Reviews

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

3

The penultimate Potter. Shaky but stirring...

Ever since we walked in on Harry fumbling with his glowing wand under the bed sheets at the start of Azkaban, the Potter franchise has secretly been about (whisper it) s-e-x as much as anything else.

Inside the first few minutes of The Half-Blood Prince, the boy wizard is chatted up by a sexy London waitress who puts it on a plate for him. But, as ever, he’s whisked away by Dumbledore…

“Oh, to be young and feel love’s keen sting!” says Hogwarts’ headmaster, wistfully. Forget the fact The Death Eaters are on the loose. Harry, Ron and Hermione under attack from their own urges.

Harry loves Ginny Weasley (wait for the shot where she drops to her knee to tie his shoelaces) and Hermione loves Ron (you can only imagine The Ginger One’s delight on discovering he spends most of the film snogging).

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. But boy, does it go on.

Cramming JK Rowling’s thin mish-mash of McGuffins and dead ends into another brogdingnagian runtime (an arse-flattening 153 minutes, this one), the sixth Potter film hardly bothers with action: flashpoint set-pieces include a wind-whipping, corkscrew Quiddich match, a girl violently possessed by unseen forces and a striking Death Eater attack in the swamps. But that’s your lot.

Much-needed spikes of darkness jolt from the memory-flashbacks to Tom Riddle (creepily played by nepotist rar-rar Hero Fiennes-Tiffin), which Harry must extract from potions professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent).

Radcliffe still mistakes jaw-clenching for acting – but a luck potion from Slughorn uncorks his funniest, freshest acting of the franchise. They should put the kid on an IV.

So hormones trump adrenaline, until thrills finally arrive at the finale as the demise of a key character sets up the Deathly Hallows’ upcoming double-whammy.

Dumbledore goes Gandalf on our asses, with a frightening, fiery finish that sees Harry venture into a dark, damp cave, populated by squirming white entities. Oh, you get the gist by now...

Verdict:

Twilight with laughs? Sort of. One of the Potter franchise’s breeziest entries yet offers flashes of darkness but lashings of teen tension. Less a movie than a set-up for next year’s epic conclusion. Bring on V-day.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • SpideyCrane

      Jul 8th 2009, 9:02

      4

      I actually think that Total Film are being a little harsh here. Whilst this film does lack a lot of action sequences, it has a great deal of heart and any Potter fan will come out of the film wanting the 7th film to get it's a**e in gear and arrive on our screens asap. If I could have given it 4 and a half out of five I would have. I've been lucky enough to see this 3 times already and the 153 minutes running time wasn't even noticable. Potter fans will love this, and yes, if you aren't a Potter fan, I can see why you wouldn't love it as much. But it's a very enjoyable film that sets up Deathly Hallows' perfectly. 2010 can't come quickly enough!

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    • superfurryliam

      Jul 8th 2009, 9:44

      Yeah but are you really going to trust a magazine that gave Transformers 2 four stars?

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    • scabo33

      Jul 8th 2009, 10:13

      4

      Maybe it deserved more Im sure fans will give it an extra star. We didnt need another dark pooter movie...its a release. Hallows will be dark enough!

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    • joeymac

      Jul 8th 2009, 11:44

      Seems a shame that this has been received as a setup piece for the next two. I thought it was the best of the books. But hey, His Dark Materials was a bloody awesome book and they've solidly seived the quality out of that.

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    • geekstinkbic

      Jul 8th 2009, 12:06

      I think is must be about time for a hollywood remake of Harry Potter 1 - they look so dated and have a wierd Dallas glow about em!? Maybe they can find a decent Harry this time :O) Watson can be in the remakes though ;O)

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    • Grinch11

      Jul 8th 2009, 14:23

      4

      SpideyCrane, I think I know your identity and I completely agree!! I have hardly been the biggest Potter fan up to this point, books or movies (Azkaban the obvious highlight), but was lucky enough to see Half Blood Prince last week and am pleased to report that it is without a shadow of a doubt the most brilliant and balanced Potter yet. It's the first time that the franchise has felt "epic", in both tone and storytelling. So what if the action is spread thin? I'd rather have the character interaction and odd set-piece of HBP than the bloated spectacle of Transformers 2. And dont worry about the rom-com vibe, its playful, light and incredibly rewarding, BUT when HBP wants to be dark, it's really really dark, and not in a Chris Colombus way ;)!!

