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Half-Blood Prince Review Roundup

HBP Film
Posted by: sue
July 14, 2009, 07:04 PM

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."

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47 Comments

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478 Points
A few more hours (6) and I’ll be reviewing the film myself. All of the little clips and featurettes have been awesome and I feel the movie will be marvelous! Excitment is building up and just can’t wait!
Posted by beewell on July 15, 2009, 09:23 AM report to moderator
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152 Points

The reveiws pretty much concluded what I was thinking when I walked out of the theater @ 3 in the morning. It was. Without a doubt. My favourite movie. And I actually liked Emma in this, she didn’t irk me, which was the best <3 And all they’re acting abilities were just mind blowing. Seeing two more times today! : D

Posted by KennedyJames on July 15, 2009, 09:39 AM report to moderator
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179 Points

I just woke up from a blessed 3 hours of sleep since I finished watching HBP last night. (Ah the joys of being a new mom :P)

This movie was the best in the series by far. It actually flowed, was beautifully intricate, delightful and darkly brilliant. Where the plot differed from the book, it was done so well that I hardly minded (and I am a stickler for proper plot following). The trio has improved so much in their technique (especially Emma Watson – she was flawless).

To everyone waiting for this film – you will not be dissapointed!

Posted by Lisee_Lu on July 15, 2009, 10:16 AM report to moderator
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1212 Points

This is now my favorite HP film. Besides the fact that, to me, it was the most faithful to the book out of all the other films, it was actually hilarious at parts and then heartbreakingly sad at others. I felt like this film encompassed everything I hoped it would from the book. Plus the young Voldemorts gave chills and made the present day Voldemort seem much scarier even though I don’t remember seeing him in the film.
So pretty much it’s awesome.

Posted by RAB66 on July 15, 2009, 10:44 AM report to moderator
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57 Points

The performances of all cast members, both original and new to HBP and small parts, where fabulous. So happy the reviews are mostly positive, even from the non-HP fan critics.

Posted by JRae on July 15, 2009, 11:41 AM report to moderator
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281 Points

The Age has no clue! I enjoyed the movie tremendously and while I missed some parts that weren’t included what was included was fantastic!

Posted by Phylis {ROAR} on July 15, 2009, 12:25 PM report to moderator
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73 Points

I thought it was ok… but I was overall disappointed. I felt like they spent WAY too much time on the love stuff between teenagers and not enough time on the emphasis of Voldemort. I guess since I just finished rereading the book for the who knows what time I was expecting a bit more from the movie— and since we waited an extra 8 months— I just wished they didn’t focus so much on the awkward love stuff and stuck more with the horcrux plot.

Posted by hermione06 on July 15, 2009, 01:50 PM report to moderator
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98 Points

Who are these people from “The Age” and what movie did they just watch?

Posted by greenfire on July 15, 2009, 02:11 PM report to moderator
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256 Points

The movie was amazing, it’s my favorite one so far, I can’t wait to go back and watch it again!

Posted by WolfyWizard on July 15, 2009, 02:14 PM report to moderator
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29 Points

Hate to agree with others, but I left this move quite disappointed as well. Too many details about the Horcruxes and Voldemort’s growing up were left out of the movie version, and so much emphasis was placed on hormones and young love. While those were a refreshing change, I still wish they had stayed more true to the book. Also, the time spent on re-introducing Fleur into the Weasley family in the book was never even mentioned in the movie!

Posted by cindy965 on July 15, 2009, 05:02 PM report to moderator
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3728 Points

More emphasis should have been placed on Riddle and the horcruxes. Poor Harry is now left to find the rest of the horcruxes on his own without any clues from Dumbledore what they might be. How is Harry going to figure out the cup, Nagini and the tiarra??? Errr…Good Luck Harry Potter

Posted by blueheaven53 on July 15, 2009, 05:24 PM report to moderator
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32 Points

Very entertaining and well done… My favorite HP is still “Prisoner of Azkaban”! Still the closest adaption to the books in my opinion…

Posted by griffenclaw on July 15, 2009, 08:05 PM report to moderator
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300 Points

I agree with the ‘disappointing’ as well. im sad to say. all through the movie.lots of good and important stuff put in.but also lots of important stuff not even mentioned! like um, Scrimgeour. mmm who is that? I would say if I hadn’t read the book.no slytherin necklace mention,or cup,nagini.even the ring? people who haven’t read the book had to have been thinking that.it was good at many parts.but they chopped it,ran it too fast, but also, the characters were so slow. I mean way too many slow scenes that dragged on.The main characters played well.The Ginny/Harry kiss? don’t get me started. that scene in the book. nah.made up a scene.and the fight scene at hogwarts w/the death eaters and the whole school? nope.the romance stuff was good. even tho the change w/harry and ginny made me mad.and snape I loved.Rupert was the best. I actually wish Dan would have shown more emotion when Dumby died.I will see it again.it’s not my fav.thank god we know the book is real.haha.and nothing will ever beat the book. So Jo,you are safe.

Posted by Dlcohm7 on July 15, 2009, 11:56 PM report to moderator
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2661 Points

I can’t wait to see it, I’m going tomorrow!

Posted by Wingardium Leviosa ❄WBM❄ on July 16, 2009, 07:36 PM report to moderator
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24135 Points

good reviews are always good! :)

Posted by hermyone*ROAR* on July 25, 2009, 10:22 PM report to moderator
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