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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

There not much point explaining the basic of Harry Potter because either you know it by now or you’re a weird hermit that lives in a cave (if you are a weird hermit that lives in a cave Harry Potter is a wizard who goes to magic wizard school Hogwarts with his ginger friend Ron and girly friend Hermione where they fight the evil wizard Voldemort who killed Harry’s parents). Anyway this is the sixth film in the series and the second directed by David Yates the first being the fifth film The Order of the Phoenix, which in my opinion is superior to all the others, except maybe the third oh and maybe this one too.

Unsurprisingly the plots been simplified from the book and mostly revolves around Harry trying to get a memory form and getting some “action” in the process. In fact that seems to be what pretty much everyone (by everyone I mean the children, sorry fans Hagrid doesn’t get with a large pumpkin in this film) in this film is most occupied with (rather than the wizard equivalent of Hitler returning from the dead) and usually managing it in a pretty funny way which is pretty fortunate as otherwise the film would have been pretty dull. The end was less powerful than I expected though I imagine that was due to prior knowledge of the film and the fantastic scene preceding it (there was fire lots of pretty fire).

Its been a while since I read the book so while I cant remember small things like when Harry got an embarrassing rash and had to go see Madame Pomfrey, but several other parts stuck out at me for missing mainly some of the memories about Voldemort’s origins and it would have been nice to lose some of the melodrama in favour of these parts. While some parts of the book has been cut some bits have been added notably a fairly pointless visit to the Burrow for the simple reason of blowing it up and I couldn’t help feeling this time could have been better used for showing some of the parts missing from the book but with such a huge amount of source material this is pretty much inevitable. Still even at over two hours the film doesn’t outstays its welcome and I was wasn’t bored for a moment.

On the whole performances are great, my favourites being Helena Bonham Carter as the evil but oddly sexy (I really hope this isn’t just me) Bellatrix Lestrange and Jim Broadbent as the eccentric Professor Horace Slughorn who provides some of the best laughs of the film as well as being sombre when the story requires. An always watchable Alan Rickman returns as Severus Snape who ironically recreates the end scene of Die Hard just with his role reversed. The main trio of Daniel Radclife, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have come a long way since the early films and deliver their best acting to date, even if Emma Watson still looks about 6 years old a fact all the more disturbing as she’s in FHM’s top one hundred babes or whatever it’s called. There’s a few weak performances most notably as Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasly but she doesn’t say too much so that’s ok and everyone else makes up for the few shortcomings in this area.

One major point I’ve missed so far is how good this film looks, while special effects are now pretty much uniformly good on any film with a larger budget than twenty pence it just makes it that much more special when you do see a breathtaking sequence of which this film has several its just a shame they weren’t longer. Cinematography is great starting with a stylish attack on the Millennium Bridge the visuals never let up, Hogwarts being dark and foreboding rather than the happy picturesque castle of the previous films and a brilliant fiery finale add perfectly to the rest of the film.

This is one of the films that most people have already decide whether they are going to see it or not and that probably depends on whether or not you like Harry Potter, if you’ve decided for whatever reason you don’t like Harry Potter and thinks everyone that does is an idiot then you’re probably just a miserable bastard and I’m glad I didn’t have to share the cinema with you. The film has an odd balance of being one of the funniest but also one of the darkest films this year and is as close to perfect as a Harry Potter film there has yet been.

Pros
Great performances
Looks fantastic
David Yates is a bloody good director

Cons
Could have done with a bit more action
Parts missing from books
Snape kills Dumbledore