Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Based on J.K. Rowling’s enchanting book, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” opens on the crowded, “muggle”-filled streets of London on a dreary day. Suddenly, workers in office buildings gaze out their windows to shooting black streaks racing across the sky, cutting the lines of bridges and causing havoc on the streets.
The scene then changes to Harry sitting in a train station and soon found by Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He's taken to a demolished house in which they find a frightened Horace Slughorn and convince him to return working at Hogwarts, a part of Dumbledore’s plan to uncover the secrets he believes could find a way to destroy the infamous Lord Voldemort.
The year then begins as Harry, Ron and Hermione enter their sixth year of school with new romances and drama in the air. Ron is pursued by the eager Lavender Brown while Hermione is consumed with jealousy and heartache, and Harry grows more attracted to Ginny. During his first Potions class, Harry receives a beat-up textbook with subtle hints and spells to better his work, all written by the mysterious “Half Blood Prince.”
Throughout the film we get glimpses of Draco Malfoy being pulled into joining the Death Eaters and frequently visiting the Room of Requirement to use a mysterious vanishing cabinet, constantly under the watchful eye of Severus Snape. As the year progresses, Harry is encouraged by Dumbledore to get in the good graces of Professor Slughorn, and eventually be able to extract from him the information that Dumbledore needs.
Eventually, with a bit of luck potion, Harry receives Slughorn’s true memory, in which he informs Voldemort (then Tom Riddle) of the use of horcruxes, a way to split your soul into different pieces so you can never truly die. The year progresses, and Dumbledore and Harry visit Voldemort’s past before journeying to a cave in which they attempt to retrieve the first horcrux, but could prove fatal for one of them. When they return to Hogwarts, a tragedy strikes that uproots the entire school just as the year is coming to a close, and the defenses that earlier protected the school from harm are now in jeopardy as well as everyone else.
“Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” is one of the shorter Harry Potter movies, and in my opinion less eventful. It seems the beginning and end of the film are both action-packed as a normal Harry Potter film would be, but for about an hour in the middle of the film the pace really slows down and it felt uneventful and a bit repetitive. Daniel Radcliffe seemed unable to measure up to his role and I did not feel the magic as he delivered his lines and went about Hogwarts. Overall, the scenery and supporting cast were both exceptional and held the movie together well, but this movie seemed more of an prologue to the last movies in the series than a step along the way.
Rated PG (parental guidance suggested) for scary images, some violence, mild sensuality, and language; running time is two hours and thirty-three minutes.