So following my then-disappointment with the movie version of Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban, my enjoyment within the franchise waned. Therefore I became uninterested in reading the novel version of the next story, Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince. Four years later, the movie came out and I also dodged it. Is it as bad as I thought it would be? Let’s take a look.
As usual, spoilers will be highlighted in red.
Harry’s starting his sixth year at Hogwarts and Dumbledore tells him that Voldemort’s using several items known as ‘Horcruxes’, which are meant to keep the guy as powerful as possible, and they therefore must be destroyed. Meanwhile, and speaking of Voldemort, he makes a dark unbreakable vow with Snape and Malfoy.
It’s seven years since the movie adaptation of the Half-Blood Prince was released and I’ve only just watched it earlier this year. I’ve been going on and on about my loss of interest with the Harry Potter franchise, so I won’t go too much into it. When Alan Rickman died, I remembered how great he was as Snape, which inspired me to cut the franchise some slack. So I checked out the Half-Blood Prince and the last two movies. I liked the Half-Blood Prince better than The Order Of The Phoenix. For one thing, there were fewer flaws.
Let’s start with the good stuff. Firstly, Snape remains as cool as ever, but he has a much darker role. Voldemort assigns Malfoy the unbreakable vow; to kill Dumbledore. Snape agrees to help out if Malfoy fails. During the finale, we get Malfoy attempting to kill Dumbledore, but being too much of a wuss to do so, so Snape kills Dumbledore instead. When Harry confronts him, Snape reveals himself to be the half-blood prince. Though I have to wonder, does this mean that Snape has turned to the dark side?
What else do I like? The scene where Dumbledore recounts his first interaction with Tom ‘Voldemort’ Riddle; Riddle as a kid. Yes, part of his backstory. It’s revealed that Riddle wondered if there was a way to divide his soul into several different pieces, hence the Horcruxes. This is pretty much my favourite scene in the movie. Dumbledore demonstrates that Riddle eventually did so and so far, two of them have been destroyed, one of them including the diary (as demonstrated in The Chamber Of Secrets).
I’m also fond of Dumbledore’s funeral scene. It’s exactly how I pictured it; his grave surrounded by the students and faculty and each one of them raising their wands, each one shining like a torch. Sure it looks enchantingly cheesy, but then if you think about it, armies have their own style of funeral services, including firing guns towards the sky (you may have seen that in that Season 1 episode of The A-Team), so there ain’t no reason why enchanted worlds can have a service of their own.
Speaking of death and sadness, I should also briefly mention the bit where Hagrid is about to lose Aragog, his old pet spider (who you also may remember from The Chamber Of Secrets). It’s probably the saddest moment I’ve seen in the film. Many of us can all relate to it. Some of us have lost our pets, due to fatal incidents/accidents or illnesses. Others, due to expired life-spans. This is exactly what Aragog experiences.
Now where does The Half-Blood Prince fall flat? Firstly, the plot which involves Ron falling in love with a student named Lavender Brown, which upsets Hermione. I’m sorry, the romance ain’t particularly that interesting to watch and nor is Lavander. I have no problem with Ron and Hermione being in a relationship, but this is sooo forgettable and sooo Twilight. As for the romance between Hermione and Ron, meh.
Also, this is the film where Snape finally gets to teach Defence Against The Dark Arts and Dumbledore’s old friend, Horace Slughorn, takes over as the Potions Master. I have no problem seeing one of Horace’s lectures, but I can’t believe the film didn’t include one scene with Snape holding any of his DATDA lectures. It would’ve been real interesting to see the guy who longed to teach such a subject to finally get his chance! And speaking of miss-outs, where are the Dursleys and how did Harry end up at a cafe in the first place during the opening?
As for the rip-offs; not so many that I spotted, though the cinematography during the finale looks rather similar to the finale in Die Hard. We also come across the cliche where we come across the Chosen One. That cliche’s been done since Star Wars, we’ve seen it whilst playing Little Big Adventure, we’ve seen it in Lord Of The Rings, and the Matrix, enough named.
My final verdict; Half-Blood Prince is a decent film. I like it better than the last two Harry Potter films, it took a much darker turn. Though I don’t think it’s as strong as the first three. I still have yet to read the book and see how it and the film compare.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Next review: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows (Part 1)