MONKEY REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince

July 15, 2009

halfbloodprinceFrom a visual standpoint, this adaptation of the sixth of the seven Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince, is one of the most beautiful to behold: At different times, it’s evocative of silent films, storybook illustrations and dream-states. The art direction is sometimes jaw droppingly good, as some of the sets have an astonishing attention to detail, and the special effects are dazzling, perhaps the best in the series so far. What flaws the movie has are in the story it tells, despite it delivering on its movie poster potboiler-like promise, “DARK SECRETS REVEALED.” The problem is that while there are a lot of events, some of them excitingly or amusingly staged, the story as a whole is advanced not a lot in comparison to other films, and I assume to other books, in the series. Half Blood Prince‘s central flaw is its lack of a self-contained story that is played out and resolved, something the other entries all had. By the end, this movie seems like a leisurely paced two and a half hour set up to the final adaptation, which, somewhat frustratingly, though fiscally utterly understandably, is being divided into two segments, to be released months apart. (I did love the final image, however.) Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince‘s strengths are not in its story, but in its characters, who are lovingly drawn and wonderfully and sometimes powerfully acted. Director David Yates is returning the series to more faithful adaptations of the books, after director Alfonso Cuarón and Mike Newell’s radically if judiciously edited movie versions. Yates, however, is a much more imaginative and artful director than Chris Columbus, whose two slavish adaptations opened the series. (I was so underwhelmed by the first movie that I’ve never seen the second one in its entirety.) His sure-handed direction of Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince makes it my second favorite in the series, after Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, which is not just the best film in the series, it’s also one of the best fantasy films in world cinema. Despite Half Blood Prince‘s flaws, it’s still a wonderful fantasy film, and one of the best films of the summer.

(If you’re a fan of the series, you can adjust my rating down one monkey.)

MONKEY RATING: TWO MAGICAL MONKEYS

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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3 Responses to “MONKEY REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince”

  1. John Says:

    Don’t you mean down one monkey?

  2. John Says:

    Monkey guy doesn’t know monkey system. Pssh. 🙂


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