Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
June 22, 2016 9:49 PM - Subscribe

As Harry Potter begins his sixth year at Hogwarts, he discovers an old book marked as "the property of the Half-Blood Prince" and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort's dark past. Contains series and book spoilers.


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

The Half-Blood Prince reverts to overlength (screenwriter Steve Kloves has returned to duty), but still wrestles with blending the impending doom side of things (manifestations of which were a tad distressing to our smaller audience consultants) with the humour, heartache and angst of adolescent amours essential to what is, after all, a coming of age chronicle. But major plot points slip by (we’re still wondering what a horcrux is exactly!), big doings seem rushed and more everyday goings on extended. Do we really need another game of Quidditch to lighten the mood, when a destiny of doom and gloom is supposed to be closing in? Given the much-trailered destruction in London that opens the film, it seems odd that the consequences of that or anything else in the outside world don’t rate a mention. -Empire

NYT Review
My Own Thoughts:

This movie wasn't a better book adaptation than the previous films but I enjoy it more as a standalone film. There are a few adaptation things that bother me though.

-The destruction of the Burrow just seemed pointless to me. The Burrow is completely fine in the next film and there wasn't a plot reason for it other than a pointless Bellatrix scene. I mean, they had access to Harry in that scene but went for vandalism instead.
-They left out so many characters (mainly Bill Weasley and Dobby). They were relatively minor to the plot but they are awkwardly brought back in DH pt 1.
-Amortentia pretty much just makes Harry drunk. I suppose treating it like an inhibition lowerer makes sense and I can imagine it was difficult to just emote the effects of the potion.
-The identify of the Half Blood Prince wasn't as built up as the books and just kind of happened. It might just have been a thing that didn't translate well into a movie.
-It would have been nice to have Merope's story in the movie. She adds such a sad aspect to Voldemort's origins.
-We were robbed of getting an Astronomy Tower battle!!!!!!! Instead the Death Eaters just ran through the castle and did some mild vandalism.

Things I enjoyed:
-Jim Broadbent was excellent as Slughorn. Dumbledore's line about letting him collect Harry came across rather creepy though.
-The Ron/Hermione romance in this movie was pretty hilarious. I posted in the book discussion that I don't really get behind them as a ship but I enjoy how Emma Watson and Rupert Grint portray them.
-Ron was rather hilarious in this film. Between him and Harry discussing Ginny and Hermione's skin, his interventions at Christmas, Lav-Lav, and recovering from being poisoned.
-The Christmas party was one of my favorite scenes -- especially with the dragon balls gaff.
-The cave scene was particularly scary and did justice to the book
posted by toomanycurls (14 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
(Amortentia is the love potion. Harry never takes that. Felix Felicis is the liquid luck)
posted by wabbittwax at 7:02 AM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

This movie has a lot going for it, but it does really well with the few moments of comic relief. Harry's liquid luck scene is one of the best scenes in the whole series. I don't see Radcliffe's read of that as particularly drunk, but more uninhibited and cocksure, because you can see he just feels that he can do no wrong. I guess that's kind of like drunkenness of a certain kind.

And this exchange is pure gold:

Hermione: She's only interested in you because she thinks you're the Chosen One.

Harry: But I AM the Chosen One

THWAK! goes Hermione's book upside Harry's head.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:06 AM on June 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

... and Jim Broadbent is PERFECTLY cast as Slughorn. His delivery of the goldfish bowl story at the end of Harry's lucky night is beautiful and heartbreaking.
posted by wabbittwax at 9:00 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

(Amortentia is the love potion. Harry never takes that. Felix Felicis is the liquid luck)

Gah, that's going to bother me longer than it should.

The goldfish story makes me cry half the time. It's such a powerfully done moment.
posted by toomanycurls at 9:36 AM on June 23, 2016

I saw this in a theater farrrr too early on a Saturday morning so the only thing I really remember is Michael Gambon giving away the game with his line reading of "Severus, please."
posted by infinitewindow at 11:02 AM on June 23, 2016

I loved this movie except for one glaring omission. I had been waiting for 5 long movies to see Snape teaching DADA. I was so excited.

NOTHING. Not a millisecond. Still mad.
posted by town of cats at 12:46 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

That is a glaring omission. It's probably because I've seen the movie more recently than I read the book that I couldn't remember whether Snape was ever shown teaching DADA.
posted by wabbittwax at 1:11 PM on June 23, 2016

It's also a shame we never got to see the Gaunt family and Voldemort's mother, who I always kind of imagined looking like Sadako from The Ring.
posted by wabbittwax at 1:14 PM on June 23, 2016

Hearing the "there's no need to call me sir, professor" exchange would have been up there with the boggart scene in PoA.
posted by toomanycurls at 2:35 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I always read Harry's Felix Felicis scene as him being hiiiiiiiiiiiiigh as a kiiiiiiiite.
posted by angeline at 3:37 PM on June 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

This is my favorite HP Film. Just so many great moments.

".....the binding is fragile."
posted by lazaruslong at 9:40 AM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

I also love that scene in the library wabbitwax mentions. The way the movies handle Hermione and Ron is frequently not how I would have preferred, but that one moment captures Harry and Hermione's friendship well.
posted by Wretch729 at 5:09 PM on June 27, 2016

Favourite scenes not already mentioned: Harry deciding to go to Slughorn's do with someone cool and that means Luna. Actually all Luna's bits.

Ron under the influence; comedy gold.
posted by Coaticass at 3:51 AM on June 30, 2016

This really is the best of the movies, and I think it succeeds because it's not really trying to be much more than a drama about a bunch of teenagers at school together. That school happens to be a magic one, but the focus stays on the kids and their relationships with each other and it really pays off.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:46 PM on July 13, 2016

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