Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2009
Dir: David Yates
July 29, 2009
OK, who is this David Yates? This is way better than Order of the Phoenix (2007), also directed by Yates, which, honestly, can not hold up on its own. This interpretation of The Half-Blood Prince, while not perfect, shows a director trying to do something different with a huge cash cow like the Harry Potter series.
Harry needs to find out more about Voldemort, and most of the things he needs can be found at Hogwarts, including memories, some incomplete. YEAR 6, REPRESENT. Honestly, it's the best book (IMO), and Yates did a good job of getting most of the important things in there, and some of the added stuff actually worked well (Harry ogling a black waitress, tryin to "chat up birds" freal). The whole atmosphere of the movie is well done, and the toned down action let's some interesting things, like nonchalant magic (not done well since Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)), breathe.
So the acting. While the big three have gotten a lot better, they all have their wince moments. None suffers as badly as D. Radcliffe. Rupert Grint is probably the best actor of the three, while Emma Watson is somewhere in the middle. I was not impressed by Bonnie Wright as Ginny, in her new "flame" role. The one big surprise was Tom Felton as Draco, who honestly played the conflicted, frightened and desperate card to a tee. His weeping is way more convincing than Radcliffe's. The adults are all pretty much awesome, especially Rickman and Gambon, though Helena B.C. is a little too silly to be scary as femme-psycho Bellatrix LaStrange. Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn is equally good too, adding a bit more flair to the contrived character of the book.
This is up at the top with Azkaban as the the best HP films; all the others are at the bottom of the hill. I'm glad that Yates is coming back, especially with 2 movies to do his thing for one book. I'm actually kind of intersted now to see how he will turn that seriously flawed last novel into visual format.