ve thought the previous films were “OK,” I’ve never been a huge fan of the series. This latest film was directed by David Yates, the same fellow who directed the previous film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – and for perspective, I don’t even remember was that one was about.

Having said that, I believe this latest installment is arguably the best Harry Potter film that’s been released so far.

This is the sixth year Harry and Co. will be attending Hogwarts and they’ve all come a long way from the kids we saw back in the first film. They’re certified young adults now and it’s a pleasure seeing them on the screen with much more depth and complexity in themselves and their relationships with each other. As a matter of fact those relationships are what make this movie shine.

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe, of course) finds a book on potions that has copious handwritten notes by “The Half-Blood Prince.” Whoever this person was, he was brilliant and creating potions – subtly modifying the recipes in the book to make them all work perfectly, was one of his skills. Harry’s newfound “skill” at potion-making draws the attention of newly re-recruited professor Horace Slughorn. The professor is played by Jim Broadbent, who gives an excellent and surprisingly nuanced performance considering the (apparently) comedic nature of the role.

It turns out there is a very important reason that Slughorn was enticed to come back to Hogwarts, and professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) enlists Harry to pry some hidden information from the returning professor. Professor Snape (Alan Rickman, whose brief time on-screen is reason enough to go watch this movie with his mesmerizing screen presence) is involved, and his true(?) purpose becomes clear by the end of the film.

Much of the film is dedicated to the interrelationships between Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny. There is much teenage romantic angst – something that would normally trigger my teen-soap-opera-eyeball-roll reaction, but it’s handled so sweetly and deftly here that it’s a pleasure to watch and really draws you in to what they’re all going through. Emma Watson, Bonnie Wright and Rupert Grint all do a fine job.

In combination with that, the gorgeous, muted cinematography and fantastic visual effects (not just in execution but style as well) is just icing on the cake.

Is this film perfect? No. One complaint I’ve heard from others is that over the course of 2 1/2 hours nothing much happens to move the story forward – and that the ending of the film (which has a definite Empire Strikes Back vibe) could have been a bit more effective. However these points detract very little from the overall enjoyment of what I think is the best summer blockbuster film of 2009.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is rated PG and provides a few scenes that might be a bit intense for the littler ones, and there’s one jump scene that will probably get them – but nothing too over the top. And frankly it was a pleasure to watch a movie aimed at the same age group as Transformers 2 without a single word of foul language to be heard nor anything that’ll make a parent squirm while watching it with a child.

This may be the first Harry Potter film that I end up watching more than once.

Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5
(Must-See)

TAGS: 4 star movies, harry potter

147 Comments

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  1. How is it aimed at the same age group as TF2? TF2 was PG-13, not PG.

  2. Thanks for the excellent review Vic .
    Tomorrow is my birthday.
    And this seems like a perfect birthday flick .
    So, I will be seeing it tomorrow.

  3. Panda,

    I *really* don’t want to turn this into a Transformers debate, but here’s a question: Was the second Transformers film aimed at the same audience as the first?

    Answer that in your head, then read what follows…

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    Well the last TWO Harry Potter films were rated PG-13. This one is targeted at the SAME audience, but it just happened to get a PG rating. Or do you think because this one is PG everyone who loved the last two as PG-13 films will say “Oh, it’s PG? I think I’ll skip this one.”

    Vic

  4. Wow that’s a high rating from Vic,,,
    Maybe I’ll watch this one,,,?

  5. Well I don’t know if you’ll like it – but I think it’s just an all around great movie – not just a great Harry Potter movie.

    Vic

  6. Money is tight… I’ll skip this one for g.i joe… Harry potter is feeling like saw lately to me (too many sequels). Not saying the movie is good or bad… Just tired of potter.

  7. skip…potter fail…4.5 way too generous…

  8. …said the guy who hasn’t even seen the movie.

    Vic

  9. Interesting that you say that. Often times sequels get watered down over time. Maybe HP will break that stigma

  10. You a stalker Vic? How do you know what I have seen? Let me tell you what I have already seen. Potter, 9, District 9 and GI Joe. come talk to me when you catch up.

  11. It was a fair assumption to make.

    Do you write for a site? If so why don’t you include a link? I’d be curious to see your review history.

    Vic

  12. I didn’t mean to make it sound like bragging but the comment made me defensive.

    I don’t write for a site or anything I’m just a movie fan. My brother is an actor (nothing big) and gets early cuts of movies before release. He sends them to me because he’s not a fantasy or sci-fi fan. I love them!

  13. Sorry posted that last one under my transformers alias :)

  14. Ah, OK. Well I took your “fail” comment as regarding my review, not the film – so maybe I misread your intent.

    Anyway, I really liked it and I think most people will as well.

    I’m looking forward to District 9 big time – I hope it doesn’t disappoint. :)

    And why do you comment with two different usernames, BTW?

    Vic

  15. Doh! I see you answered my question while I was typing. :)

    Vic

  16. My personal favorite of the films was the Prisoner Of Azkaban .
    Goblet of Fire was also good.
    I didnt see the last one.
    Previews just didnt grab me.

  17. Oh my bad. “fail” was for the movie not your review.

    When the transformers movie came out I was using that name all the time when on my mobile phone. Just a mood thing I guess.

