Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince–Movie Review

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4.5 Stars
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth movie in the series, and I actually liked it more than the previous two. It is dark, stylish and witty. Like the early movies in the series it tries to impress us with the richness of its imagination, as opposed to just overwhelming us with pyrotechnic special effects.

Unlike most of the audience I have not read any of the Harry Potter books except the first, so my opinion of the movie is based solely on the movie itself. I can recommend it highly, but with one big caveat: if you have neither read the books nor seen the earlier movies in the series you are going to be pretty lost. No real attempt is made to fill in the backstory, and a lot depends on us already knowing the characters and what they have been through previously.

The ending leaves a number of questions unanswered. Rather than being a complete story in itself, this seems more like the beginning of a grand closing arc that will be completed in the final two movies.

The movie delivers the usual spectacular scenery and state-of-the-art special effects, but it also has subtler pleasures. I particularly like how the characters are gradually maturing. For a 17-year-old boy surrounded by adults who expect the world of him, but won’t give him a straight answer, Harry seems commendably self-possessed. He’s less angsty than he was in the last film and he seems well on the way to becoming an adult hero.