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    • Grinch11

      Jul 8th 2009, 14:35

      4

      I completely agree with SpideyCrane (who's secret identity I think I know ;)) I have also been lucky enough to spend 153mins with the Half Blood Prince and can say that its easily the most balanced and brilliant Potter movie yet. As a barometer with which to measure that statement I will state for the jury that I have never been an admirer of the series in book or movie form (Azkaban was the obvious peak). And to complain that the action is too lean this time around, I think after the bloated spectacle of Transformers 2 (mini-review - like drinking a can of red bull, buzzing for 90mins, then feeling slightly tired before finally getting sick) I would happily take some character development and playful rom-com action. But thats not to say that this isn't "dark" (why do we feel the need to have everything go macabre??), because when HBP wants to be "dark" it truly is. This is the first time that the franchise has felt "epic" in both tone and storytelling. Pencil me in for a double header of Deathly Hallows. :)

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    • annunziato

      Jul 8th 2009, 19:29

      I haven't seen the film yet but do have tickets for 15/07/09. I am sure that I am going to love it and trust me when I say that I know that sounds a lot like obsessed but that is not the case. Order of the Phoenix was the best one to date and this one, in David Yates hands looks like its going to be even better. Have you not read the book?? You talk of next to no action, well that is the case with the book so what's your issue? Potter fans will know this going into the film. Harry Potters greatest strength is character and plot, action was always secondary. How you can give Transformers 2 4 stars is laughable and then blood prince 3 makes me wonder about your sanity.

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    • sashbash2

      Jul 8th 2009, 21:20

      3

      Too much teen romance, fair enough there should be some but only to the same extent of how much the books have, but this is just a 2 hour special of waterloo road.....with a bit of bluescreen added. Dumbledore may as well have had a small cameo by the way they (mis)treated his death. maybe its just a coincidence, but ever since David Yates took a seat in the directors chair, these movies have got more and more.... whats the phrase? An absolute whopping letdown to the millions of loyal fans, ye thats the one. Its bad enough yates has soiled two of JK rowlings masterpieces, but isn't he set to finish the franchise aswell......chin up warner bros. it gets 3 stars simply for being harry potter, other than that**s a sagging disappointment JUST LIKE ITS PREDECESSOR.

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    • mrsmiawallace

      Jul 11th 2009, 9:43

      Personally I loved the last one, so if it's anything like the 5th one then I'm going to be very pleased indeed. Am a little disappointed at the rating from TF, but they usually get it right, so I'm going to dampen my expectations accordingly.

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    • Lingdada

      Jul 11th 2009, 11:52

      All the Harry Potter movies are perfect fantasy pap for the under 16s school kids! The directorial pace of the movies is extremely plodding!< I've found the cinema trailers visually exciting and stunning locales> Maybe this kind of movie can be all seen in 10 minutes,rather than dragged out for 90?

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    • kinch0

      Jul 12th 2009, 19:38

      What a juvenile review. I expect this kind of language from a tabloid newspaper or Nuts or Zoo magazine, but Total Film? Anyone who STILL uses innuendo when refering to Harry's wand needs to seriously grow up. All of us over the age of 12 do not find it funny. Immature comments like that simply demean the publication you write for.

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    • bentgaga

      Jul 13th 2009, 7:21

      I'm not going to say anything about the film until I have seen it, but I would like to say that I agree with kinch0.. I am p-o-ed with this review, more about the actual film and less about how one thinks there are between-the-lines references to "s-e-x" would have been better.. I've only seen previews and I could say more about the film that is actually pertinent to the story than this review..

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    • bentgaga

      Jul 13th 2009, 7:31

      And sorry I just came back to find that this received the same rating as The Proposal..?

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    • annunziato

      Jul 15th 2009, 19:21

      4

      Well I've seen the film now and can say that I was not disappointed. They did make some choices that I am not sure were the right ones, such as the lack of Voldermort's history and family. I think that they decided to majorly reduce the battle finale probably due to the fact that a similar wand face off was in the last film and will be in the final one. When you think about how much is in the book I guess that they felt that to have the half blood book involved moreso and explain certain characters that have appeared with no explanation would have meant that the relationships story thread would have had to be curtailed somewhat. All in all I still found the film satisfying with great humour and excellent acting particularly by Grint,Gambon,Broadbent and Rickman. Radcliffe was also good but I felt Watson was a bit underused on this occasion. Like the book, the film acts to set up the final chapter and I have no issue with that. If it had been down to me I still would have spent more time on Snape, Malfoy and Voldemorts history as they were the more intriguing part of the book but I still enjoyed it and whole heartedly recommend it.

