Uneven, But Entertaining
JLFM - wrote on 08/17/13
This may feel very much like a cut-and-paste job of my other Harry Potter reviews. Because even though Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the weakest chapter in the series thus far (beating out the previous entry, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), it still boasts almost everything that has made the other Potter films so enjoyable- just in slightly smaller measures.
Harry Potter is told by Dumbledore to become friends with a new teacher at Hogwarts, named Horace Slughorn. This is so that Potter can extract a memory from Slughorn that he has been hiding out of shame. The revealing of this memory is key to discovering more about Voldemort and his plan.
The first half of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince- while not without its moments- is very much lacking in the story and magic department. For a while, we're not sure where the story is going, as the majority of the focus appears to be on romantic relationships. And while the romance is not written as poorly as other notable teenage-aimed films, it does fall into a number of cliches, and these sub-plots are uninteresting.
This is also causes the first half of the film to have a much lighter tone than some of the preceding Potter films- even more so than The Order of the Phoenix, which has been one of the lightest Potter films so far.
Still, after the first half, the tone becomes darker, the story is much improved, and we have a couple surprising plot twists that I won't spoil.
The visual effects are excellent, and the cinematography (especially in the dazzling opening sequence) is fantastic. The characters are here, and are still lovable. Two characters that intrigued me when they were introduced in The Order of the Phoenix- Luna Lovegood and Bellatrix Lestrange- have been more developed this time around.
The acting is good, as was the case for most of the Potter films. Performances are solid, though there isn't really a standout.
The score, composed by Nicholas Hooper, is by far the weakest of the series. Nothing in the score that I heard in the film was unique, engaging, or intriguing. Indeed, there were few moments when I even noticed the score. One portion of the film also seemed to use the "rose" theme from Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which did not help the score's cause.
It may be the worst in the series, but Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is an enjoyable, if uneven fantasy flick, further aided by a surprising twist. Given the ending of this film, I'm intrigued to see where the series will go next.