After a long wait for a 6th Harry Potter film, then thanks to Warner Bros‘ successful 2007 yet an even longer wait, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince finally landed in theaters yesterday. Knowing the Potter tale from cover to cover, I knew I was going to watch this flick, but for the same reason, I knew that Half Blood Prince wasn’t going to be the ultimate wizard showdown. That’s the first thing you need to know going into this flick this Summer as many of you out there line up for tickets in the next little while. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is not really like any other Potter story. The saga will continue on for two more feature films and according to JK Rowling‘s stories, Half Blood is one of the most important components for driving Harry to the end.
Think of Half Blood as the calm before the storm – the last opportunity for Rowling to focus on the characters other than Harry and explain Ron, Ginny, Draco and Hermione as people other than students at Hogwarts. For the movie franchise, Half Blood ties up some loose ends before the big sprint to the finish. Plot-wise there isn’t much to it. Although the books are much more detailed, Half Blood’s purpose is simply there for one major reason and not really anything more in terms of the whole Harry versus Voldemort saga. There are a few surprises, but in the end you’ll realize that this flick is there to drive the overall story arc.
The Harry Potter characters are always strong. Watching them grow up before our eyes in the previous 5 flicks has been something quite unique as the child actors have become young adults. By the end of all of this it’ll be an event to watch them grow up before your eyes when you sit down and do a Harry Potter marathon. Half Blood takes these characters and shows how much they have changed since the beginning. No longer are the children at Hogwarts simply there to learn magic and play quidditch – Harry and his friends are now in place to save the magic world. They understand this, they accept it and now that Half Blood is over with, they have an opportunity.
From a big screen experience I’m going to be a bit brutal. Half Blood Prince is probably the worst story of the bunch to experience in the theater. Unlike any other Harry Potter film, Half Blood doesn’t focus on a battle or a great visual effect that will blow your socks off. Instead, it focuses on the character tales and the evolution of the story. Because of this, I would suggest not spending the extra cash and checking this out in IMAX or 3-D. If you’ve read the books and are expecting to see some of the more imaginative components of the story played out before your eyes with brilliant animation, I wouldn’t hold your breath. I’m not saying there is no action, but if you were to compare the 3-D experience with the normal movie theater experience, it would be difficult to find an advantage.
Finally the nitty grtitty, the part of the review where I either suggest watching it or waiting for it to come out on DVD. So here we go. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is a necessary film. With layers upon layers of story to try and cover, director David Yates and his creative crew have had to make some major sacrifices in order to keep your ass from falling asleep in the theater. Because of this, they have chosen to stick with the anticipation of the Harry/Voldemort showdown and they use Half Blood to wrap up most of the other stories. You’ll see Ron and Hermione finally get together on a teenage level and Harry and Ginny fooling around for a little bit, but in the end you’ll realize that all of this was simply… Necessary. Because of this I’m going to have to split my recommendation into two (total cop-out I know). If you’re a fan of the books and and you are as obsessed as those kids who draw lightning bolts on their heads and talk with British accents, then you’ll understand that this is probably one of the better Harry Potter stories to play out. If you’re simply a fan of the films and you’re looking for the Summer’s action packed adventure tale about kids in wizard school, then I would suggest renting the Order of the Phoenix. So, knowing these two things I’m giving Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince an 8 out of 10 penguins on the flightless bird scale. The story is necessary and if you understand the franchise you’ll get it. If you don’t then I’m sorry to have to tell you, you will be disappointed with the lack of action.