  18. (Snicker…) Ah, you muggles do so entertain…

  19. streaking through an anxious metropolis on missions of urban destruction that, in a different fantasy cosmos, might challenge the talents of Batman.

  20. I have not seen this movie yet but it is to no surprise of mine that the film is receiving such great reviews. I am a major fan of the movies and the books and teh 6th book was for me the best in the series. Taking that into consideration, Harry Potter 6 was a sure bet blockbuster for me. I also love teh fact that the director of the previous film was brought back to dirct this one; because i think he did a solid job on order of the phoenix.
    I am just surprised that they got away with a PG rating, I mean there were a few graphic scenes in the book and the ending seemed to be a pretty pg-13ish type of ending, but hey I could be wrong.

    I also agree with Vic about this movie being targeted for the same audience as transformers. While the Tranformers may have been PG-13 I think that the producers of both movies were trying to apeal the same general crowd of youngsters out there.

    I am seeing the movie today, and after reading this review I am even more amped up to see it

  21. i also agree with Vic about this movie being targeted for the same audience as transformers. While the Tranformers may have been PG-13 I think that the producers of both movies were trying to apeal the same general crowd of youngsters out there.

  22. I just saw it, and I loved it!

    My one gripe is, it’s PG?????

    The horror themes are quite adult, Harry has been at Hogwarts for 6 years, he is no longer a little boy, I think the film deserved a mature Audience rating for some of the adult and horror themes.

    The special effects were excellent. There were some wondeful performances, and great comic moments. The audience in the theatre with me were either laughing out loud or gasping in shock!

    A fantastic Harry Potter film. Although, there are parts of the book missing that I feel were crucial to the story.

  23. This is my second favorite Harry Potter film due to its skillful compression and abridgement. The one thing I felt they really missed out on was Snape’s (Rickman) emotionless facade breaking:

    “DON’T -” screamed Snape, and his face was suddenly demented, inhuman, as though he was in as much pain as the yelping, howling dog stuck in the burning house behind them – “CALL ME COWARD!”

    My favorite is HP3: Prisoner of Azkaban; each time I watch it, it actually feels like a year has passed. I wish they could entice Alfonso Cuarón to come back for the final two films. Yates will do well, but Alfonso Cuarón would have made them ROCK.

  24. @The Critic
    Did you mean you think we should skip the movie or that you will skip the movie, because the comment responding to Vic said you saw the movie, so I assume you mean we should skip the movie? Also, what about the movie was bad for you?

  25. I disagree. As a reader of the book I found this movie quite disappointing. For some reason they injected scenes which never happen in the book (like the fight at the Weasley’s house,) emphasize minor plot points and completely skip over major story lines. The “climax” was probably the most disappointing and I found it anti-climactic. Harry Potter hiding on a floor below? This is completely out of character for him. At Ron’s house he’s bolting out the door after LeStrange, but when Dumbledore’s surrounded he does nothing? In the book he’s under the invisibility cloak and Dumbledore paralyses him so he can’t move. Why couldn’t they have done that this time? The first half of the movie seemed to be overly drawn out (you have a whole intro to the movie which isn’t in the book and is completely meaningless) and the second half felt very rushed. This is my least favorite of the films.

  26. David Yates (director) bloat lol did a superb job just magnificent to watch, though I agree with blue night – may be Alfonso Cuarón would have made them ROCK. I am a great fan of Harry Potter series. My favorite still remains HP3: Prisoner of Azkaban. But Half Blood was simply outstanding on levels. I’ll be seeing it again Saturday on IMAX which will be even better as it’s one of the original IMAX screens that loom up and over the audience as opposed to newer screens that are just big.
    Being a great fan I have collected a list of good sites and articles (may be around 200) related to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (movie information, movie schedule, movie reviews, books, games, news, wallpapers and many more). If you are interested take a look at the below link

    http://markthispage.blogspot.com/2009/07/all-you-want-to-know-about-harry-potter.html

  27. @John “Kayless” Taylor

    I would skip it unless you are a big Potter fan. If you are, you should enjoy it but if you are a casual Potter fan it’s not much different from the other movies.

    I agree with Tormak though. They added in parts that were not in the book that didn’t make any sense. They didn’t need to be in the movie and there was no real reason to include them.

  28. Sorry Critic, but ill listen to Vic. He says it doesnt matter if your not a fan its still a really good film. Vic is not a big fan and he gave it a 4.5 :)

  29. Just saw it, and yes, it was amazing, best Potter film yet.

    Just one thing though… fans of the book are gonna be p****d.

    Remember when the fans complained about how much Prisoner of Azkaban cut out of the books? Well that film was doing fan service compared to this one.

    Personally I liked how streamlined this film was and didn’t much mind the cuts, the sixth book was mostly exposition and I was interested to see how they’d handle that in this film. Frankly, the film gave most (not all) of the important details and gave a decent enough setup for the next book (although in the book, Harry was a little more informed about what he was going to do than in this film, but that’s just something they’ll have to address in the 7th and 8th films).

    Otherwise though… funniest Potter film yet and frankly, I was overawed by the direction. The Music was great and the acting for the three leads has really come on. The ending was handled fine, perhaps it could have been better, but then there’s conveying a tone and there’s forcing an audience to feel something and I’m happy this film didn’t go for the latter.

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