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Half-Blood Prince Movie Review

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With death and destruction raging supreme, the latest installment from the boy wizard will certainly be a contender for this summer’s box office hit.

The penultimate movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is certainly storytelling at its most spellbinding, with director David Yates increasing the confrontation between good and evil, in order to set the stage for the final battle between Harry Potter and the villain that epitomises all that is evil, Lord Voldemort.

Potter fans will certainly not be disappointed, due to the blending of rich drama with fantastic comical relief and romance. It appears that writer Steve Kloves has been able to transfer the complex and crossed romantic paths alongside the one-sided love affair of Lavender Brown, played by newcomer Jessie Cave, from J.K. Rowling’s 600-paged novel with such an ease that one could be mistaken for Rowling writing the screenplay herself.

Yet as with all movies, certain omissions have been made and tweaks to the original storyline are also present, too. The most notable can be seen by the on-another-planet Luna Lovegood, played by Evanna Lynch, finding Harry vexed on the train to Hogwarts, as opposed to Nymphadora Tonks, played by Natalia Tena. But with a fast action-paced 153 minute film, any die-hard Harry Potter fan will be unable to resist liking the changes, as much so as downing any Hogwart’s love potion.

The excitement displayed at beginning of the movie starts as it means to go on. The dark, bubbling reek of havoc is as clear as day by the followers of Lord Voldemort, the Death Eaters, damaging both the magical and Muggle world. The stunning visual effects used to collapse the Millennium Bridge in London are unnerving, while the increasing threat of evil to every living thing rains true through the annihilation of Diagon Alley, the one-stop for wizarding shops.

But do not expect to be sitting through over two hours of darkness, since enjoyment and tension also comes through the return of Quidditch, which was sorely missed from the last Potter film. The blundering Quidditch goal keeper, Ron Weasley, played by Rupert Grint, adds as much comedy gold as the Snitch itself, while further comedy is channelled through the boy wizard himself who is able to show what he is made of through being under the influence of Liquid Luck, also known as Felix Felicis.

Viewers wary that no major new villains are present in Half-Blood Prince or the fact that the storyline does not have a certain sense of adventure as with Order of the Phoenix, will certainly dismiss this view through encountering the acting of newcomers Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Frank Dillane, who play Tom Riddle, the young Lord Voldemort, at ages 11 and 16 respectively. The flashback scenes not only help to add a sense of urgency for “the Chosen One” to complete the task he has been working on since Philosopher’s Stone, but will help to keep you at the edge of your seats too.

Another newcomer to the film can be seen through the bumbling potions master, Professor Horace Slughorn, played by Jim Broadbent. Broadbent certainly adds to the list of award-winning UK actors to star in the Potter movies, while the balance between being top-notch but also flawed is enacted perfectly. Broadbent certainly helps to add to the movie’s capacity for both comedy and pathos and is a pleasure to watch.

Yet it is not just the newcomers that rise to the occasion, since Tom Felton who plays Potter’s arch enemy since the outset, Draco Malfoy, steps up to mark and plays much more of an important role in the sixth film. Being branded with the infamous Dark Mark, the movie is as much about Harry and his band of sidekicks Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, played by Emma Watson, as it is about Malfoy finding his way in the adult world and gaining the recognition of being the new “Chosen One.” Ladled with a task beyond his years, we see Malfoy struggle to his coming of age through Felton portraying a more human side to the smug, arrogant character we have all come to know. Kloves and Yates have really outdone themselves to explore the complexity of every character and one will certainly not be disappointed with Malfoy and his journey throughout the movie.

Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, composer Nicholas Hooper and production designer Stuart Craig have all played their parts in order to help deliver a beautifully constructed film, with Delbonnel in particular painting stunning, seething skylines and lighting a glowing crystal cave situated in the middle of a huge black void with ease.

With the interior of the cave appearing to be vast beyond measure, Craig has managed to create something which is magical yet credible at the same time. The addition of the Inferi, the deadly ghouls will remind you of Gollum from Lord of the Rings, aid with the whole darkness to the film and will definitely keep you in suspense. A job well done by Tim Burke and the visual effects team.

With Harry Potter being the most successful film franchise in history, the latest instalment from the boy wizard will not disappoint. With no prior knowledge needed, newcomers to the series will revel in the movie’s sheer amazement as well as keen fans who will see props such as the Marauder’s Map, Luna Lovegood’s Spectrespecs and exploding potions with Seamus Finnegan, which they have all come to know and love.

Heading towards the end of an era, part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is expected to come out in 2010, with part two following in 2011. The battle is finally heating up and with only one winner in sight, which team will you be supporting? Good or evil?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will be released on July 15 worldwide.
 

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