Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) – 4.5/5

Whoa! Talk about a special effects extravaganza. Though not as good as Alfonso Cuaron’s brilliant 3rd entry, it still manages to charm, entertain, and amaze quite well. I’d say it’s about on par with the previous film, also directed by the same guy.

This is one of those few movies that actually could have used another 30 minutes or so of material. There’s a lot that was left out or smoothed over, too much, in fact. The film stands on its own, but only just so. A lot of good, interesting stuff is cut, to its detriment. It’s understandable given the plot of the novel, but it’s still disappointing as much of the issues seem to stem from poor character development.

And so much sexual tension, geez. I don’t think even the book had as much drama going on as this does. Though I think they made a huge mistake casting the rather plain faced Bonnie Wright as “Ginny,” Ron’s sister and Harry’s love interest, as she’s not nearly as attractive or spunky as the character in the novels. I kept thinking throughout that, had she and Emma Watson switched roles, Harry’s attraction to her would have made much more sense, at least from a physical perspective. And Hermione was never supposed to be as gorgeous as she has been throughout the series; she’s never described as such in the novel.

And the ending was also disappointing. It felt too rushed. This was a huge event in the Harry Potter universe, and it’s treated like a mere inconvenience; a passive shrug on the way to the next film. Come to think of it, a lot of important moments were treated like this. Damn it!

Overall, though, it was still an excellent film that reminded me a lot of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, especially in terms of cinematography. Daniel Radcliffe even looks like Elijah Wood at one point. Freaky.

Anyway, go see it!

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