Name: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Running Time (minutes): 153
Description: In the sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and in both wizard and muggle worlds, Lord Voldemort and his henchmen are increasingly active. With vacancies to fill at Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore persuades Horace Slughorn back from retirement to become the potions teacher, while Professor Snape receives long-awaited news. Harry Potter, together with Dumbledore, must face treacherous tasks to defeat his evil nemesis.
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Mystery
Dumbledore really has some dumb lines here: ‘Could be anything. Most commonplace of objects.’ Oh great, let’s just look for Horcruxes in every dustbin, shall we? ‘You remember the conditions on which I brought you with me?’ What does he think Harry is, a goldfish? Why not cover Voldemort’s past? Oh yes, because Yates wasn’t interested in Voldemort’s past. Yeah, who would care about background information on the villain? Why did we spend so much time with Draco pulling a sheet off a cabinet instead? the Pensive scenes have unnecessary reverb that wasn’t there in Goblet of Fire. Also, Mrs Weasley sounds rather drunk and it’s unrealistic that Harry and Ginny suddenly take a liking to each other from the start of this movie after having ignored one another for such a long time and the ‘give or take a few years’ joke is stupid. I really don’t like Daniel Radcliffe in this one and his awkward girl talk moment with Dumbledore is both ridiculous and inappropriate, but Jim Broadbent is fantastic, Michael Gambon is brilliant, Watson’s emotional scene with Harry is a treat and Alan Rickman is, well, Alan Rickman. There’s too much focus on the teenage romance, though, especially taking into account how endlessly gloomy the previous film was. Are we trying to make amends, Mr Yates? And why does Snape just let Harry off the hook after he curses Malfoy? I do think it’s great that two things are set up in this movie already: Harry being a Horcrux and Snape’s secret affairs with Dumbledore. But what is it with Death Eaters and smoke?
Then, the music. The ‘intricately woven tapestry’ becomes so terribly intricate here that it totally vanishes. Possession is back, but who is being possessed by what/whom now? Dumbledore’s Farewell still makes me shiver (scene and score) while his actual killing is a musically missed opportunity, Hermione’s grief almost makes me want to cry too, the Unbreakable Vow music is spot on and the cave music and Inferi ending is great, though Possession doesn’t add up thematically during that rescue, but never mind. More thematic errors are at play when the liquid luck music suddenly sounds more like Ron and Hermione’s love theme. The Slughorn theme is good and used quite consistently, though, and the Potions class music is as magical as can be, but I can’t help wondering what Patrick Doyle would have done with the romantic cues that were scored by someone who was reminded of European films here. Also, there’s some very clumsy editing going on during the Quidditch try-outs and Mrs Weasley calls ‘Ginny’ twice in the exact same way while Hermione repeatedly cries similarly, but the Quidditch match, itself is great, while Sectumsempra is feeble at first. And I’ll say it yet again: What IS it with Yates and no music? Malfoy/Harry’s duel is unscored and even the scene after Dumbledore’s Farewell has no music! And the end credits are an outrage. Dumbledore just died, show some respect and leave the joyful stuff for romantic comedies, please.
The audio description was mostly good, but they forgot to elaborate on clearly audible sounds, like the Weasleys sleeping, and don’t explain that Dumbledore’s hand is blackened by the ring. Finally, they make one huge mistake by mentioning that Dumbledore’s wand is the Elder Wand and the entire AD track constantly messes with the film volume.