I am reviewing this film after seeing it at the cinema on Friday and not after seeing the DVD (which is obviously not out yet!). I think that if you saw the film without reading the book you would probably enjoy it more, although I think it would have been important to have seen the five previous films to understand the plot.
First to the negatives points, which were few. I hate to critisize anything Potteresque but I do think that if you are going to adapt such a great book for the screen, you should only omit scenes/characters that are not important to the plot. Also, any changes to the plot should be for the better. Personally, I did not much like the scene with Harry and the girl in the station cafe. It meant omitting the wonderful scene at the Dursleys where Dumbledore appears and tells them exactly what he thinks of them. I wanted to see the goblet of mead tapping Uncle Vernon on the head while he tries unsuccesfully to ignore it! I also thought it strange that, immediately after the Burrow burns down, the next scene show Ron smooching and laughing with Lavender Brown as if nothing had happened. I know time was restricted but I felt there should have been more 'memories' of Voldemort. The one where we met his grandfather and his bedraggled and put-upon mother should have been included and especially the one where the Dark Lord approaches Dumbledore for the Post of DADA professor. His appearance has alredy altered, leading Dumbledore to suspect that his dabbling in the Dark Arts has already gone further than any wizard before him.
However, now to what WAS included in the film. I thought the acting by all the principal characters was excellent, especially the now very suspicious and troubled Harry. The scenes with Ginny which showed their growing awareness and understanding of each other were very subtle and touching. Rupert Grint gave an excellent comic performance of the love-sick Ron Weasly and Emma Watson as Hermione, usually so composed and sure of herself was fabulous as the jealous 'gooseberry'. Newcommer Jim Broadbent made a wonderful Slughorn, showing us his conflicted emotions. On the one hand, he wants to live in peace and comfort but struggles with the guilt of once giving out too much information. He wants to make amends but believes he is a coward. I must also give a mention to Hero Tiffin Fiennes whose young Tom Riddle was chilling. How a boy, so sweet and appealing could convey so much menace was quite incredible.
I loved the opening slow-motion sequence of the film, the immediate aftermath of the battle at the Ministry of Magic, where Dumbledore puts an arm around Harry and tries to shield him from the flashbulbs of the press and the publicity as this sets the tone for the film. Having ignored Harry in year Five for fear that Voldemort was controlling him, Dumbledore knows Harry has earned his right to be more involved. And involved he is. The scene in the Cave is stunning and was truly frightening. Harry shows strength of character and Dumbledore again shows why he is thought to be such a great wizard and the only one Voldemort truely fears.
Overall, despite some minor reservations, I can thoroughly recommend this film. It kept my family enthralled for the 2 hours+ that it ran and it also sets the scene perfectly for the penultimate and last films in the saga. I can hardly wait!!!
on 18 October 2009
HP6 starts promisingly but fades into incomprehensibility. Only fans familiar with the books will know what's happening or why.
Perhaps this movie should have been called: "Harry Potter and the Half-Plot Prints" or "Harry Potter and the Half-Snogged Kids". Key elements are omitted (the muggle prime minister, the Dursleys, Tom Riddle's parents, Bill Weasley and others don't exist in the movie), the teen romance is over-emphasised and there are arbitrary changes & additions (why does Luna discover Harry on the train instead of Tonks? How did Dumbledore injure his hand? Why was the Weasley's house torched? Why add the cafe scene - yes, she's an attractive girl, but what was the point? Did she win a walk-on role in a HP competition?).
Q1) Whatever happened to fundamental film-making concepts like "plot", "motivation", "character development" and "internal consistency"?
Q2) Why didn't J.K. Rowling take a firmer stand?
Jim Broadbent is very believable as Horace Slughorne. Is there anything this excellent actor can't do? I look forward to seeing more of him in HP7.
Maggie Smith's brief appearances confirm the rumours that she is ill.
Alan Rickman will get more screen time in HP7 and HP8.
