So I ended up up seeing The Half Blood Prince last night at a midnight showing. All theatres were sold out and was good to see not an empty seat in the house. I thought I would have saw more people in costume like I have at Transformers, Batman and Star Wars midnight showings. Alas I only saw a handful that came in just before the movie started dressed in wizard costumes.
Side note. If you plan on coming to these events, come early. We were seated an hour and a half early. Don't come just before the movie starts if you plan on getting good seats for you and your comrades. Second. Don't bring a baby. Someone came with a baby and it cried pretty much through the whole ordeal. At first it was very distracting, but at least the mother on occasion would take the baby out and calm him/her down.
Now without further adieu on with the review.
I've been a fan of the Harry Potter world since reading the first book. I enjoyed most of the books. Book 2 being my least favorite. I've enjoyed each movie and had no doubts about the 6th film. As the tone of the book, the movie is pretty dark. In most of the scenes the movie has a greyish look to it, almost pale appearance. This is to help convey the darkness that is coming and the harshness of the story.
Acting wise I felt that the trio of Radcliffe, Watson, Gint have really have come along way since the first film, and you can really see how comfortable they have become together in this film. Since they have become such close friends in real life, I feel this really helps them convey that over to their characters in the movie. Rickman, as Snape is in top form and I think was the perfect choice to play the Defense teacher against the Dark Arts. Michael Gambon was as wonderful as ever as Dumbledore, and I always thought made a great replacement for the late great Richard Harris. Across the board I found the acting to be better than in the other films, but nothing spectacular, aside from Rickman, although I felt that he should have gotten more screen time. Jim Broadbent steps in as Horace Slughorn. Wonderful as ever, Broadbent brings life to the character and gives a very funny performance as the Professor of Potions who plays a big part in the world of Hogwarts and Potter. I do have the say that Tom Felton did a tremendous bringing the turmoil eating away at Draco Malfoy to the screen. This is a huge turn for the character and I though Felton really brought the hurt and turmoil Draco is going through in The Half-Blood Prince. It is a new side we see to the character, where we usually see just the bully side of Draco.
David Yates, the director of Half-Blood Prince, not only did the last film Order of the Phoenix, he is also directing the last 2 Harry Potter films. Yes last two. There is only 7 books, but the 7th film will be split up into 2 parts. The first part coming in 2010 and the second part in 2011. That film of course is The Deathly Hallows. Yates did a great job of not only conveying the darkness of the story to the screen, but also mixed it up with lighthearted scenes which I thought actually flowed well into the movie. Normally lightheartedness in such a darkly toned story usually backfires and messes up the pace of the story, but Yates was able to bring a good balance to the film. I really enojyed how he handled Order of the Phoenix and I expect nothing less with the 2 parter of the Deathly Hallows.
The story itself stays true to the nature of the book. Though there were a couple of big scenes that I couldn't believe were not in the movie. I will bring up one of the scenes, the other I will not in case you haven't read the book and do not know how the book ends. The scene I wil talk about is the battle with the Death Eaters near the end of the book. There isn't a lot of action sequences in the movie and I thought that would have been a good scene to put in there to add a bit more thrills to the movie. The story itself is just a bridge story in a sense that it bridges what we take from Order of the Phoenix over to The Deathly Hallows. Not alot actually happens in this story, really except the reveal of the Half-Blood Prince and the end of an era at Hogwarts. Even though it is almost a 2 hour 40 min running time, I never felt bored in the movie and never felt the need to keep checking my watch. It's a very enjoyable movie.
Is it the best of the Potter movies so far? For me it's a toss up between this one and Azkaban. Is it the worst of the bunch? Not by a long shot. I found the 4th film in the series to be the weakest. Depending how you see the films, I'm sure you'll find this one either your number one or number two of the Potter films. Now bring on the Deathly Hallows, I'm ready for ya.