Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
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The seven Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling tell of the seven-year education of Harry Potter as a wizard, and this movie is based on the sixth book. The series is aimed at a showdown between Harry and the greatest dark (evil) wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort.
As the movie begins, Voldemort and his forces are wreaking havoc on both the wizarding and Muggle (non-magical) populations of England, and the good guys are losing ground, especially with Professor Snape appearing to be defecting to the dark side. Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is bringing Harry along to recruit an old ally, Professor Slughorn, who also knew Voldemort well, when Voldemort was a boy.
The movie is fairly faithful to the book, but with several omissions. The Inferi were creepy, but their significance was left completely unstated; they were relegated to nothing more than props. Most notably, Harry’s lessons with Professor Dumbledore are reduced in number, and thereby we do not get to see Voldemort’s middle years and thus his connection with Wizarding history through his lineage. What is not diminished is the adolescent romances at Hogwarts, and that was my least favorite part of the book.
The musical score does a good job of enhancing the movie, but it does not stand out as exceptional in any way. The acting was okay, but many of the performances seemed a bit flat to me. The big exception, to me, was the funeral of Aragog; that scene was perfectly done, and was clearly my favorite of this movie.
The biggest weaknesses of this movie have to do with the source material and the cinematography. While I enjoyed reading the novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I also felt that it was the weakest of the seven books, plot-wise, and functioned mainly to tie up loose ends and to set up the finale. Those were necessary functions, but when a book six is mainly a set-up for a seventh and final book, there is less meat on the bone, and the resulting movie will not make much sense to a viewer who is not very familiar with the book, and/or the series (either the books or the movies or both).
And that brings me to what I feel is the movie’s biggest flaw. Turn up the lights! I cannot see what is going on in quite a few scenes. The chase through the field is a mess, because I cannot see a thing. The huge scene at the end, involving Dumbledore, Snape, and Malfoy is nearly ruined in the darkness. It is, plot-wise, one of the most crucial scenes in the story, and I can barely make out the details. I know the movie is supposed to be dark, but not that kind of dark. I know it is night is these scenes, but just a few more lumens would make the scenes play better.
I think this might be the weakest of the Harry Potter movies. I understand that the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is going to be a two-parter. I think that is necessary. Too much condensation renders a movie meaningless. David Lynch’s attempt to put Dune on film is a great example; it came off as one giant trailer for the real movie. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is better than was that Dune --- but not much.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older