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Latest Harry Potter Delivers
'Half Blood Prince' is the best flick yet
Nicolas van der Leek (Nick)     Print Article 
Published 2009-07-08 01:36 (KST)   
Horace Slughorn: These are mad times we live in! Mad!

"It's all about sex, drugs and rock n' roll," British director David Yates said to The Daily Telegraph. "Okay, maybe we should take the 'drugs' out. Really, this film is more sex, potions and rock n' roll."

Harry and the Half-Blood Prince
I'm not sure if there's rock 'n roll, or sex, but "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" is stellar. It's the edgiest Potter flick of the lot so far. The cinematography is top notch, Steve Kloves has written a screenplay that is tight and well-conceived, and David Yates delivers a Potter flick that's a crafty combination of intelligence and sheer cinematic beauty. It's edgy. Oh, have I said that already?

The themes in "Half Blood Prince" are essentially love and death. The stakes go up a few notches in this one, and the film Yates gives us is a memorable beauty.

Ron Weasley: I'm in love with her!
Harry Potter: Alright. Fine. You're in love with her. Have you ever actually met her?
Ron Weasley: [pauses] No. Can you introduce me?

There's an unusual combination of levity and darkness in this one, but it's pulled off very well, with numerous artful representations that colorfully epitomize the tone and texture of wizards, castles, and the battle between light and dark. The film deploys skillful use of technology in cinema. And there's a good story -- and a lot to get through -- to boot.

Albus Dumbledore: Oh to be young and to feel love's keen sting.

The ceramic Emma Watson (as Hermione) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) have matured as performers, and are also old enough now to bring oodles of chemistry to the screen. They bring a delightful subplot (high school wrestling matches, infatuation versus love delightfully portrayed in the Hogwarts setting).

Lavender Brown: I happen to be his girlfriend!
Hermione Granger: Well, I happen to be his... friend.

Naturally there are the usual Potter (AKA 'The Chosen One') efforts -- to counter the shenanigans of Voldemort (oops shouldn't have said that). Harry gets more than his fair share of luck, as you might recall from the J.K. Rowling book, especially when he discovers a potions textbook owned by The Half Blood Prince, which he uses to good effect in the new lecturer's (Professor Slughorn's) class.

Slughorn is played credibly by the veteran Jim Broadbent (you'll remember he was Bridget Jones' eccentric father), but there are plenty of fine cameos. Who is the Half Blood Prince? What is a horcrux? Who falls in love with whom? There's plenty waiting for you in this one, including HARRY POTTER KISSING A GIRL, but Harry has an awful lot on his plate here, as the flick's motif suggests: Once again I must ask too much of you, Harry.

"Half Blood Prince" requires Harry to work with the difficult subtleties of emotions and memories, and I'll give this away. (Spoiler Alert!) Someone dies in this film. (Yes, you probably knew that already if you read the book, but do you remember how?).

Remus Lupin: [from trailer] Voldemort has chosen Draco Malfoy for a mission.

Draco Malfoy adds another subtext to this intricate, interesting flick. Malfoy is uncharacteristically ashen, and keeps company with a new set of dark allies. One of them is played by Helena Bonham Carter.

In the end, "Half Blood Prince" is a wonderful concoction of chuckles, light romance, beautiful flourishes and delicate touches and then some brutal and visceral magic. The magic is probably the real star, and it is woven throughout with such perfect brushstrokes that this has got to be one of the best flicks of 2009. I think Star Trek might have pipped Potter to the post, but by a whisker, by a flickering fairy light.

After this one there's only one more sadly, so enjoy Half Blood Prince. It really is a triumph -- but before I send you on your way to watch this, two warnings:

First, a last quote: Albus Dumbledore: Take my arm. That was fun. Most people vomit their first time.
Second, you really don't want to miss a glowing morsel of this flick, so visit the loo beforehand, and get an extra large popcorn for the ride. It's a tad over 2 hours 33 minutes long.

You'll walk out eager for more of what has become a high value product for young and old (besides the owners of this now billion dollar franchise). It's become an increasingly meaningful collection of stories about a sensitive but strong young man, who is growing up, who is trying to remember who he is and what he is meant to be doing. Good, right?

For more on the writer, visit www.nickvanderleek.com
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Nicolas van der Leek

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