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Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince
BLU-RAY disk
12.29.2009 By: Chris Bumbray
Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince order download
Director:
David Yates

Actors:
Daniel Radcliffe
Emma Watson
Rupert Grint
Michael Gambon
Alan Rickman

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) & co., are back for another year at Hogwarts, and this year, not only will they have to deal with their raging pubescent hormones, but also the minions of the evil Lord Voldemort.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Before reading this review, know this: I am not really a Harry Potter fan. I've never read any of the books, and I haven't even bothered seeing the last few films, as the franchise has never really struck a chord with me. Having only seen the early, Chris Columbus POTTER films, I fully expected this to be a light, kiddie adventure film- which right there, should tell you exactly how much I know about the series- which is zilch.

To my surprise, I actually really enjoyed this installment. Having missed the last few outings, I was shocked at how dark the series has become- although, to my understanding, the series (both the movies & the books) has gotten progressively darker with each subsequent entry. A couple of sequences in the film are very intense, and I'm actually somewhat surprised this managed to squeak by with a PG rating. There's one scene, involving scores of sea creatures intent on dragging Potter to a watery grave, that was downright creepy. Also- the final scenes with Dumbledore are extremely powerful, and intense- and may upset some younger audience members. However, for me, this new dark direction was a welcome surprise, as this is the first time in the series that I was truly gripped by what I was seeing onscreen. While initially I figured I'd be completely lost in the Potterverse, I surprisingly never had any trouble following the fairly complicated plot.

For me, what really made the film work were the top notch performances- especially from Daniel Radcliffe, and Emma Watson, both of whom have matured into damn fine actors. I was especially impressed by the way Radcliffe was able to hold his own opposite heavyweights like Michael Gambon (who returns as Dumbledore- for his meatiest role yet), and Jim Broadbent, who plays the daffy, yet tormented new addition to the Hogwarts staff- Professor Slughorn. That said, no one can ever really complain about the HARRY POTTER cast, which has always featured a who's who of British actors- including one of my personal favorites, Alan Rickman, who returns as the sinister Professor Snape.

THE EXTRAS
Being a POTTER title, this blu-ray is predictably loaded to the gills with extras. Probably of the most interest to fans is First Footage from The Deathly Hallows which is essentially a quick teaser running just over a minute. Next up we have the Maximum Movie Mode which is a fancy way of saying this is a PiP track.

Next, some behind the scenes footage with Close-Up with the Cast of Harry Potter, and One Minute Drills which is a feature that has the central actors try to some up their character arcs up to this point in sixty seconds.

POTTER fans will eat up the next feature, which is J.K Rowling - A Year in the Life which takes an interesting look at the woman behind Potter and her process. Next up, What's on Your Mind? where the kid who plays Draco plays interviewer with the cast, followed by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is a look at an upcoming Universal Studios Theme Park attraction based on the films. Finally, some additional scenes , a digital copy, and a standard DVD version.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
After receiving the blu-ray, and sitting through this film for a second time, I really am shocked by how grown-up the series has begun to feel. I must admit, I'm somewhat ashamed that it took me this long to give in and really give the franchise a chance, and I'm really looking forward to the next two films. As for the blu-ray- I think this is a no-brainer for any POTTER fan. Heck, even if you're not a POTTER fan, you might want to give this a spin. It's really a damn fine film- which really roves just how far the franchise has come in eight years.
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