Once Again I Must Ask Too Much of You, Harry|"Once Again I Must Ask Too Much of You, Harry"
"One of the series's best, with spectacular effects, nuanced performances and witty dialogue. Claudia Puig, USA Today
|As harry potter begins his 6th year at hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry, he discovers an old book marked mysteriously 'this book is the property of the half-blood prince' and begins to learn more about lord voldemort's dark past.|
"...splendid! David Edelstein, New York Magazine
"..the most mature, subtle and emotional entry in the series thus far. M. E. Russell, Portland Oregonian
"The most beautiful magic in it is left unseen. And still, it emerges with absolute clarity. Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com
Though HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN director Alfonso Cuaron still holds the crown for best film in the series, David Yates is making an attempt at a coup with HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. Dark, gleefully funny, and beautifully shot, this adaptation of J.K. Rowling?s novel should please fans despite numerous changes to the 650-page source material. In this sixth film in the series, Harry?s (Daniel Radcliffe) inevitable confrontation with the dark wizard Voldemort grows closer, and Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) wants the young student to be prepared. He guides Harry through a memory of a young Voldemort, but an important moment is missing. Harry must extract this memory from the new Hogwarts teacher, Horace Slughorn (a perfectly slimy Jim Broadbent), who is as eager for fame as he is reluctant to revisit this painful moment. Meanwhile, romance rules the school of witches and wizards, with Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) refusing to admit their feelings for each other. Harry also harbors a secret love of his own: Ron?s younger sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright). But despite his crush, Harry keeps an eye on Snape (Alan Rickman) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), who may be responsible for attacks on the school. HALF-BLOOD PRINCE deftly balances the humor of Hogwarts heartbreak and the thrills of dark villains attacking the school. The cast is as talented as ever, and the youngest members--Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson--have developed their talent well. However, this film is most remarkable for its fine cinematography from AMELIE director of photography Bruno Delbonnel. Using a muted palette, Delbonnel makes Hogwarts look hauntingly beautiful in a way that fans have never seen. There?s always plenty of fun and adventure in the series, but this entry boasts impressive visuals as well.
Cast & Crew
"Composer Nicholas Hooper, cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel and designer Stuart Craig deliver a singularly muscular and vigorous chapter while all the visual and digital effects have now blended seamlessly into the package."
4.5 stars out of 5 -- "With Harry, Ron and Hermione feeling the pangs of love and ominous signs that the final battle is nearing, this is the most spectacular and richly satisfying POTTER movie yet, topping all that have come before it."
"Dazzlingly well made...this one is played in a mode closer to palpable life-or-death drama than any of the others and is quite effective as such."
3 stars out of 5 -- "Bumbling, funny and gentle, the rom-com tween heartache feels nicely played by a cast more at home with cheeky humour than dramatic heavy-lifting."
Los Angeles Times
"Yates in his second Potter film seems more comfortable with the franchise. He's turned out to be what the series has always felt it needed, a good steward of the material who is respectful of the novels but not overly reverential."
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "[S]pellbinding....The cinematography is stunning, and the story unfolds in a stately and unhurried fashion."
"[T]he three leads, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, give their most charming performance to date....HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, with its romantic triangle, its Quidditch high jinks, its gorgeous production design and its bang-up final action sequence, might be the most enjoyable Harry Potter movie yet..."
"[T]hose involved will find that the series has matured much as the books did. This is the darkest, saddest, most sophisticated HARRY POTTER film yet."
"Yates is generous with this ensemble, and they repay him with interest....[The cinematographer] makes gorgeous, Oscar-worthy panoramas of everything from impromptu tarantula memorials to handheld-shot, nightmare battles in tall, swampy grass."
3 stars out of 4 -- "[T]his sixth chapter is a darker, more ominous Harry Potter film....It opens and closes well, and has wondrous art design and cinematography as always..."
"[T]he filmmakers have found a way to refresh our eyes and enhance our appreciation for this rich, amazing creation." -- Grade: A-
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "Harry is better than ever, a triumph of wonder and emotional storytelling....All the actors excel at pulling us into the film's mysteries."
