20 February 2017

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (starring Daniel Radcliffe)

We had a bit more time available than usual, so decided to watch a film that’s been waiting in our drawer for quite some time. I was reluctant at first to see the Harry Potter films; I did watch the first couple at the cinema, but found the second one rather disturbing, and when I heard that the later ones were ‘darker’, I determined not to see them.

However they came out on DVD, and since I have enjoyed the books so much, we decided to acquire the DVD versions to watch at home - a much less disturbing scenario than the cinema. It’s a while since we watched the fifth in the series, ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’, but despite the dark ending I thought it excellent. So finally we sat down to watch the sixth film.

It’s some time since I’ve read the book ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’, indeed more than time for a re-read. But the benefit of that is that although I remembered the main plot points, and the dramatic ending, I have forgotten all the details and conversations, so wasn’t disturbed by finding the film - as is inevitably the case - rather different from the film.

The story opens with high drama, as parts of London are being destroyed, and people are becoming terrified. We don’t meet Harry at the Dursleys this time; instead Professor Dumbledore takes him on some visits, in particular trying to persuade an old friend, Professor Slughorn, to come and work at Hogwarts.

After a short stay at his friend Ron Weasley’s, with yet more problems arising, Harry and friends set out for school, discovering high security everywhere.

There’s not much action taking place in the classroom, other than the lab where Harry discovers an old textbook that belonged to the mysterious ‘half-blood prince’. He is now clearer as to what his destiny is likely to be, and a lot more grown up than in previous films.

There’s low-key love interest in the book, with some jealousies and a lot of ‘snogging’, though mostly off-stage and what’s scene is fairly discreet. There’s minor bad language too, in a few places, but the reason for the UK ‘12’ rating is, I assume, that there’s a lot of suspense and some violence, with a lot that would be very disturbing if seen by a sensitive child who did not know what was coming. The US rating is PG, perhaps because there's no 'strong' language, or nudity.

The acting is excellent, and I found myself caught up in the story, hardly noticing two and a half hours going by. The pace was rapid but not so much that I got lost; it helps, of course, to have read the book, and to have been aware of what happened earlier in the series.

All in all we thought it extremely well done, preparing the way for the finale, which is in two parts and which we have still to watch.

Highly recommended, but in my opinion it's best to watch the earlier ones (or read the books) first.

Review by copyright 2017 Sue's DVD Reviews

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