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HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE - 2009
Rating – Argentina: Atp / Brazil: Livre / Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA, UK: PG / France: U / Finland: K-11 / Germany: 6 / Greece: K-13 / Iceland: L / India: U / Ireland: PG / Malaysia: U / Netherlands: MG6 / Norway: 11 / Peru: PT / Portugal: M/12 / South Korea: ALL / Spain: T / Sweden: 11 / Switzerland: 10
With this sixth movie in the series, we've reached the point where neither the name HARRY POTTER or even the title of the movie THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, matter on the movie poster. Fans will recognize all of the main characters and that's good enough. You'll notice that it doesn't actually SAY Harry Potter on the poster, and that the rest of the title is among the tiniest print on the poster. All the other movie studios must be kicking themselves with every sequel to this cash cow.
In fact, within the movie, you really don't have to tell a story. HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is blithely unconcerned about things like story. And if you missed the first five movies, they are also unconcerned about you. there is zero catch up here. Harry Potter has it's built-in audience and by the 5th sequel can't concern itself with you, you must concern yourself with IT!
Harry Potter is now famous in the land of muggles ("Muggles?" You say? Oh, do a freakin' search on it!)
and the newspapers say Harry just might be the Chosen One. The world could use a Chosen One as Lord Voldemort's power grows every day. His minions, led by the slithering evil of Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter: FRANKENSTEIN , PLANET OF THE APES , WALLACE & GROMIT IN THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT, CORPSE BRIDE, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, SWEENEY TODD, TERMINATOR: SALVATION) freely fly through cities, destroying the landscape like streams of smoky Godzillas, casually killing as many innocent people as they like.
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe: THE TAILOR OF PANAMA, HARRY POTTER [all]) is on school break and would really just like to be a young man - a regular guy - which is near impossible with his face on the newspapers (in this alternate world, newspaper is still relevant). Since he can't blend in, it would be nice to at least take advantage of the groupies such fame provides. But no, along comes Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon: SLEEPY HOLLOW, HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN, SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, THE OMEN ) and Harry is needed once again. They go off to visit a wizard whose home appears destroyed. Turns out the Wizard is hiding himself as a piece of furniture. Dumbledore casually asks Wizard Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent: TIME BANDITS, BRAZIL, HOT FUZZ, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL) if he could return to teach at Hogwarts Wizard school. Slughorn emphatically states that he won't, Dumbledore apologizes for bothering him, and Slughorn stands there sheepishly wondering why Dumbledore didn't beg. After all, Voldemort is gaining power every day!
Soon Harry's best friends, Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson: HARRY POTTER [all]) and
Ron Weasely (Rupert Grint: HARRY POTTER [all], CHERRY BOMB), are wondering if it's worth bothering to return to Hogwarts. The world is about to end. As usual, Harry holds them all together. Also as usual, Harry is highly suspicious of Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton: HARRY POTTER [all], THE DISAPPEARED) and attempts to spy on him. But while Draco is an inept clod compared to Harry, he is also evil and paranoid, and always anticipates that others are out to harm him as much as he is out to harm others.
Yes, Dumbledore is worried, Harry is concerned, Hermoine is ever more in love with Ron, and Ron is oblivious. But the one really propelling the story forward is Professor Severus Snape, who finally reveals the traitorous nature that we always knew lurked in his stern manner. The problem here is, this isn't treated as one of the main plots. Draco Malfoy is also up to no good, but there is a mystery as to what his interest in an old closet could possibly be. The main plot appears to be the budding and hesitant love between a too-shy Hermoine and a Ron who is blissfully unaware of the guiles of young girls in love.
By this point in the series, there is supposed to be an ever present, running current of foreboding. And while there are extravagant scenes showing the increasing danger from Voldemort and his minions, the overall mood is the fun and enjoyment of being a student at Hogwarts. While it is amazingly cool to witness the unfolding of a tale that grows and matures with the actors, the threat of the Half-Blood Prince is treated as still another subplot.
HELLO! This movie is called HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE! Why in the HELL is this not first and foremost?
In fact, when the Half-Blood Prince is revealed, it is both a toss-off and anti-climatic. The audience is left saying, "Oh. So YOU'RE the Half-Blood Prince. So what?"
I'm told by friends who are heavily into the J.K. Rowling stories that HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is a great read and, while obviously connected as part of a whole, is a wonderful stand-alone book on its own. The movie, HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is not even a complete movie, but in the hands of Director David Yates in his second outing with H.P., an intentional bridge meant to carry the watcher between HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX and DEATHLY HALLOWS. Screenwriter Steve Kloves, who has adapted every book to movie for Harry Potter except ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, seems to be returning to his Azkaban style, which left audiences mixed. Don't get me wrong, it's entertaining and wonderful to watch. It's heartening to see the growth of the actors and the characters they portray, but HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is not a movie in its own right.
Three Shriek Girls.
copyright 2009 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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