ReelViews 7 of 10
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince represents the immensely popular series' first outing without the net of having new books waiting in the wings. As far as the written word is concerned, Harry's tale is done. Cinematically, there are still two volumes to come (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2). The critical question for the movies' producers is whether Harry will be as popular now that his legions of stalwarts know how it all ends. The smart money would be on answering that question with a resounding "yes!" Nevertheless, in part because the source material for the sixth movie is inherently difficult to adapt and in part because of some questionable choices made by screenwriter Steve Kloves in terms of what should be left in and what should be cut out, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince represents the weakest chapter in the franchise since installment #2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. After three consecutive top-flight fantasy adventures, Harry has slipped a notch...The revelation that The Deathly Hallows has been bifurcated dims the arrival of The Half-Blood Prince; it is no longer the penultimate motion picture in the saga, but just another stepping stone on the way to the far bank. It is also the least self-contained of the Harry Potter movies. With the five previous productions, it was possible to enjoy them as separate but interconnected adventures (although the previous outing, The Order of the Phoenix, demanded some knowledge of the overall mythos). That is not true of The Half-Blood Prince. It needs to be seen in context. Neophytes will become frustrated and lose their way. This will not vex Potter fans but it may annoy those who have never picked up any of Rowling's books and prefer to view the films as throwaway diversions. The sixth Harry Potter movie has its share of flaws but nevertheless represents solid entertainment, and it extends a remarkable streak for a franchise that has gone six deep without one failure. Two more hits - something entirely possible with the same production team returning and a solid story as the foundation - and the Harry Potter cycle could go down as one of the most creatively rewarding long-running series of all time.
- James Berardinelli
Chicago Sun-Times 8 of 10
The climactic scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince takes place in one of those underground caverns with a lake and an ominous gondola as the means of transportation, popularized by The Phantom of the Opera. At first I thought -- no gondola! But then, one appeared, dripping and hulking. In another movie I might have grinned, but you know what? By that point, I actually cared...Yes, this sixth chapter is a darker, more ominous Harry Potter film, with a conclusion that suggests more alarmingly the deep dangers Harry and his friends have gotten themselves into. There was always a disconnect between Harry's enchanting school days at Hogwarts and the looming threat of Voldemort. Presumably it would take more than skills at Quidditch to defeat the dreaded Dark Lord...In one of the opening scenes, we find Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) late at night in a cafe of the London Underground, reading a copy of the Daily Prophet which poses the question: Is Harry Potter the Chosen One? By the film's end, he acknowledges that he has, indeed, been chosen to face down Voldemort (whose name should properly rhyme with the French word for "death," mort; also, since their word vol can have meanings such as "thief" and "steal," Lord Voldemort is most ominously named)...Some of these characters are reprised just as reminders. The giant Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), for example, turns up primarily to allow us to observe, look who's turned up! Snape, as played by Alan Rickman, is given much more dialogue, primarily I suspect because he invests it with such macabre pauses. Radcliffe's Potter is sturdy and boring, as always; it's not easy being the hero with a supporting cast like this. Michael Gambon steals the show as Dumbledore, who for a man his age certainly has some new tricks, so to speak, up his sleeve...I admired this Harry Potter. It opens and closes well, and has wondrous art design and cinematography as always, only more so. "I'm just beginning to realize how beautiful this place is," Harry sighs from a high turret. The middle passages spin their wheels somewhat, hurrying about to establish events and places not absolutely essential. But those scenes may be especially valued by devoted students of the Potter saga. They may also be the only ones who fully understand them; ordinary viewers may be excused for feeling baffled some of the time.
- Roger Ebert
Variety 9 of 10
Kids' stuff is a thing of the past in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Suddenly looking quite grown up, the students at Hogwarts are forced to grapple with heavy issues of mortality, memory and loss in this sixth installment in the series of bigscreen adaptations of J.K. Rowling's Potter tales. Dazzlingly well made and perhaps deliberately less fanciful than the previous entries, this one is played in a mode closer to palpable life-or-death drama than any of the others and is quite effective as such. Delayed by Warner Bros. from a late 2008 release date so as to spread the wealth after The Dark Knight scored so mightily last summer, this "Prince" is poised to follow its predecessors as one of the year's two or three top-earning films...As the overarching story ramps up toward one major character's death at the end of part six and the final confrontation between Harry and archfiend Voldemort in the climactic Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is being shot as a two-part film, this increased seriousness is all to the good. It's hard to imagine watching Half-Blood Prince as a Potter virgin without a clue as to what's come before, but it's a formidable entry with a heft and cinematic texture compromised only by a certain lack of dramatic modulation...It's this chapter in the Potter saga that obliges the always nasty but ambiguously motivated Severus Snape to show his true colors, and the indispensable Rickman delivers, as always, with line readings that are delicacies of the infinitely mordant kind. He is periodically egged on by the insidious Bellatrix Lestrange, a role Helena Bonham Carter plays with such mesmerizing abandon that one hopes the role fully pays off in the final chapter.
- Todd McCarthy