In the sixth installment of the film series, adolescent wizard-in-training Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts for another year of schooling. He discovers a mysterious book that sheds light on the sordid past of the evil Lord Voldemort.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceDirected byDavid Yates
The most cinematic of the Potter films & perhaps the first to really translate its themes into images (a bird cage within a bird cage etc) as opposed to just illustrated text. The tone is still uneven & often expositional, but there's a much greater emphasis on the emotional journey of characters; the sense of loyalty & betrayal, & how these tie into the greater narrative that weaves throughout the series as a whole.
Ralph Fiennes absence was felt, but it was great seeing Voldemort back to when he was 'just' a student. The set pieces (the Astronomy Tower, the Cave) were quite nice, and the film's palette of warmer tones gave it a distinct look by comparison to other entries of the saga. In the end, Dumbledore's death still felt a bit anticlimactic to me and Drako's inner conflict should have been better explored.
Out of all the HP installments, Half-Blood Prince features the most striking camerawork. The 6th film in the series also manages to produce genuine laughs, rather than a few chuckles conjured up by the earlier movies' shortcomings.
It's a real film - it establishes rules, sticks to them, and for once everyone acts. I had fun. I'm a sucker for Bruno Delbonnel, even if some of the film does look a bit like a christmas advert at times. I loved it, warts and all. Consider yourselves lucky I skipped the pun, just then.
I think this is the first time Harry Potter gets really, really mature for real since this saga changing its tone in Prisoner of Azkaban. Half-Blood Prince is dark, engaging, exciting, and it's a slightly improvement for this saga. The interesting part is when this movie showed a little information of Voldermort's childhood. I feel the editing or transitions a little bit rough. But the cinematography is stunning!
These films really highlight the subjectivity of the phrase, "spirit of the book". Here is an overall lack of action, which could be confused with dull. But this film is completely, maybe to a fault, focused on characters - which they get mostly right - and their relationships, which felt real. Action sequences, exuberance, and flow be damned if it means caring about the people we're watching.