Monday, July 26, 2010

#33 - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - 2009

My 5th movie this week that I watched was Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. This was the third time for me that I would be seeing this film as I had seen it previously two times in the theater. Not being a Harry Potter fan until around the 3rd film I have really come to enjoy this series and I'm looking forward to the final two films coming out later this year and next summer. Below is my detailed review of this film.

This was the 7th film in the franchise and one of my favorites. Since these films can get very detailed and are filled with all kinds of interesting characters and storylines I will keep this review rather short since some of you may not even know what I'm talking about when stating specifics about the film. Basic plot of this one is that Harry Potter is approached by Professor Dumbledorf to gain information out of newly hired Professor Horace Slughorn who holds information about Lord Voldemort's past. Professor Slughorn was a new character added to this series whom I enjoyed thoroughly and will always remember him as the goofy dad in the film the Borrowers.

While these movies are rich in special effects the characters and storyline of these films are just as important. Now obviously these were books first and due to the length of these books I have never read a single page however I think I prefer it that way. Although you can personally imagine what the characters and creatures would look like had you read the book I actually prefer for such a lengthy series like this to have the characters already set and to follow them on their journeys throughout the years. I have enjoyed most of the characters in these films and this 7th film was no different.

I always enjoy the main characters in this film, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Severece Snape. Those are my favorites but I also really enjoy Bellatrix Lestrange who is played wonderfully by Helena Bonham Carter. The new additions to this film that I loved were Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) and Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch). Evanna Lynch reminded me very much of Anna Faris and seemed as though she could easily be her sister. I loved her quirkiness and would have loved to have seen her in more of the film. I know I sound like a broken record but all of the characters in these films are great and unique in their own sort of way. I also really like the character Draco Malfoy played by Tom Felton. He is so easy to hate in these films and that is a true testament of being a good villain actor.

The scenery, setting, and backgrounds of this film were amazing but that goes without saying. I mean Hogwarts alone is always a treat to see in these films with its picturesque mountainess backdrops and the floating candles, moving staircases, and animated picture frames throughout the school. There is always something new and interesting at Hogwarts and secret doors and rooms throughout and that is what makes it so cool looking. One thing I especially love about most scenes at Hogwarts is that it is often snowing there which makes it that much more beautiful!

In this movie in particular my favorite special effects scenes would have had to be the following. The cleanup scene at Horace Slughorn's house at the beginning was phenomenal. The Deatheaters terrorizing the city in the beginning and the realistic bridge collapse was pretty cool too! I loved the floating Orange balloon type decorations at the Christmas Party, reminded me of elegant looking pumpkins actually. The Library scene where Hermione is talking to Harry and putting away books is cool looking. There is something about these films and their "floating" objects! I'm always a sucker for the Quidich scenes so I loved that one as well. Last but not least I loved the entrance of the train as it entered through the woods and arrived at Hogwarts. Not too many special effects in this scene but the dark woods and the entrance of the train was cool to me.

As far as action goes there was plenty of that as well. The original Deatheaters scene was cool as was the suspense driven battle in the cornfields at the Weasley's home on Christmas. That particular scene was very well done and the sound editing was excellent. I always love chase scenes through cornfields and it always reminds me of Signs and E.T. It was sad to see the Weasley's home go up in flames though at the hands of the Deatheaters and on Christmas none the less. My favorite battle/action scene was at the end when Professor Dumbldore and Harry Potter were in the very dark and creepy cave. The incredibly cool and dark looking creatures who are actually dead human's arising from the water were awesome and I loved how both times I saw this with my wife it scared her when they first emerged out of the water and grabbed Harry. The whole sequence was cool and visually pleasing.

There were a lot of things I loved about this film and it only makes me want to see the final two even more now. These movies really never lag at all and that is very unusual in this series considering most of them have a run time of more than 140 minutes, this one was 153 minutes. There is a reason these movies are blockbusters and will always be family favorites and I am very happy I got into the series awhile back. In keeping with this week's onslaught of great movies this one keeps a streak of "A" grade movies going at five as I would easily give this film a grade of A!

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