The EYG 8 Days of Potter continued today with day number six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The Harry Potter franchise is all juiced up and ready to head into the final book of the series. Of course, the films will split it into two films as a conclusion.
The Half-Blood Prince had some very strong elements to it and had some major turning points. Unfortunately, the story itself seemed much like filler. It was a film that lacked its own cohesive plot and was simply here to move everyone into the proper place for the Deathly Hallows.
That does not make this a bad movie. In fact, I enjoyed much of it, but there can be no doubting that the narrative of the film was a bit lacking.
The next year of Hogwarts arrives with a greater uncertainty, if not fear, from all of the students because of the dangers presented by Lord Voldemort. Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) recruits Harry to befriend former and once again teacher Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) in order to discover the truth behind a meeting years before between Slughorn and Tom Riddle (Frank Dillane).
Meanwhile, Voldemort’s forces are preparing Draco (Tim Felton) to become a Death Eater by assassinating Dumbeldore. Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) makes a blood oath to help Draco meet his destiny and to protect the boy.
As this was going on, there was a ton of relationship drama going on between Harry and Ginny (Bonnie Wright), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) and a few other annoying students. None of this romantic drama felt like it fit. I do understand why it is included. These are teenagers with raging hormones, after all, but it just did not carry the same weight as what else was going on around them. I have seen other stories that have done a better job of making the characters seem as if they are teens where as these Potter characters seem more like wizards and warriors first and foremost.
Then there is the introduction of the concept of the horcruxes, which will become the driving MacGuffins in the Deathly Hallows. This being introduced in this film felt like it was being tossed in at the end of the series as a way to help wrap it up. I do not know if this was the intent from the beginning of the franchise, or if it were simply the answer when Voldemort arrived back, but these horcruxes appearing here worked as an add on.
The look of the film continues to be exceptional as the CGI and the special effects are outstanding. There are some continually beautiful imagery contained in the whole Harry Potter series and these films directed by David Yates take that to another level.
One of the standout performances in the film belongs to Jim Broadbent as Professor Horace Slughorn. Slughorn is a kindly person who has a memory of an event that he regrets terribly. He has spent years denying this memory, leading him to nearly punish himself. Broadbent provides a sad and very human performance of this many, broken by his own guilt and his weakness in being able to face it.
I have to say, when I first saw this movie, my memory was that there was more in the film focused on Draco Malfoy, but on this re-watch, I found him to be of less importance than I remembered. I wish there was more to the character of Draco than what we have gotten over the years. He has been written as nothing more than a sniveling, slimy jerk and I think the lack of human emotion from him makes him very non empathetic in these scenes where we are supposed to feel his inner struggle. Why would I believe that Draco would ever struggle with doing what he was supposed to do? He has never shown me any reason why it should bother him at all.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (by the way… what does the Half-Blood Prince have to do with anything? ) is a transitional film that has a lot of positives to it, but whose main purpose is to prepare for the finales.