I was getting a bit tired with this series. I believe it was because of a scene in the fourth film where Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) has gone with his friends to see a sporting tournament. Ron points out that his family had set-up a tent, and the two walk under it. On the exterior, it was dinky, so naturally when Harry saw that the interior was enormous he was bewildered. At that point I slapped my palm to my face and thought that Harry, after 3 complete movies full of magic, should have expected that tent to be the size of a stadium on the inside. Harry’s steadfast attempt to stay Mick Dundee was why I sat out the last installment. Fortunately for the hardcore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince doesn’t just start with a developed Potter, but it expects you to have done your homework.
Harry and the gang return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This time around, the much alluded to plot against Harry is coming to fruition. Dumbledore needs Harry to coax from an old colleague information to help them put an end to the dark Lord Voldemort. By chance, Harry comes across a potion book with a mysterious label claiming to be the property of the Half-Blood Prince. With the help of its keen advice, Harry tries to piece together hints from the past.
One of the brightest spots of the series is how nearly every character is fully fleshed out. Even standing alone, it’s easy to see that Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are interesting because of their quick repartee, appropriate grins, and longing for acceptance. Potter has been the least interesting character of the series, because he serves as the vessel through which the reader/audience must learn of a new world. Here, along with the aforementioned memory, he gains a backbone. It’s also unfortunate that characters who we have bonded with so much in the past, must be pushed aside from time to time; Hagrid first speaks around the two hour mark. There just may be too many dynamic characters for someone to enter this film series at this juncture.
My only gripes come from the plot and the continuing dilemma of magic. So many characters have tremendous abilities. At the opening, we see that the underworld (what I’ve labeled the side of the world containing all the magical elements) is interacting with the Muggle (human) world. Why is the dark lord just now attacking London? If he can, (and where is he by the way?) I don’t see why this is finally happening. Toward the end there is a shift in power, which was also long overdue given how easily it was achieved. There still isn’t a quantitative way to measure the power of each wizard, and Dumbledroe can break the laws of the land by just saying to Harry that he can do whatever. Why are people running around calling themselves “chosen”? Who cares if Ron is a good keeper when the seeker can decide the game singlehandedly? Despite great use of characterization, its unfriendly for newcomers or even people like myself who skipped the last entry. In fact, I’m not even convinced that my plot synopsis is accurate, because I spent most of the film as confused as Potter circa 2001. Still sharing a common look with the other films, Half-Blood Prince spends a lot of time in the dark and dealing with equally dramatic subject matter. If your child grew-up alongside Harry, this shouldn’t be a problem. The Harry Potter films haven’t been for kids only, but as his spell ages, it’s clear that his audience is becoming increasingly more universal; making this more than enjoyable for most any group so be it you are the fluent in Defense Against the Dark Arts. ***