The Sixth Harry Potter Installment Leaves You Begging For More
After six installments of a film franchise, one would think that characters, plots, and ideas would be getting quite stale. You would start to get a sense of repetition. Once the Star Wars franchise hit number four, it became apparent that the story and execution was failed and most intelligent movie goers begged for it to just stop.
The “Harry Potter” series has done the exact opposite of the obvious trend one would expect. As the character and his friend’s have aged, the movies have gotten better and better in every way. The money that the films make allow the creators to spend more and more on the visual effects, which are front and center in “The Half-Blood Prince”. This installment is easily the most visually appealing and interesting of the series so far. But…is it the best “Harry Potter” yet?
First of all: if you aren’t familiar with the books or the films at this point, you will be completely lost while watching this movie. More so than any of the other movies, this one drops you right into the plot and expects you to know who these people are and what they are doing. The plot, while difficult to explain in detail, revolves around Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) recruiting Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) to help him learn about the evil Lord Voldemort. To do so, Dumbledore asks Harry to befriend his new Hogwarts teacher, Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), because Slughorn has some knowledge regarding Voldemort as a child.
More so than ever, this movie focuses on the relationship that has formed between Dumbledore and Harry. While the history in the previous films has cemented their friendship, the ease with which Radcliffe and Gambon show while on-screen together is truly remarkable. They share the screen more in this film than any other, and their sometimes hilarious chemistry leaves you hoping for more.
Of course, “Harry Potter” movies aren’t complete without his best friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson). Watson takes a bit of a back seat in this movie and becomes more of a love-struck teenager than the smart-ass bookworm than in previous movies. However, Grint has his best performance to date and carries the majority of the comedic moments in the movie, which are much funnier than expected.
The two biggest surprises are from Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy and Bonnie Wright as Ginnie Weasley. Felton has been in all of the films, but always came off as a whiny, sniveling wimp. His character plays a more important role in this movie and he makes the torment he’s feeling very believable. While angst may be easy for the normal teenager to display, Felton pulls it off without seeming fake. Wright, on the other hand, is a very believable love interest for Harry. The setup for their relationship has been in the works for quite some time, but it comes to fruition in this one and Wright holds her own with Radcliffe.
In the end, this movie is all about one, final scene. If you are familiar with the book, you know what that scene entails. I can safely say that the last thirty minutes should not disappoint you at all. It is done as close to the book that can be done and every actor holds up their end of the bargain. It’s tragically sad without being overly melodramatic, which was my biggest fear when envisioning the climatic moment of the series so far.
“Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince” is a fast-paced, well directed and acted movie, with the best effects in the series to date. It is easily the darkest and grown up of the series, with a largely downer of an ending. Amazingly enough, even at two hours and thirty minutes, the movie flies right by and should make it easier to swallow for non-Potter geeks.
So, is it the best yet? For me…not quite. The final action sequence/ending of “The Order of the Phoenix” will be tough to top in my opinion. Actually, if you are interested in getting into these movies, you could reasonably start at “The Prisoner of Azkaban” and go from there as the last three installments prove that “Harry Potter” isn’t just for kids anymore.