Moviewatch – Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince

Yesterday was our first available day to go and see the new Harry Potter film. I checked out the times, and asked my daughter “Shall we go for the quarter past one showing, or go earlier?” … So there we were at the cinema for the 10am showing along with just ten other people in the biggest screen at Didcot. We had popcorn for breakfast too – well it is cereal!

As for the film, well it was blooming marvellous; blooming being a good adjective as our magical trio are flowering into decent actors. Just as well, as love is in the air at Hogwarts – plenty of full-on teenage pashes, snogging, despair when the love is unrequited, and relief (phew!) when it goes the way it should. Hormones abound, and there were hints of more too (which luckily still go over my daughter’s head – she just found the kissing a bit squirmy!). It was nice to see Bonnie Wright as Ginnie Weasley mature too. That’s the sex, then there are the drugs. Now they’re 16 going on 17, our teenagers are very aware, but the substances to be abused are of course potions for luck and love. The results are really comical.

What about the rock ‘n’ roll? Well it’s enough to say that the Death Eaters are very, very bad indeed! HBC (Helena Bonham Carter) is an absolute psycho and Helen McCrory puts in a magnificently creepy cameo as Narcissa Malfoy. Young Tom Felton got a chance to show a different, tortured side of Draco Malfoy as he is initiated into the Death Eaters and gets the worst task he could imagine to demonstrate his loyalty to Voldemort. Don’t ask about Snape!

The real stars of this film though are Michael Gambon and Jim Broadbent. Dumbledore is never more enigmatic – you sense that he really does know what’s going to happen to him. But he has to pass on the quest to Harry, and for that he needs to tempt Horace Slughorn back to Hogwarts. Many years ago, Slughorn was potions master and was a collector of people including Tom Riddle – boo! hiss! Broadbent is wonderfully oily as he chats up Harry, little knowing he is being chatted up himself to help fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle over Voldemort’s power.

For anyone who hasn’t read the book or seen the film, I won’t divulge more, except to say that you probably need to have seen the previous couple of episodes to know what’s going on. This, the sixth instalment veers from high comedy to the darkest depths with very little middle-ground for a breather. But that’s alright by me – can’t wait for the final films.

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