For those lamenting the omission of the funeral scene - don't worry, they'll probably start HP7 with it to provide "continuity" ;-)
We can only hope that some of the missing scenes were actually filmed & will be included in an extended "director's cut".
on 19 January 2010
Very disappointing. It lacks life and magic, by taking out too much background and concentrating on the love interest elements. It has little to do with the book, has reinvented bits for no clear reason, and has junked most of the story line. It lacks narrative power and intensity, and I think the director made bad choices about what to include. I usually like this kind of film but I got bored with this one. Not a patch on previous Potter films, very unimaginative. How sad, I was looking forward to it.
on 1 September 2013
In my opinion Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the most underrated of the Harry Potter movies. True, it is not the best of the films, but it is far better than a lot of people give it credit for.
Most people who critized the movie complained about most of the memories being cut from the film, as only two make an appearance. In my opinion attempting to put multiple dream/memory sequences don't work in a film which is why I think it was the right decision to remove most of them.
Another complaint has been the focus on the romantic relationships between Ron/Hermione/Lavender and Harry and Ginny. Most people seem to think that they take up a vast majority of the film, when in fact they only take up just under 1/4 of the film ( I even timed them; in total they only take up about 25 minutes of the 145 minutes of film time).
This films still contains great humour and dark storytelling that featured in the previous 3 movies and the last half hour is some of the best work of the series.
In conclusion this is one of the better entries in the series and deserves a lot more praise because of it.
So, you're still with us are you? Congratulations, as this franchise is most definitely a marathon, rather than a sprint. Eight years after the first film's release, the Harry Potter series has so far taken $4.5bn at the box office and put British cinema back on the map. The quality of the films had been improving year-on-year, with the actors increasing in maturity and the subject matter becoming much darker. Unfortunately, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince has become the franchise's first bump in the road.
Year six sees Hogwarts become a dangerous place to be, with Death Eaters on the rampage and adolescent hormones raging. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is spending increasing amounts of time with Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), who is preparing the young wizard for the battle ahead. Meanwhile, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) carries out a secret mission for Voldemort, as the Dark Lord continues his return to power.
The main problem with HP6 is that it lacks the central focus which the previous films had. Films one and two focussed on setting the scene; film three focussed on Harry's past; film four had the Goblet of Fire and the return of Voldemort at its centre; and film five saw the battle lines starting for form between Good and Evil.
The central focus of the current instalment thought appears to be lots and lots of teenage angst. Despite the fact the future of magical world is at stake, the characters seem to be more concerned with who's snogging who. This is then followed by twenty minutes of actual plot, which due to the mess that it followed, feels tagged on at the end. It's at this point that `The Tragic Event' occurs and it feels strangely empty, as there was no real build up to it throughout the film.
David Yates will be the man to take the story of Harry Potter to its conclusion, so here's hoping that his direction improves between now and then. He never effectively threads together the few events which take place in the film, with some scenes feeling completely superfluous. It may be sub-titled The Half Blood Prince, but the mystery surrounding who this is, is forgotten until the end, when it's quickly resolved without a second thought.
Although not the longest film in the sags (its eight minutes shy of The Chamber of Secrets bladder bursting 161 minutes), it needs a good editor to come in to cut out some of the needless bumph which has been included. Also, the direction of `The Tragic Event' is dreadful, with tight angles attempting to fit round some sort of orb, rather than having the final confrontation open to the elements. The films is also missing that magical sparkle that the other films had, and feels removed from the magical world, despite the return of Quiddich to the franchise.
The central trio are their usual selves - distinctly average. Daniel Radcliffe still believes that acting is gritting your teeth; Rupert Grint still has no comic timing; and Emma Watson doesn't do hormonal very well. There are some bright spots though. Jim Broadbent is great as potty Professor Horace Slughorn and Tom Felton gives a quiet but engaging performance as Draco Malfoy, who feels torn between the worlds of good and bad. Hero-Fiennes-Tiffin and Frank Dillane also give truly creepy turns as the young Tom Riddle (Voldemort for those not clued into the Potter universe).
However, with the main focus on Potter and Dumbledore (plus all those repressed teenagers), the film no longer feels like the ensemble piece of British cinema that it once was. Fan favourites including Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) and Professor McGonagall are effectively reduced to cameos. Even Alan Rickman's Severus Snape, despite the large part he plays at the end of the film, is sidelined.
Lacking in magic, sparkle and suspense, film number six is a tedious, half hearted set-up for the final showdown.
on 3 February 2010
I've noticed, since the fourth Potter, the quality of these films has been dropping - since then, the films have felt very run-of-the-mill cash cows and with this latest one, that feeling is amplified even more, in my opinion.
