Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince
Plot Summary: The Death Eaters and Voldemort are bringing terror to the wizarding world, while Dumbledore and Harry race to find the secret of how to finally destroy Voldemort.
Reason for the Rating: for scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality.
After the battle between Voldemort and Dumbldore at the Ministry of Magic, everyone knows He Who Must Not Be Named has returned, and the Death Eaters are making no secret of it. Another year at Hogwarts begins but with an ominous fear for the future thanks to the exploits of Voldemort’s followers.
But being that Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) are now in their sixth year, romance and snogging are also in the air at Hogwarts. Much to Hermione’s disgust, Lavender Brown and Ron (or Won Won as Lavender calls him) become an item, while Harry struggles with confusing feelings for Ginny.
The only one who doesn’t seem to be enjoying his year is Draco. On the train to school, Harry overhears Draco talking about a mission he was given, and though no one believes him, Harry is convinced that Draco is now a Death Eater involved in one of Voldemort’s plots. Draco spends much of his time in the Room of Requirement and is visibly becoming more scared, stressed, and upset.
A new teacher is at the school this year, Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), who loves to collect promising students like trophies, and he hopes Harry will be his ultimate trophy. Back in his day, Slughorn had collected Voldemort himself while he was still just a budding young wizard. Dumbledore hopes to use Harry to get close to Slughorn and learn the secret that has kept Voldemort alive all these years.
This sixth Harry Potter movie won’t disappoint fans of the book or movies. It’s long—two and a half hours—but not bad for a 600+ page book. The first two-thirds of the movie are fun and light-hearted with all the hormones and snogging at Hogwarts.
But the Half Blood Prince is by far the darkest book and movie up to this point, and director David Yates does an excellent job crafting the creepy and down-right scary end of the movie.
Die-hard fans of the book won’t be happy with the changes to plot, especially omitting the battle scene. But with such a full movie, it’s understandable that some trims had to be made. However, Yates’ addition of scenes not in the book are inexplicable when such good material from the book had to be cut. The movie ends darkly, without the hope and significance that the cut funeral scene should have lent the end.
Despite some complications at the end, this is one of the best Harry Potter movies yet. It’s a dark movie, with some violence and scary scenes, so discretion should be used with the kids!
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie.
• Harry has to make Dumbledore drink the poison in the cave, even though it’s horrible to watch and hard to do. Have you ever had to do something really difficult, that might have even seemed like you were hurting them, in order to help someone you love?
• Dumbledore repeatedly asks Harry to trust him, when he has to do or watch difficult things. Can you relate to this in your relationship with God? Have you ever had to trust that God knew what he was doing, even when a situation seemed awful?
Note: All movie-related graphics in this column are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective movie studios.