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    • Aimz18

      Jul 16th 2009, 12:12

      4

      I just saw the film yesterday, and as a stand alone movie thought it deserved more than 3 stars. Total film's comments about (let's whisper it) s-e-x are so ridiculous and as for wands one downfall of the film was you could have forgotten that the characters can do magic! For example Harry was often reduced to hiding round corners to listen secretly to conversations - hello that's why there's an invisibility cloak. What the film took from the book was done extremely well, and it was funny and entertaining. Unfortunately the decision to add fake scenes such as the burning of the weasley's home, while adding action and making use of Helena Bonham Carter's great acting wasted valuable screen time, which could have been used for some exploration into Voldemort's past - which would have added a further edge of darkness. Plus the Burrow (weasley house) does feature in the Deathly Hallows and is the location for Bill and Fleur's wedding, oh but hang on Bill and Fleur were mercilessly cut from this film, as were the house elves, at least Fred and George got an appearance, as did Lupin and Tonks, though their relationship was reduced to one sweetheart. I realise the filmakers don't have time for everything, but when they waste valuable screen time with rubbish that wasn't in the book, for example the bit with the girl at the start - this is Harry Potter, not Brief Encounter!! Plus when the likes of Dobby, Lupin and Tonks die in the final book, film goers are barely going to remember who they are let alone care when they die! (sorry if this spoils it for anyone) One more thing - Harry and Ginny's realtionship was reduced to a farce with mince pies and shoelaces taking centre stage - the characters are not meant to be 12! Aside from that I honestly did enjoy the film, it was funny and there was some great acting from the cream of British drama eg. Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter and even Tom Felton (Malfoy) did an excellent performance, which i don't think total film's review even mentioned! I'd say go and see it and enjoy it for what it is a good film franchise, but nothing compared to the books!!

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    • regieeallen

      Jul 16th 2009, 19:00

      5

      Grate movie Watch it http://watch-movie-online-free.com/

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    • Dominc

      Jul 17th 2009, 20:50

      4

      Not a bad film the 2nd halfs better than the 1st half but still a great film.

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    • TigerPhoenix

      Jul 17th 2009, 23:19

      4

      I've read the series....this movie is consistent with it. It rocks! I will see it once more in the theatre and I RARELY do that. I will also buy it on Bluray and I rarely do that, either. The movie needed to be long to cover the material...it's an epic(duh) and they still left things out for those of you who don't really want to be watching a movie. My only complaint was that the musical score borrowed from past ones when they should have made a whole new original score. The series is worth it and there certainly is enough money to finance some more amazing orchestration. Most people won't even notice, though. Can't wait for the next two movies! :)

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    • sweaterpuppy14

      Jul 18th 2009, 22:08

      i agree with superfurryliam

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    • bentgaga

      Jul 21st 2009, 7:55

      5

      now that i have seen it, i am going to rate it

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    • parker

      Jul 21st 2009, 8:36

      2

      the worst in the series. Havent read the book so i can only judge the movie and i was very disappointed. too much soap opera (at least 2 hours dedicated to everyones love lives) almost no action, no magic and absolutely NO STORY!!!! The title: half blood prince had no relevance to the plot (what plot?) I loved the third movie and i liked the fourth. Lets just hope the next is a little better

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    • hulk68

      Jul 22nd 2009, 10:45

      3

      The worst in the series, probably yes. However, not a terrible movie just average. Some of the talents such as Helena Bonham Carter are just wasted. DR still and will never act. The plot was thin and the movie was too long for its own right. However, the atmosphere was not bad. Plus its one of those movies that you've just got to see, especillay to know what's coming up next. I assume the next part will be better, what was it's name again?

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    • McGuffin

      Jul 24th 2009, 13:05

      4

      Although not the best film in the series, Azkerban still holds that crown for me, the film was still a huge success in my eyes. Much darker and certainly much more humorous, thanks mainly to the fantastically awesome acting of Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn, than any of the previous films in the series. The acting from the three main leads, especially from Grint and Watson, was great. Although Radcliffe’s acting ability is inferior to his fellow co stars, he is still improving with every film; the scene where he drinks the luck potion is a great example of this. Alan Rickman nails the character of Snape again, but it is the aforementioned Jim Broadbent who steals the show for me. For total film to complain about the lack of action is slightly irrelevant to me, as I have never really seen the Harry Potter series as huge action films. Of course they have action in them, but they rely much more on plot, storyline and character development rather than boring, mundane and badly filmed action set-pieces that we are used to seeing in modern blockbusters; Transformers 2 for example. If I had to criticise the film I would have to say that it was too long, and some scenes could have been cut out or at least trimmed down. The death of one of the main characters at the end could also have been done much better, as I felt it didn’t carry the emotional impact that it could or should have done. Overall I thought the film was a great success and can’t wait for the next two instalments.

