Day 30 – Another Favorite that’s not your Favorite Movie
It’s been a long time coming (about a week longer than it should have, by my count), but we’ve finally arrived at the end of the Diversion 2.0 Thirty-Day Movie Challenge. We’ve covered great films, and we’ve covered crap films, and today we’re leaving off with another one of the goodies. Stay tuned, though, for I have a feeling we just might have another series in the works (foreshadowing!). In the meantime, enjoy the final entry in the Diversion 2.0 Thirty-Day Movie Challenge.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is my favorite of the Potter movies, which makes sense, because it’s based on my favorite of the Potter books. It’s also (for my money) the best per-capita adaptation of any of the books; the most essentials moments of the book have been transferred over (with extra, redundant moments cut for running time), and the movie (get this) actually works well as a film and not just as an adaptation of a quadrillion-selling book series.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth installment of the popular book/film franchise, and tells of Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry (Daniel Radcliff) starts to learn more about his mortal enemy, Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes), under the tutelage of headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). In addition, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) has been sneaking about the castle in a more unpleasant and suspicious way than usual. Harry must discover all he can about Lord Voldermort, and find out about Malfoy’s plan before it’s too late.
Unlike the previous film, Half-Blood Prince retains several of the book's more light-hearted moments.
Half-Blood Prince continues what worked well for the previous five Potter films: coherent, beautiful art direction and production design, imaginative and, at times, wow-bagging special effects, and excellent casting from a stable of triple-A British talent (Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltraine, Jim Broadbent, Warwick Davis, and on, and on, and on…). Radcliff, Grint, Watson, and Felton have grown into their roles splendidly, and the film gives them all ample opportunities to stretch out and explore their characters. The Potter films really started to visually take off around the third movie, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Half-Blood Prince retains its lovely aesthetic, while adding a heaping helping of colors whenever the mood is appropriate.
What Half-Blood Prince adds, especially in comparison to Order of the Phoenix, is a coherent script. A script that not only shuttles the movie from set-piece to set-piece with minimal effort, but is alarmingly funny; characters share more banter moments, quotable lines, and buggering words in this movie than perhaps the previous three put together. The result is that Half-Blood Prince feels more like a regular movie than almost any other in the franchise, which, to me, felt like a series of connected images and moments than anything coherent; they seemed pretty bloody difficult for me to follow, at least.
Exciting, funny, and incredibly imaginative, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is what all special effects-driven tentpoles should aspire to be, and one of my absolute favorite movies.