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Film Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Jul 13, 2011 04:53AM ● By Wendy Sipple

The sixth film of the series sees David Yates return and team with Steve Kloves. Together this creative team closes out the series. The Half Blood Prince firmly establishes the relationships of key characters that had played background roles until this film, in particular Professor Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy and Snape. In addition this film finally reveals the key to defeating Lord Voldemort and sets the path of our main characters for the final chapter in the series.

David Yates quickly establishes yet again a perfect mix of reality and wonderment in this film. His knack for handling the drama and relationships amongst the variety of characters and setting is unparalleled. This film is again pack with superb actors and the children actors that have grown to young adults have really developed into terrific actors themselves. The most surprising to me in this film was Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy. In previous films he was limited to sneering as he spoke vicious one liners. In this film his performance is outstanding as someone who is carrying a terrible burden. It’s written into his face in every scene. Alan Rickman gets a larger role to shine here too and his take on Snape is one of the series highlights from each movie.
The entire film had a foreboding nature, much more than the previous films. The dark forces are definitely taking its toll on every character in the film. The impending sense of doom is ever present. Distrust seems to be spreading amongst our heroes while Lord Voldemort seems to be quickly growing his power. It is really impressive how Lord Voldemort seems to have a firm grasp on how he plans to get from point A to point B and how quickly he seems to be able to get what he wants to accomplish done. This makes him a terrifying threat without the need of much screentime. 
The Half Blood Prince was another very long novel that Steve Kloves had to edit down into a single two hour movie. He does an outstanding job here making the right call everytime. Although there are some spots of action, The Half Blood Prince plays mostly as a drama until the end. By now though the characters are so established it is fun watching the drama unfold.
The film does end with a bang. The trip Dumbledore takes Harry on is haunting and without question shows how tall the task will be to take out Voldemort. The stakes are raised to a degree in the film you feel that no character is safe, including Harry Potter. When this film ends it does not exit on a happy ending but actually quite a low point for the main characters. Without any doubt the series will take a serious change in direction and the task at hand is quite daunting.
The Harry Potter series gets better with each film and David Yates gets a huge amount of credit with how sophisticated the story and characters are handled. Steve Kloves has really got his craft for adapting the novels down now and he makes great decisions on what to include and what to edit out. Heading into the final two films (adapted from the final book) the series is fresh, exciting, and operating on all cylinders. 


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Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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