Half-Blood Prince Review RoundupHBP Film
Earlier this morning Joe from UK Rottentomatoes.com emailed about the collection of reviews they have on their website for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Hours later and a slew of reviews are still pouring in, with the movie "98% Fresh on the Tomatometer which makes it the freshest film of the franchise to date! Azkaban is in second place with 89%." The consensus: "Dark, thrilling, and occasionally quite funny, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is also visually stunning and emotionally satisfying."
While many are preparing to head off to a special midnight showing here in the States others have just seen the film, we do have a collection of recent reviews to pass along.
Entertainment Weekly:" Half-Blood Prince encompasses important plot developments involving both love and death. But the story is, still and all, only a pause, deferring an intensely anticipated conclusion. And it's in that exquisite place of action and waiting that this elegantly balanced production emerges as a model adaptation. By now, as played with utmost loyalty to the cause by some of Britain's most illustrious actors, the supporting characters are as familiar as the population of Homer Simpson's neighborhood (and that's a great compliment). Yet with a big assist from cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel — a Potter newbie who memorably shot Amélie and Across the Universe — the filmmakers have found a way to refresh our eyes and enhance our appreciation for this rich, amazing creation. A-
Salon: "By the series' completion, Yates will have directed half of the "Harry Potter" movies, and that mutes the surprise element a bit. But "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" at least ensures that the franchise's remaining movies are in good hands. Yates understands the bond, and the continuity, that's so essential between the old and the young. In one of the movie's loveliest scenes, Broadbent's professor Slughorn, slightly sozzled, describes to Harry a piece of magic worked by one of his former students. He describes this wonderful, delicate feat so vividly that his words are more effective than visuals would be. And, as it turns out, this bit of magic had been worked by Harry's long-dead mother, Lily. It was, Slughorn tells Harry, peering at him as if through mist, "the most beautiful magic." That's a measure of how subtle a spectacle Yates has given us with "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." The most beautiful magic in it is left unseen. And still, it emerges with absolute clarity."
New York Times
"[Voldemort]in his early embodied form as Tom Riddle, by the excellent young actors Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Frank Dillane. There must be a factory where the British mint their acting royalty: Hero, who plays the dark lord as a spectrally pale, creepy child of 11, is Ralph Fiennes’s nephew, and Frank is the son of the terrific actor Stephen Dillane. The younger Mr. Dillane, who plays Voldemort at 16, conveys the seductiveness of evil with small, silky smiles he bestows like dangerous gifts on Jim Broadbent's Horace Slughorn, a professor whose trembling jowls suggest a deeper tremulousness. When Slughorn, the fear almost visibly leaking from his body, shares the secret of immortality with Voldemort, you feel, much as when Ralph Fiennes raged through "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" in 2005, that something vital is at stake."
USA Today "Captivating from the first frame, this Potter feels more epic than previous films, which had a less mature, more madcap quality. Yates finds an artful way to meld the teenage romance and inherent humor with a sense of impending doom."
Roger Ebert "I admired this Harry Potter. It opens and closes well, and has wondrous art design and cinematography as always, only more so. "I'm just beginning to realize how beautiful this place is," Harry sighs from a high turret. The middle passages spin their wheels somewhat, hurrying about to establish events and places not absolutely essential. But those scenes may be especially valued by devoted students of the Potter saga. They may also be the only ones who fully understand them; ordinary viewers may be excused for feeling baffled some of the time."
LA Times:"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is being described as an excursion into the dark side for this venerable series, but don't let the chatter fool you. Now in its sixth episode shot over an eight-year span, with two more features still to come, this one-of-a-kind film cycle has become as comfortable and reliable as an old shoe, providing a degree of dependability that's becoming increasingly rare."
CBC : "As always, the terrific adult cast is relegated to the background. But even in small parts, they shine, particularly Carter as the unhinged Bellatrix, Broadbent as the shallow but ultimately sympathetic Slughorn and Alan Rickman, who speaks volumes with his pauses as the brooding Severus Snape. It's Gambon's Dumbledore, though, who steals the movie."
CNN: "A trio of evenly spaced set-pieces do generate enough excitement to make this an iffy proposition for parents with younger kids; in particular Dumbledore and Harry's climactic cave expedition is an intense, nightmarish standout."
Associated Press: "Previous installments played out in a supernatural bubble bearing little connection to our ordinary little Muggle world. Half-Blood Prince brims with authentic people and honest interaction -- hormonal teens bonding with great humor, heartache that will resonate with anyone who remembers the pangs of first love."
Rolling Stone: "I'll never tell why, except to say that it's a pleasure to watch the mesmerizing Felton take the role to the next level, discovering a vulnerable humanity in Draco. And Rickman is a dynamo, lacing the Severus sneer with glimmers of conscience and moral doubt."
The Age: "Diehard Potter fans may be willing to forgive and endure a boring film for the sake of a legacy they love — as did Star Wars fans with Phantom Menace — but those eager for entertainment will find Half-Blood Prince only marginally more watchable than that."