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Author: Bill Ramey
July 14, 2009

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CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Gambon, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, et al.
DIRECTED BY: David Yates
WRITTEN BY: Steve Kloves
RELEASE DATE: July 15, 2009

A little disclaimer first: Iím not a HARRY POTTER fan.

Havenít read any of the books, but I have seen all of the films. Hey, I have three kids ages 14, 12, and eight you know. Honestly, I don't know if I would've seen any of them if it wasn't for that fact, but they've all been good nonetheless.

With that out of the way, on with the review...

Truth be told, I donít know exactly how to review HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE.

Usually, I have issues with films in which you have to have a wealth of knowledge simply to know what the hell is going on, you know what I mean? Like that TERMINATOR SALVATION earlier this Summer. If you hadn't seen the previous films, you were going to be lost. Yet, they billed it as being assessable to everyone, but it wasnít.

But honestly, I can't hold that sort of thing against these HP films -- especially this one.

Really, this is the sixth film of the series and it is what it is: The continuation of the previous five films and the set up for the grand finale. If you didnít read the books (like me) or have not seen the preceding movies, HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is going to be a moot point.

In other words, nowís certainly not the time to get on board. If you try to, it'll be like jumping into the lake with your hands and feet tied. If that's you, just wait and watch 'em all eight on DVD once available. Of course, you could go buy or rent numbers 1-5 and take them in one 12+ hour marathon. Anyway...

If youíre still with me here, Iím going to assume from this point on that you have been following the series on the big screen since THE SORCERORíS STONE premiered back in 2001.

I suppose I could just cut to the chase and tell you whether I liked it or not. SoÖ

I did Ė quite a bit.

EMMA WATSON as Hermione Granger, RUPERT GRINT as Ron Weasley
and DANIEL RADCLIFFE as Harry Potter. (Photo by Jaap Buitendijk)

In fact, itís right up there with my personal fave of the series, PRISONER OF AZKABAN. That there spotlights whatís great about this film and this series: While many other franchises may be sputtering and breaking down at this point, HARRY POTTER is still going strong quality-wise.

Iím telling you, thereís nothing tired about this movie. None of the actors appear to be going through the motions and mailing in a performance. Think about it, most of these folks have been at this for almost decade! You got to think that theyíre ready for this to be over, right? Regardless, not a hint of disinterest from anyone in the cast Ė quality turns by all.

Aesthetically, the film is simply beautiful to look at. The overall visual tone of the film, the cinematography, and the F/X Ė just tremendous! This might be the best-looking film of the series. Itís got this strong gothic vibe seeping with doom. In fact, it reminded me a bit of BATMAN RETURNS (which I hate) looks-wise. Regardless, my eyes liked what they saw and it fit the film nicely.

Since Iím not into rehashing an entire storyline of a film when doing reviews, Iíll keep this plot synopsis at a minimum. Basically, itís Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Prof. Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) growing closer as they began to prepare for the final showdown with Lord Voldemort.

In addition, thereís teenage love and angst, humor (more than I expected and funny as well), and a mystery involving a professor who has returned to Hogwarts. Learning his secret just may hold the key to ultimately defeating The Dark Lord once and for all.

Oh yeah, if youíre wondering who is ďHalf-Blood PrinceĒ thatís answered at the end as the ďBig Reveal.Ē If youíve read the book, you wonít be surprised. I didnít, so I was.

While rated PG, HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is a dark, and somewhat disturbing, film. There ainít no happy ending here kids. And according to my 14 year-old HARRY POTTER-obsessed daughter, it getís even darker in the finale Ė which is split into two films.

Iím certainly looking forward to Ďem.

One last thing, is it just me, or is playing John Lennon in a biopic in that Daniel Radcliffe's future?


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