Joining us today is good friend Adam Spunberg. Adam has done tons of things that I need to mention. He is the editorial producer at MLBAM, a writer for MLB, associate editor at Picktainment, co-creator of the Jane Austen Twitter Project, founder of The Potter Games, producer/co-host of the Hunger Games Fireside Chat, and much more! Thanks for the guest post Adam, and welcome to the Reflections family!
When Kim asked me if I would like to write a guest blog on Harry Potter, I was thrilled to help out, but I was even more excited when she told me I could choose which film I wanted to write about. I’m actually a pretty big fan of all the movies (even Cuaron’s Prisoner of Azkaban has grown on me over the years), but there’s a reason the David Yates-directed Half-Blood Prince was, and has remained my favorite in this wonderful franchise.
The biggest challenge in directing a Harry Potter film is finding some way to effectively keep to the source material and also appeal to the common populace at the same time. Still, there is plenty of room for artistic liberty: Rowling might describe a wand fight, for instance, but the filmmakers can decide who’s in the fight, what camera angles to use, lighting, positioning, how much time to invest on the scene, etc. Of all the Potter directors, Yates seems to have the best grasp on finding that balance, and then – once he establishes how loyal he wants to be to the written word – putting a whimsical stamp on the things he can control.
Every scene is deliberated over with such care, whether it be a spectacular two-minute sequence at Fred and George’s joke shop or the waves crashing against the shore when Harry and Dumbledore track down a horcrux. We also have plenty of the gooey stuff (which I admit, I liked!), with teenage love floating through Hogwarts like pixie dust in the air – as Ron learns, sometimes to his detriment. Catapulted by a wondrous score from Nicholas Hooper and a plethora of memorable scenes, Half-Blood Prince is simply a delight to watch, even as the conclusion leaves you in shambles.
I also should point out what an exceptional addition Jim Broadbent is to the tale, stepping in as the fame-obsessed, slightly unscrupulous Horace Slughorn. The child leads also seem to have really come of age here, and the rest of the supporting cast – many of them A-List stars – pull their weight with considerable charm. I’ll be curious to see if Deathly Hallows, Part II can supplant Half-Blood Prince as my favorite Potter movie, but unless those recollections in my pensieve go rotten, it will be a Hagrid-size tall order. Still, I’m hopeful!
5 out of 5 StarsHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) Warner Brothers PG, 153 Minutes