Review: Harry Potter 6
PLOT: 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.
REVIEW: 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. So I walked into this film expecting 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.
Probably my only complaint with THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE, is that the whole thing feels slightly anti-climatic, as it's all builds to an explosive climax that never really comes (or at least not yet, as production is already underway on the next two films, which will wrap up the franchise). Still, I guess one has to consider that these are not stand alone films, but rather all part of a massive saga. Overall, I was very impressed by this surprisingly dark and sophisticated entry into the series, and to my surprise, I actually wanted more as the credits rolled. For the first time, I'm actually looking forward to the next HARRY POTTER film- which is something I never thought I'd write.