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:: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is an enjoyable if somewhat inconsequential installment in the Harry Potter series. The film neither introduces, or concludes any storylines; instead it’s main focus is to reinforce what is to come – the final showdown between good and evil and to this end, the film delivers. Professor Snape, played by Alan Rickman (who is still perfect in this role), and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) are as menacing as ever and we’re never quite sure how far they will go when presented with a chance to get at Harry (Daniel Radcliffe). The spectre of Voldemort is effectively conveyed within the film’s narrative by a series of remembrances and the introduction of potions teacher, Professor Horace Slughorn played by Jim Broadbent.

Instead of a direct confrontation with the evil represented by Voldemort, his presence lurks in the shadows of the past which results in Harry being given a secret mission by Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) to befriend Professor Slughorn and discover some unknown facts about his friendship with Voldemort, who studied under the Professor years earlier. Coupled with this, is Voldemort’s Adams Family-esque posse of cronies who are devoted to watching over Draco Malfoy’s progression from spooky kid to creepy teenager.

Amongst an increasing array of dark, gothic characters, are Harry and his friends, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) who are more connected with their school peer group nowadays, given the onset of all things teenage. Petty jealousies and crushes on fellow students, school dances, sporting prowess and the joys and pitfalls of snogging abound, making this film part teen-drama, part spook-show.

I have never made it past chapter one of the first Potter book but have enjoyed the film versions of the Harry Potter story. The Half-blood Prince is no exception. Whilst there is an awareness that a battle is looming and that it wont be witnessed in this particular film, there is sufficient mystery and great special effects to hold viewer interest. This film has a similar feel to the second Lord of the Rings film, The Two Towers, with Dumbledore and Harry as Gandalf and Frodo. From that position, audiences have much to look forward to in the next Harry Potter films. The performance of all cast members is consistently good and the opening sequence shown in 3D at some screenings, is quite spectacular.