Harry Potter's sixth screen outing was due to be released last November but was pushed back to sprinkle some magic on the summer box office instead. Yahoo! Movies had a sneak peek at the movie to see if the wait was worth it.
It's another year at Hogwarts, and another year of foreboding terror. Fearing that Voldermort is close to infiltrating the school, Dumbledore enlists Harry to gain the confidence of his new Potions professor, Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), in the hope that he can unlock a memory that could prove vital to their fight against the dark forces.
The Half-Blood Prince certainly opens with a bang, with hordes of Death Eaters attacking London. Perhaps it's a swipe at director David Yates' critics, who claimed 2007's Order of the Phoenix wasn't action-packed enough.
It's a bold statement of intent, but one that is misleading. While The Half-Blood Prince doesn't hold back on the explosives, it's more of the romantic kind than the action ones. Perhaps it should have been called Harry Potter and the Hormones of Hogwarts, as there is barely a scene without longing looks and lustful glances steaming up the screen from the young characters.
Harry wants Ginny Weasley, but is worried about her boyfriend Dean and brother, Ron. His best friend, meanwhile, has to contend with Lavender Brown's not too subtle affection - while Hermione's time is split between secretly pining for Ron and knocking back the attentions from Cormac -the brash Quidditch player (Freddie Stroma).
It's like Hollyoaks with wands. (hollyoaks is a soap opera)
But if you fear that it sounds a tad soap opera-esque, not too worry as Yates has laced the film with an abundance of sly humour. It's easily the funniest one yet, with newcomer Jessie Cave (Lavender) a dab hand at physical comedy.
The humour and romance certainly add a bit of edge to the proceedings, as the climactic actions scenes don't really hold your attention as much as they should. The special effects, while impressive, aren't very involving, just pretty to look at. You never feel like you're in the action, just very much a passive bystander. There are also too many action CGI scenes that seem to ape The Lord of the Rings.
However, fans of the book will be pleased by Yates' handling of the death of a major character. We won't spoil the identity of who dies, but needless to say it's a moving scene played with great grace and shock by the actor involved. Best get your hankies out.
Daniel Radcliffe's anguish as Potter at the end is plain to see, and his vengeful face hints that the final film in the series (split into two parts) will have very little to laugh about. So best soak up the humour in this one, as we don't think there will much in Deathly Hallows.
And if that hasn't whetted your appetite for the film, keep your eyes peeled for interviews with the cast members including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint on Yahoo! Movies over the next few days.
They tell us about secret cast member crushes, real life broken hearts and fears for the future once Harry Potter finishes. Plus Dan talks about being a hunk rival (hunk? really?) with Twilight's Robert Pattinson.
Don't miss it.
Will anyone want me to post the interviews? I find it annoying how EVERY reporter has to bring up RPatzz in an interview.