Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 
Release Date:  July 15, 2009
Director: David Yates
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

The film adaptation of The Half-Blood Prince has a lot of the same qualities I liked in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkeban.  While necessarily abridging the source material, it stays true to the spirit of the novel with a quirky style.  And particularly the film captures the major characters as children dealing with problems both mundane and extraordinary rather than just magical beings in a story.  I like how Gryfindor celebrates their quidditch win with a wild party in their common room or Harry quipping “I am the chosen one” as self-deprecating joke, as a couple of examples.

Much like the book the transition from uneasy normality to the stark horror of conclusion is quite effective.  In fact, Dumbledore forcing himself to drink the water in the cave – and all those creepy Inferi bodies – is straight out of a horror movie.

Jim Broadbent is a good addition to the cast as Horace Slughorn.  The lighting and visual effects are also a strong point of this movie.  I do have a couple of quibbles with the movie.  Lavender Brown is played as a caricature which goes against the grain of the good character work we see with the other children.  The scene where Bellatrix and Greyback attack the Burrow was an unnecessary addition.  But by and large, this is probably now my second favorite of the movies.

Rating: ****

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