Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE —–sixth in the series was the highest-budgeted (a whopping $250,000,000), garnering general critical acclaim (I’m in the dissent pack on this installment) and fan-money in 2009 to the jingle of $934,416,000. For some reason, Bruno Delbonnel’s dark, often almost black & white camerawork earned the series only Oscar nomination for Cinematography. He’s proven his talents with works such as Across The Universe and A Very Long Engagement, so I’d lay more grief for the bleak visual palette on director David Yates. Though two of the others beat its running time by several minutes, the 153 minutes this one takes to unspool seem to go on and on, the uninspiring chatter (aplenty) and unexciting action trailing to an anticlimactic wrapup. Thanks to cast members and the legacy element built-in, it’s still an entertaining film, but it ranks as the weakest of the lot. My attention drifted. Time for a new wand.

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Best aspects: the performances from Rupert Grint (Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson less inspired than usual) and evildoer Helena Bonham Carter. Swinish ‘Draco Melfoy’ (Tom Felton) gets to show a bit more depth. Jim Broadbent’s fussy professor is added to the faculty. Well scored by Nicholas Hooper.

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Enthusiasm alert: not much to add beyond that, to me, this dour, downbeat chapter felt padded, repetitive and a wee forced. Can’t win’em all. With Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Bonnie Wright (bland), Robbie Coltrane, Evanna Lynch (“Luna Lovegood’ to the rescue), Frank Dillane (good job), Jessie Cave, David Thewlis, Helen McCrory (well done), Natalia Tena (is that a ‘Tonks’ or am I just glad to see her?) Timothy Spall (a peek), Dave Legeno. “Sectumsempra!”

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