Play Movie: The acting from the trio is still uneven - passable one minute, very stilted another. The standouts are Tom Felton, and the two boys who play younger Voldermorts. Acting dishonours go to Dan Radcliffe and Bonnie Wright - the latter in particular is wooden, bland and has no screen presence and the former is stiff and awkward and struggles with emotional scenes(like the climax).
The plot has some superfluous scenes like the early flirting in Surbiton station and undermines some emotionally moving scenes, like the Major Character Death climax and the feeble, much-advertised attack on the Millennium Bridge.
The cinematography has a very gloomy, soft-focus, muted palette look, to me and the inky splashes work well in the Pensieve scenes. Unfortunately, most scenes are literally very dark, so I struggle to make out what's going on. Please, make the lighting brighter!
The score is pretty mediocre, and Hedwig's theme plays in odd moments.
Overall: A disappointing affair, especially as this is the sixth film now, and they should be getting better after each installment. Hogwarts lacks magic (where are the ghosts, for example?), the romantic subplots feel forced(I suppose that's what happens when you adapt books to films before the books have officially concluded) and the whole thing feels unbalanced. Instead of ending with a bang, it feels like an afterthought and as if shortcuts were taken. 6/10
Scene Selection: 1-6, 7-12, 13-18, 19-24 and 25-30.
English Descriptive Narration
English (For The Hearing Impaired)
Special Features Languages
Close-Up with the Cast of Harry Potter -
Editing with Dan Radcliffe
Special Effects with Matthew Lewis, Oliver Phelps and Tom Felton
Owl Training with Jessie Cave
Stunt Training with Rupert Grint
Costume Designs with Evanna Lynch
Art with Bonnie Wright
Behind the Camera with James Phelps
Makeup with Emma Watson
J.K. Rowling: A year in the Life - Old ITV doc broadcast after Deathly Hallows came out.
What's on Your Mind?
the Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Sneak peak
Additional Scenes -
Harry and Hermione Walk Through the Halls of Hogwarts
Harry and Hermione Discuss Marauder's Map
Harry, Ron and Hermione Discuss the Vanishing Cabinet
Harry and Dumbledore Arrive at Cave Entrance
Harry and Dumbledore Leave Cave
Clouds Gather Over Hogwarts as Flitwick Conducts Choir
Harry Joins Ron, Hermione and Ginny in the Common Room
Harry and Hermione Discuss Ron at Astronomy Tower
Extras rating: 5/10. Compared with the PoA disc, this is very sloppily put together.
on 3 November 2009
When I watched the movie felt quite disappointed. I read the book and there was action, laugh, love, mistery, anger, distress, tension, pain... but you won't find any of it in the film, at least not in meaninful quantities. Don't even think of learning something about Voldemort's or the Prince's past or intentions; for that you'll have to read the book, which just happen to be named after the latter caracter, but it seems the producers, directors and script writers didn't know/notice it. I can understand some parts had to be cut in order to fit the movie, but the cut turned into butchery and some important parts didn't receive a good treatment, such as the Unbreakable Vow scene, Dumbledore's pain in the Horcrux Cave, or the final battle in the Castle. Also, olympics jumps from one scene to the other and unnecesary ones such as the burning of the Weasly's family house made this movie not as enjoyable as the previous ones. A real shame.
on 8 July 2016
A great film full of story and action. I loved the books and the film is just as good. It's a big hit with the adults and children in our family! A fantastic price too and arrived quickly without any damage.
on 29 January 2010
On second and third viewing of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince I have withdrawn my earlier comments. Rather like 'looking thru a glass darkly' this interpretation has finally sunk in. OK I still stand by my remark that the book has been somewhat abridged but the construction of the movie, while dark, holds the attention and draws you into what is to come in Deathly Hallows, the trailers of which are currently being shown. The relationship between Harry and Dumbledore is milder than JKR intended but Snape has developed well and Jim Broadbent is super. Enjoy and look forward to the last two parts.
on 26 November 2013
Like the wording says, it's the 'Ultimate' edition! Everything packaged in one box, the blu-ray and dvd versions, plus lots of other bits and pieces. Extremely well put together. For any Harry Potter fan this series is a must