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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
There are a few things you should know going into this review. First, I am not a Harry Potter follower. I have not seen any of the first five Potter films nor have I read the books. If you check out the archives you will see that I have always sent someone else to cover these releases. Please note that I am certainly not anti Harry Potter. I am just Harry Potter complacent. I always looked at the films as more for younger viewers and having never really been into the fantasy world they held little or no appeal. But for the 6th installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I set out to get to the bottom of this craze once and for all and find out what, if anything I had been missing. So if you are like me then this review is a must read for you. If you are like the two Potter crazed young ladies who accompanied me to the screening then you still need to read this in order to get an idea of what lay in store for you as well.
I joked after the screening that I had just witnessed Gandalf the Gray help young Anakin fend off a herd of Gollum’s with the world’s smallest light saber. For as a newbie that is the feeling I got and how I processed it. In this installment Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his two companions Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are back at school and settling into a new year. The return of a past professor (Jim Broadbent) seems innocent enough until Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) confides in Harry that this teacher has insight into the world of Tom Riddle and Lord Voldemort. The discovery of an old potions text book by Harry marked “property of the half blood prince” only adds to the mystery.
I actually enjoyed this film for the most part. I found the characters charming and witty. The side plots of “who’s zooming who” added much comic relief and made these future wizards quite endearing. Having not seen any of the earlier films I had nothing to gage this on but went in hoping for a delightful and engaging film. Other than a few lulls and an absence of any sort of real action I walked out feeling better than I had for most of this summers anticipated releases. After talking to my companions I discovered I was at an advantage having no prior experience since they all seemed a little disappointed and felt the film did not live up to its predecessors. Once again, ignorance is bliss.
This installment is rated PG where as the last two (Order of the Phoenix and Goblet of Fire) had earned a PG-13 rating. I think I got cheated out on some intense action due to this and I felt like just when something exciting was about to happen they pulled back and didn’t allow it to come to term. Might be selfish on my part but I felt this made for a very non eventful film. It was good for me since I needed more time to get to know the characters and learn my way around Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry yet those familiar with these things may have found this one monotonous and repetitive.
Bottom line is that I can state assertively that you do not have to be a HP fanatic to have fun at this film. If anything it sparked my curiosity and I now want to go back and watch the first five to see more of these characters who I grew quickly to like. I would hope that even the most die hard fans would find something to latch onto in this one but from some of the discussions I have had, I am not very confident. The PG rating may have opened the door to a larger audience but in doing so may have offended some of the returning fans wanting action and intensity. The PG rating is for scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality. To call it dark would be a stretch and the violence comes mainly from the little tinker bell wands they all wave around. Take away the few very dull and laborious scenes I still found this to be a decent film. I could have used more action but I am not totally disappointed in what they offered up in exchange. I give Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 3.75 out of 5 love potions. It made a fan out of me and I was a hard sell from the start. Just be careful where you point your wand. So says Matt Mungle
Matt Mungle (7/14/09)
Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.
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