Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Jim Broadbent, Tom Felton, Jessie Cave, David Thewlis
Looking back I recalled how little these kids were when they first started out. They had those wide eyed expressions and the hunger for adventure. And always, no matter how dangerous it'd get, Hermione, Ron and their special friend, Harry Potter would beat the odds and stand triumphant.
But as time passed and as J.K. Rowling wrote further, the stories got darker. The magic and fantasy started to fade, and in its place is darkness and death. And the three children are now grown up, transformed from being sleuths to warriors of light. The Dark Lord is making his move, and Harry now needs to embrace his role as the chosen one.
And that's how it is with Harry Potter. Innocence makes way for sacrifice and strangely enough, teenage love. Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince begins where Order Of The Phoenix left off, after the death of Harry's godfather, Sirius Black. Professor Dumbledore recruits Harry for a special task, which involves acquiring information from a certain wizard named Professor Horace Slughorn, whom Dumbledore has just recently appointed to teach at Hogwarts.
You see, Slughorn used to teach the Dark Lord when he was younger, and the former holds a secret that may help Dumbledore find a way to defeat Voldermort once and for all. So Harry attempts to get close to Slughorn, and succeeds by not only using his reputation of being the chosen one, but also by using a potions book once owned by the Half-Blood Prince, that gives Harry an edge in class.
But that's not all that's brewing. Ron Weasley has become a target of infatuation of one Lavender Brown, who won't stop in her obssessive pursuit of him, much to the chagrin of Hermione Granger, who is finally letting her true feelings towards Ron come forth. Harry himself finds love in the form of Ron's younger sister Ginny. And if that's not enough, Draco Malfoy, Harry's nemesis has been chosen by Voldermort to carry out a task of his own.
As I had said earlier, the wide eyed fantasy and magic we started out with is gone. Now we're getting serious. But is it still fun? Well, thankfully director David Yates still manages to keep the story flowing, even though when you look upon this film after it's over, you'll realize that it's mostly filler material for something bigger to happen next. There is very little action here, except for a Quidditch match to behold. No dangerous challenges like you've seen in The Goblet Of Fire or wizard fights in Order Of The Phoenix. What you get is a lot of drama and yet another major character biting the dust. It's a fascinating experience, but not one that'll make you go "wow".
The kids have come of age indeed. Grint hasn't got much to do this time other than play Quidditch and be a lovestruck teen though. Watson fares slightly better, by not being overdramatic as in previous instalments and giving just enough to make us feel for her when she gets her heart broken. Radcliffe does alright as the great Harry Potter, but nothing too outstanding. Tom Felton on the other hand, finally gets to step up as Draco gets a bigger responsibility this time around. The adult supporting cast do their parts well, and Alan Rickman once again leads the way followed by Michael Gambon. Helen Bonham Carter still continues to be as annoying as ever as Bellatrix Lestrange, only this time she gets 10 lines instead of 3.
In the end, this film is as one reviewer said about the book it's based on, it's just another cop out story to kill off a major character. But I guess it's the process and journey undertaken here that counts. And it is entertaining to an extent, and succeeds in making us anticipate the Deathly Hallows I and II coming next. (4/5)