Review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Growing Pains of the Chosen Boy Wizard
by Dana Quigley
The latest installment of the cinematic Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, leaves fans quite satisfied with its substantial dose of the wizarding world. The movie, which moves at pace on par with a golden snitch, mostly remains true to J.K. Rowling's original plot, but diehard fans are sure to be disappointed by the exclusion of major events from the book's ending.
Though Voldemort is completely absent from the film, his loyal minions crawl out of the woodwork to openly attack both wizard and muggle communities. An epic war between good and evil clearly looms. Indeed, throughout the movie both sides try to gain an edge over the opposition. In a symbolically parallel plotline, the maturing students at Hogwarts attempt to make sense of the inner workings of the opposite sex. Hormones have attacked the teenage cast of characters like a terrible case of dragon pox.
The audience is given a glimpse of the start of Tom Riddle's transformation to Lord Voldemort, along with a better understanding of Draco Malfoy's precarious fate as a Death Eater's son. The film concludes with a serious blow to the forces of good and sets the tone for the next two films.
Maturing on and off screen
Harry Potter ( Daniel Radcliffe) is no longer a "boy wizard;" he's more like an almost-an-adult-but-not-quite wizard, which Dumbledore playfully points out when telling Harry to get a shave. The audience first sees Harry engaged in a flirtatious exchange with a muggle coffee-shop waitress, a scene added for the film adaptation that sets the tone. As Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) come to realize their feelings for each other, Harry begins to accept his own feelings for Ron's sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright). The awkward tension between the characters is palpable and subsides only when they confess their feelings toward the end of the movie.
The actors themselves have grown up. The once-budding cast of young actors appears more confident and natural onscreen. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince boasts the most refined acting thus far in the series, and the special effects are bigger and more spectacular than ever.
Impending doom with a side of hilarity
Most of the movie is funny; the other half is, well, riddled with threats of fast-approaching doom. The aforementioned coffee-shop scene comes only after the Death Eater's wreak havoc on muggle London. The movie follows this pattern to the very end, constructing a dichotomy between mortal peril and merriment. While the plot holds true to much of the original content, the flip-flopping proves much too formulaic.
The movie lacks the same climax and anticlimax that made the book such a compelling read. This is in large part due to the exclusion of two of the most important events in the book. These omissions are the only glaring fault in the movie. Other than that, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a tour de force.
More Harry Potter resources and activities
If you need to teach it, we have it covered.
Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of expertly curated worksheets, activities, and lessons created by educational publishers and teachers.Start Your Free Trial