Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson
Direction: David Yates
Two years on from the previous instalment, the sixth and penultimate chapter of the popular fantasy saga is brought to life in this sure-shot blockbuster. More than likely to meet the stratospheric expectations of millions of Potterphiles, …The Half-Blood Prince is the most impressive entry in the J.K. Rowling series.
The progressively darker tone of the 608-page tome is captured with admirable dexterity by returning director Yates (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). Blending wondrous visuals with production design marvels, …Prince finds the wizard buddies renewing the conflict with their arch-nemesis Voldemort.
Apart from appearing in a couple of flashbacks, first as a young lad and then as a teenager, the Dark Lord is glimpsed this time around only as a vaporous formation. The atmosphere is tense as ‘he’ and his cohorts wreak havoc at the medieval school of magic and witchcraft.
Not to worry, really. Aided by his fellow students as well as the wizened headmaster (Michael Gambon), it is
up to our bespectacled hero (Radcliffe) to save the day. The unfulfilled romantic yearnings of the pupils are handled with a delicate touch.
All the reliable regulars including Maggie Smith as the stern schoolmarm and Alan Rickman as the sinister occultist, reprise their roles with panache.
A visiting potions professor (Jim Broadbent, endearing as ever) is a crucial new addition to the faculty.
The script brims over with non-stop fantastic whimsy. Among the standout sequences are the customary Quidditch tournament (sorely missed in the fifth edition), the destruction of London’s Millennium Bridge and the deadly pursuit in a dark and dingy cave.
If there are any reservations, they concern the underwritten roles of Harry’s two best pals (Watson-Rupert Grint) as well as the lengthy running time of over two-and-a-half hours.
On the whole, even viewers who are not yet afflicted with Pottermania (are there any?) will have a blast. The only thing one could ask for is more. As it happens, the final volume, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is already being filmed and will be released as two separate movies. We can hardly wait.