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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

A Half Baked Film

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has his hands full as he enters his sixth year of wizardry and magic at Hogwarts Academy. For starters, adolescence is in full bloom and Harry has his own raging hormones to deal with as well as those of his two pals, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint). As if that wasnít bad enough, it appears Voldemort, the Lord of Darkness, is rising and no one is safe. Thus begins a grim start to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

While I have not seen all of the Harry Potter films, this one appears to be the darkest. The film starts with three Death Eaters who wreak havoc in London and destroy a bridge killing a number of civilians. I canít tell you exactly why they do this nor do you ever really find out why they appear when they do. This is perhaps the biggest criticism I have of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Itís relatively inaccessible to someone who is not already acquainted or familiar with the material.

Muggles? Death Eaters? Quiddich? Itís all Greek to me. Actually, I just Googled "quiddich" and apparently itís an anti-itch spray primarily used for crabs. It wasnít just the language used in the film, but the actions of the relatively large cast. I appreciate mystery and being challenged as much as the next person, but by the end of the film there were way too many unanswered questions for my taste.

I suppose the director of the film (David Yates) was not terribly concerned about someone like myself while making the film as the books and films already have such an enormous following and thereís virtually zero chance of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince bombing at the box office even if itís not well received by critics.

The part of the film that was accessible involves the maturation of Harry and his two close friends Hermione and Ron. Harry finds himself awkwardly drawn to Ronís sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright). Unfortunately, Ginny is entangled with someone else. Hermione pines for Ron, but Ron is entangled with another girl. While I could barely comprehend the main storyline involving the Death Eaters, Voldemort, and Dumbledore, the Hogwarts 90210 storyline kept me marginally engaged.

Daniel Radcliffe does a solid job once again as a maturing Potter who despite being recognized as "the chosen one", comes across as bright, talented, but ultimately an accessible, awkward teenager with problems that involve things much more mundane than magical. Equally impressive were the performances of Alan Rickman as the dark, brooding Severus Snape and Michael Gambon as Potterís wise, but aging mentor Dumbledore.

While Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince will undoubtedly be well received by the legions of fans the books and films have generated, anyone not riding the Harry Potter train will likely be in for a bumpy, perplexing, and somewhat frustrating ride. That being said, the film is still somewhat engaging and entertaining even if you donít know a muggle from a hole in the ground.