If you placed the Harry Potter series on a colour chart you’d notice it get gradually darker as we near to the end. For the first time since Christopher Columbus, a director would return to the helm with David Yates overseeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. A curious title sure to pique the interest of the Potterverse.
After Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) attack at the Ministry of Magic, there’s no denying that the Dark Lord has returned. Not content with waging war with his fellow wizards, Voldermort and his Death Eaters attack a familiar London landmark, killing many Muggles. School must go on, and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) finds himself excelling at potions for the first time after discovering a second hand school book signed by the Half-Blood Prince. His friends grow concerned as Harry becomes more infatuated with the book which exposes him to dark magic.
There are many twists and turns in this entry as we hurtle towards the series’ conclusion. Audiences are battered from pillar to post over the loyalty of Snape (Alan Rickman) with the Half-Blood Prince providing as a close to a resolution as we’ve seen thus far.
Rickman has been exceptional as Snape, providing straight man comic relief when necessary or adding a morose severity to proceedings. The duplicity of the character has been handled expertly and requires re-watching to truly appreciate the brilliant nuances of Rickman’s performance.
The look of the film matches the tone of the story, however they go a little overboard with the grading. All the colour is washed out leaving a gloomy haze. It certainly fits the atmosphere but it prevents anything from really standing out when it all looks the same.
Tom Felton gets a chance to flex his wings as Malfoy is further developed. Entrusted with a grave task by Voldemort, Felton superbly plays the part with confliction. His arrogant swagger begins to crack, underneath is a scared little boy hat’s clearly out of his depth.
It’s not all death and doom though as teased romances begin to blossom. The relationship between Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (pert Grint) has been handled brilliantly so far and it doesn’t disappoint here. The same can’t be said for Harry and Ginny (Bonnie Wright) however. Radcliffe and Wright) lack chemistry and their relationship feels forced.
Things are a little more frightening this time round and younger audiences may find themselves cowering behind the couch towards the end. The third act twist may be a much of a secret as who fathered Luke Skywalker but for those that don’t know I won’t ruin the surprise, and for those that do it’s still a tense soaked scene with a shocking end.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a more complete film than the Order of the Phoenix, and although the mould may have already been broken, the familiar pattern and formula of the script is shattered here. There is no resolution, nothing is really tied up, which is exactly what is needed as we near the end.