By Dave Campbell | July 15, 2009
Director: David Yates
Writer(s): Steve Kloves (screenplay), J. K. Rowling (novel)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, Helen McCrory, Bonnie Wright, Jessie Cave
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens after the return of the Dark Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Death Eaters are terrorizing both the Muggle and Wizard worlds, and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Now the castle is on high alert with additional security measures in place. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) suspects that new dangers lie within the castle, but Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is focused on preparing Harry for the upcoming battle that he knows is soon approaching.
The Professor needs Harry to help him uncover the secrets of Voldemort’s past that are only known by former Hogwarts’ Potions Professor, Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent). Dumbledore succeeds in convincing his old colleague to returning to his previous role by offering a nicer office, more money, amd the chance to teach Harry Potter. It is Professor Slughorn’s classroom where Harry obtains the Potions book which used to belong to the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
Meanwhile, the students of Hogwarts are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the castle grounds. Harry’s long friendship with Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) blossoms into something more, as her relationship with boyfriend Dean Thomas begins to crumble. Ginny’s older brother and Harry’s best friend Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), has a love triangle of his own to worry about, with Lavender Brown (Jessie Cave) gushing over his every move while Hermione (Emma Watson) steams with jealousy, yet remains determined not to show her true feelings.With romance in the air among the teenager wizards in training, Draco (Tom Felton) is asked to answer a new calling by fulfilling a dark request with Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) at his side. Tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth year for Harry at Hogwarts, and oh how our little man is maturing.The already well developed characters add further growth, driving the story full of excitement, drama, and anticipation. The cast of this film function like a well oiled machine, and by now probably consider each other family.The cinematography is simply gorgeous and complements the brilliant tone of the art direction. This film is the darkest and most suspenseful Potter film to date, while also maintaining a comic and light-hearted balance. That combination along with excellent performances across the board make Half-Blood Prince the most structurally sound of the series.
Nobody is trying to peddle action figures or fast-food kids meals here, as Half-Blood Prince is completely dedicated to delivering true well crafted storytelling. From the sweet teenage romances (which are somewhat overbearing at times) to the dark expansion of the mythology, Half-Blood Prince comes away as the most satisfying year at Hogwarts so far. The vibe, and ultimately the closing of the film solidifies that the Half-Blood Prince is the Empire Strikes Back of Harry Potter movies. May the wand be with you.