I’m not sure how to take this sixth Harry Potter film. I enjoyed it but couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something else I was waiting for. But I have to take my hat off to the screenwriter. Slick storytelling that didn’t rely on huge suspenseful sequences to build tension, and character exploration kept me interested for the 2 1/2 hour running time. That’s not to say that younger audiences are pulled in as well as I was. Attesting to that are the pre-teens that were running around the cinema while I was trying to watch the film!
The Half-Blood Prince in the title refers to the mysterious previous owner of the Harry’s new Potions book. Using the Prince’s handwritten notes to concoct complicated potions sees Harry propelled to the top of the class (to Hermione’s frustration!) and earns him the attentions and admiration of the new Hogwarts teacher, Horace Slughorn. But there is another reason Harry wanted to get into Slughorn’s good books, Dumbledore has given him the mission of retrieving from the Professor an important memory of his regarding Voldemort, who had also been one of his star pupils.
This is where my awkwardness sets in, I think. There was such extremes of emotions in the film that it didn’t quite blend. There was the darkness and urgency of Dumbledore’s and Harry’s explorations in the Voldemort’s past so as to figure out a way to destroy him and then on the other end of the scale, is the amusing exploits of the students as they struggle with teenage hormones. I think in trying to balance out the darkness, the film’s creators concentrated too much on our 3 heroes’ grappling with their changing feelings for each other at the expense of some of the more dramatic aspects of the book which really would have added to the richness of the Harry Potter movie universe. After all, the kids who were with Harry from the beginning have now grown up with him too and would have been able to handle the more disturbing parts of the book. But then, I guess, the producers have to try and balance the needs of the younger audience as well.
It’s probably my least favourite of the six films so far but that feeling of waiting for something could very well be for the last two films because Harry Potter felt like the crest of the roller coaster ride just before the big dip and the rest of the twists and turns which I’m sure Harry Potter 6 and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2 will deliver.
Photo source: ComingSoon.net