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Philly2Philly Philm Review: Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

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The 6th film in the Harry Potter series entitled, "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" is being called the greatest one of the series yet.

Having seen them, I can certainly understand why.

It's easier for me to write a review on this movie because I'm not what one would call a "Potter Head" although in my high school and college days I was called a name similar to that.

Being more objective about this film makes it all the more easier to write this review though.

The film opens with a wild sequence where evil creatures appear in the form of some black dust and they destroy a bridge in England.  Headlines in the paper Harry Potter Half Blood Princeappear about the deaths on the bridge.  Times are different these days.  People are disappearing.  The forces of evil seem to be gaining an upperhand against the forces of good.

But, the "chosen one" as he is so often referred to in this film, Harry Potter is ready to take on all-comers.

Professor Snape (Allan Rickman) is accosted by Lord Voldemort's minions and asked to look out for Draco Malfoy.  He promises them in the form of a promise called an "Unbreakable Vow", where one must follow through with their promise or face certain peril.

There are many beautiful performances in this film.  And, it's not without some comic relief.  The subplot between Ron Weasley and his girlfriend provides many laughs.  In one scene Ron is captivated by the moon during his love-induced stupor.  Alas he's been overtaken by the love potion.

Harry carries with him the book of potions which were the creation of "The Half Blood Prince." Only in the end do we see who this Half Blood Prince is, and it's certainly a plot twist that will throw you for a loop.

The best performance in this film in my opinion and one which is very critical to the development of the entire story lasted less than 10 minutes.  And, it was by the youngster who played Tom Riddle at age 16.  He played the role of the young Voldemort with such conviction that he'd scare the life out of the likes of Anton Chigurgh-the killing machine in No Country For Old Men.  I'm almost yearning for them to make a movie that includes more of the young Tom Riddle in it.  In this scene the young Riddle asks Professor Sloghorn (Jim Broadbent) about how one can essentially live forever, by splitting their soul up and attaching it to an object that becomes a "Horcrux."  This is how Voldemort continues to live on.

The subtext of the entire movie leads you to believe that Draco Malfoy will try to kill Harry Potter or worse Dumbledore.

A major theme of the movie is trust.  Harry is told to trust Professor Snape because Dumbledore trusts him.  As we see in the very beginning of the movie, this might not be a good idea as Snape becomes the shield for the young Malfoy.

The movie is not without it's lighter moments though.  It's certainly a dark movie and has a very sad moment and many dark moments, but it's blended together with a lot of comedic moments, and some action too.

The biggest plot twist of the entire series occurs towards the end of the film and unless you read the book you don't quite see it coming, although you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach that this movie won't end in a good way.

I'm inclined to agree with the majority on this one, this is the best of the bunch as far Harry Potter movies go.  It has the perfect blend of drama, comedy, special effects, and even though it runs 2 1/2 hours, doesn't feel like it.  The editing is on point; never missing a beat.  And, like all Harry Potter movies, it is a beautifully shot film.

There's still two more to follow and once you see this one you'll be looking forward to the denouement.

* * * 1/2 stars out of * * * *