It’s difficult to see Half-Blood Prince as a film. What do you see as you watch the film? I see an extension of the Harry Potter universe; I see the Boy Wizard’s story playing out in another medium; I see the story I followed so fervently page after page materialise on the screen. In that sense, it’s almost impossible to do much wrong with the Harry Potter films, given that J.K. Rowling has already done such an awesome job with the story and supplied such memorable characters. And once the movies achieved the stable dark, mature tone with the third film, it’s nearly impossible for a Harry Potter film to not garner positive reviews.
So the film-makers already had a good story down pat. Setting? Coasting on the already established world so intricately built by J.K. Rowling and brought to cinematic life in the previous films, Half-Blood Prince once again transports us from our mundane Muggle world into Harry Potter’s wizarding world. Characters? If you’ve followed the series you’ll know the actors, particularly the central trio, have grown well into their characters, and here everyone’s in top form. The set-pieces are grandiose in every way imaginable, and smacks of production value.
I’m not one of this people who fervently watch the film reincarnations of books to see how true they stay to the book. I know some have said Half-Blood Prince changes a lot of the book’s content, but from what I remember, it must have been the finer points, because on the whole, the film stays remarkably true to the gist of the story.
For me, watching a Harry Potter film is, first and foremost, a homecoming experience. Half-Blood Prince was no exception.
Rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Rating on IMDb: 7.3
Viewing history: Seen 2x. Once rental, second time borrowed DVD.