Film Review

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Director: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright
Rating: **1/2

I may be accused of committing a severe crime for having said this but I have never really been a diehard Harry Potter fan. I have failed to understand the decade long hoopla surrounding Hogwarts and its wizardly faculty and students but won’t deny the sheer artistry of J K Rowling to have created an impeccable world through her book. It’s unfair to overlook the thumping success, both the book and film franchise of this young wizard has met with. And with the sixth part of the Harry Potter film series, David Yates’ (who had directed the fifth part too) adaptation of J K Rowling’s novel is pretty much there with all the expected elements albeit with a slight shift in focus. So we have best pals Harry (Daniel Radcliff), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) coming back to Hogwarts for their sixth year in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, leaving behind their childish versions. And while all the other principal characters like Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), Prof Snape (Alan Rickman) and Death Eater Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter) are in attendance, what is the defining factor of this part is the introduction of Hogwarts’ retired Potions master, Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent). He is the one who taught Harry’s mother Lily Evans and was somewhere responsible in the making of Lord Voldemort, commonly referred to as the Dark Lord.
Through Slughorn’s character, the story takes us back to Voldemort’s stint at Hogwarts as Tom Riddle, a student of the Potions professor to whom he had revealed the possibility of creating more than one Horcrux (a dark magic device to attain immortality). Hence, after reviving Slughorn’s memory about the conversation between him and Riddle, Dumbledore and Harry set out on a trail to find the Horcrux. The Half-Blood Prince is more like the beginning of the battle between Harry and Voldemort that is supposed to mark the finale of the Harry Potter tale. This is the reason why this part generates more curiosity and suspense despite being less appealing than the earlier ones. Since Harry and gang are not portrayed as kids anymore, there are emotions like romance and jealousy that form the framework of this film in order to showcase the leap in the age factor. Hermione’s feelings for Ron, Harry’s feelings for Ron’s sister Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) and Ron’s fling with Lavender Brown (Jessie Cave) underline the plot of this part. If you are expecting the routine war of magic spells, you will be disappointed as this one mainly highlights the humour and drama elements. The Half-Blood Prince is definitely more drama-driven than magical! Bruno Delbonnel’s cinematography excels in this one too and the thrilling visual effects remain it’s strength and focal point. Yates does a fine job keeping all the threads of the book intact and not straying away from the book’s plot.
Performnace wise, Daniel Radcliff was never so charming as the exemplary wizard of Hogwarts but he continues to appear more childlike than a teenager. Ron comes across as more grown-up as compared to Harry and it’s somewhat bizarre to see a smart and intelligent girl like Hermione falling for an idiot like him. The film doesn’t deserve to be tagged as ‘bad’ but there is nothing exceptional to look forward to except for one crucial incident that the hardcore fans might find it to be a twist of sorts. Watch it if you are an ardent Harry Potter follower but if you aren’t, there’s nothing to miss out on really!


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