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    • totalmilf

      Jul 26th 2009, 22:25

      3

      I did come out of this film feeling quite disappointed, after just reading the book a week earlier (perhaps I should learn not to do this in future!). I agree with some earlier comments that they left out some interesting parts of the book(relationship between Harry and Ginny is basicallly reduced to a kiss, Lupin & Tonks etc...), whilst adding on new stuff (like setting fire to the Burrow, which made no sense at all - weren't the whole family inside at the time? Wouldn't they all have died...??!!). I also agree that 'the demise of a major character' could have been dealt with a little more emotively, it left me somewhat underwhelmed, especially compared to scenes in the book (see part where Hagrid's hut is set on fire). As well as it not successfully evoking an emotional reaction, it just felt like all the drama had been sucked out of it. Of course I realise they can't cram everything from the book into the film, but I was surprised with the decisions made in terms of the inclusions and omissions. All in all it was a 3-star experience. Of course it's good because it's a Harry Potter film, but my red pen writes 'Could do better'.

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    • googlepeakoil

      Jul 27th 2009, 17:02

      2

      No spoilers... Problems with the film: The 'unhappy event' and the end of the film has almost zero emotion - it's just poorly handled. The big action sequence from the end of the book is notable by its absence (and a poor action sequence at the Weasley's that's not in the book and goes nowhere in the film - bad guys fly off after giving people a scare?) Key elements of the story, the number of Horcruxes are not discussed properly. The suspense about what Malfoy is doing is ruined by showing what Malfoy is doing. Snape's detention of Harry in the book. 1 lession of any kind was shown in the movie. Too much emphasis on romance - not enough on KEY plot items. Ron's brother, and several key characters cut completely... a truly missed opportunity... this could have been the dark Empire Strikes Back / Two Towers movie... scenes play too long, and are poorly directed. Harry stands around with his hands at his sides for most scenes. The whole suspense of who is the HBP is just not there at all, never (unlike the book) does Harry seem to do anything to try and discover who the HBP is. Fire the screenwriter - please!! Reshoot half this film - please!!

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    • DarthSpock

      Jul 29th 2009, 22:49

      2

      Gone are the days when Harry Potter was fun, happy, magical viewing. Now everything keeps getting darker and darker as harry tries to 'save the world' and grow up like his father. This movie was bland. There were many funny moments, but they were shodily mixed in with the dark depressing bits. I loved Harry getting high on Liquid Love but when it finally came to the bit where we were all waiting for at the end, it was like "oh that is it" followed by a cringingly cheesy raising of the wands, I was left confused. It was like someone had written a terrible dark script and given it to someone who writes comedy who just threw in some laughs. For a movie as long as this you would have thought they would cram in lots from the book, hardly any was added. Ginny Weasly can't and never will be able to act. Dumbledores accent fluctuates uncomfortably, Hagrid was cheated out of screen time, didn't hear the classic theme tune once, Daniel Radcliffe is still annoying and the Weasleys twins shop was great...for the 12 odd seconds it was on screen. £5 wasted, i say bring back Chris Columbus and make like they did back with Philosophers Stone and Chamber.

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    • MikeyRix

      Jul 31st 2009, 19:47

      2

      Where do I begin with Harry Potter 6 (or Harry Potter s**t)? It was very cold - no emotion in Dumbledore's death. Daniel Radcliffe cannot act to save his life, ergo, his salary should be cut by at least 80%. They dragged out the last half an hour. Too much snogging. As Rorscach would say, "No. No. NO! NO! STUPID! STUPID!"

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    • joeymac

      Aug 3rd 2009, 22:23

      3

      Urr. Wasn't the reason Dumbledore lost his wand to Draco Malfoy because he used the vital few seconds freezing Harry? I did love the back-story to Voldemort's life in the book and was sorely disappointed not to see it on-screen, but really: Dumbledore just being straight up beaten by Draco Malfoy?

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    • randomsmartie

      Aug 4th 2009, 4:26

      4

      The death of Dumbledore, I think, has really left the famous three stumped of what to do next. I also think that Draco Malfoy was also a good person to twist into the plot aswell. The graphics of the action scenes were just completely mind-blowing and one-of-a-kind. Overall a good film but it definately needed tweaking in places.

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    • nolanfan

      Aug 9th 2009, 10:37

      3

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    • nolanfan

      Aug 9th 2009, 10:38

      3

      Not bad, too much romance

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    • nolanfan

      Aug 9th 2009, 10:39

      3

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    • Doodrop

      Aug 20th 2009, 12:01

      I recently saw harry potter and the half blooded prince in the cinema and thought it was excellent this was my first harry potter film i had seen in the cinema and will do so again www.vidworldnorth.com

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    • captainchod

      Nov 5th 2009, 14:12

      3

      Uneven tone but entertaining throughout. Felt like a build up to the last film(s) though.

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    • jacoblost48

      Dec 1st 2009, 11:55

      3

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    • Ali1748

      Dec 7th 2009, 19:08

      4

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