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Grown-up ‘Harry' can still cast a mean spell

harrypotter6_opt‘Half-Blood Prince' detours somewhat from the book, but delivers nonetheless

BY MIKE VORKUNOV
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
REVIEW

The latest Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, pulls off the difficult accomplishment of being as satiating as it is not. That is to say, like a good appetizer, it hits the spot but leaves you wanting more.

The Half-Blood Prince has the unenviable task of setting viewers up for the two-movie epic that will bring to theaters the seventh and final book. It continues on the dark road set up on in the previous installment by director David Yates.

Gone is the child-like luster of the wizarding world, replaced by the fear of the return of Lord Voldemort. The first scene, of Voldemort's minions reigning terror on London, sets the movie along its path. As Voldemort's side seems to become more powerful, Yates spends the movie showing how Harry Potter and Professor Albus Dumbledore try to remedy the threat. Whether by recruiting a former professor back to Hogwarts, or learning of Voldemort's past, Yates tries to show that Potter and Dumbledore are simply buying time not fighting back.

While the battle against Voldemort serves as the overarching plotline, the real heart of the film comes in the maturation and growth of its main characters. Ron Weasley (played by Rupert Grint) Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson) and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) are back for their sixth year at Hogwarts but have come back changed from previous years. They are newly sexualized teenagers, and much of the movie is spent on their unending search for reciprocity from the opposite sex.

Potter's interest in Ginny Weasley seems as dominant on his mind as school or anything else. Ron and Hermoine's unspoken admiration leads to a love triangle that threatens to break up the friends. But with sexual awareness comes the sophomoric tendencies attached with them. Yates lightens the mood and keeps the movie from becoming dour by throwing in thinly veiled sexual innuendos that manage to keep the movie constantly teetering along its PG rating

The movie is not without its inconsistencies. The mystery of the Half-Blood Prince, the eponymous wizard for whom the movie is named, is little more than an afterthought thinly weaved into the story. Seemingly just to make sure it is mentioned somewhere for fear the movie's title wouldn't be irrelevant. After Harry's first encounter with the Prince's book early in the movie, there is no mention of him again until the final minutes.

That, of course, is the paradox of the Harry Potter films. They can be judged independently for only so long, until eventually they must be compared with the books. While the movie stands well on its own feet, definitely a treat for moviegoers and Potter fans, it does not fare well to its print precursor.

From the opening scene to the final one, there are incongruities with the book. Some scenes are created simply to fill time constraints and Hollywood quotas. It ultimately does not hurt the quality of the movie, but for those who pine for the books, they will walk away disappointed that some of their favorite parts were not played out as portrayed in the book.

While fans of the original work may walk out underwhelmed with the movie's lack of exact imitation, that will only be nitpicking. The Half-Blood Prince serves its purpose well, setting up the fury to come.

 

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