Release: 2009, Theatrical
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Directed by: David Yates
Previous in the series: Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix
Next in the series: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: Returning for his sixth year at Hogwarts, Harry receives a hand-me-down book for potions class. In it is several notes that is written by a former student - so naturally Harry uses them. But who exactly is The Half-Blood Prince?
So we're back in the world of wizards, this time not bothering with the Dursley's at all. Let it be known though, it's been quite a while since I read the book of this one. Let's get to it.
After two, fairly weak movies things are finally starting to look up again. Gone is the desperate attempts to look like Prisoner of Azkaban and back are the ambitious beautiful shots of Sorcerer's Stone. Yes, overall this actually feels a lot more close to the original three movies. It's got the darker, somber tone of Prisoner, but the at the same time the good sense to try and filter out the teen drama of the series. Trust me when I say, Harry's love life was subject to much more drama in the book-series than the movies would have you believe. I'm also very fond of the lack of characters. Granted, a good adaptation should always strive to keep it as true to the source material as possible but around this era of the books, the story became very much crowded. Suddenly, you had to remember a lot of names of characters that in actuality wouldn't play that big of a part in the larger scheme.
Order of the Phoenix was the worst in that regard, with it's Dumbledore's Army subplot. If you've only bothered to watch the movies, you'll most likely be glad to hear that we finally get some insight to the motivations of Voldemort, who also otherwise not present in this movie. Instead, we're actually giving Draco Malfoy something to do after building him up as the Anti-Potter for five movies. He actually sets the framework for most of the good eerie imagery that the movie has to offer. I found myself going "WAIT, Go back to Malfoy! I wanna see what HE'S doing!" this time around. Which is more than I can say for the former movies where he was just sorta.. there.
As for the actors, I feel that a lot of the veterans has hit a bit of a slump. All three of the main personas seem to be just going through the motions in this movie, with the worst case being Daniel Radcliffe. Now, just to clarify, behind the scenes things weren't going so well at this point. Several of the involved actors had announced on several occasions that they wouldn't stay around for the remainder of the series. Only to be bought back in by Warner Bros. come shooting day. Increasing demands for payments, coupled with some of the stereotypical mandatory former child actor substance abuse must've made these last couple of movies a living hell for a lot of crew. But I digress. Just to say something positive about the acting, I'm sad to admit I've neglected to highlight the talent of actress Evanna Lynch who played Luna Lovegood. In all of her appearances she manages to steal the scene, portraying the character perfectly.
Overall, the presence of actual competence in this movie is a well-needed breath of fresh air for a series that had been going very much downhill. With only two movies left, it wasn't a minute too soon.