Once again I must ask too much of you, Harry
Running Time: 153 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: 12A
Country: United Kingdom, United States
For a while there, I was one of those girls who pre-ordered their Harry Potter books and waited around all day for them to arrive, marking out a few days in my calendar to dedicate to reading as quickly as I could so as not to be spoiled by an eager fellow Potter fan or a wayward news report. Then life got the best of me, and I still havent finished the last book in the series. I had forgotten a lot, going in to this sixth installment of the Potter film franchise, but watching it, the magic was back, and I remembered why this was my favorite of all the novels.
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), Ron (Rupert Grint), and the rest of the gang are back for another year at Hogwarts, but its a much darker, scarier place these days. Death Eaters are all abouteven hurting Mugglesand theres a definite air of impending badness hanging around. Plus, everyones in love with everyone else, which just seems to complicate everything. Throw in on top of that Harrys mysteriously powerful Potions bookformer property of the Half-Blood Prince, Draco Malfoys increasingly strange behavior, and a search for the tiny pieces of Voldemorts soul that have been divvied up in pieces all around the world, and Harry and his friends are in for a battle they could never have anticipated, even in a world full of magic.
Like I said, this was my favorite of all the novels, and I believe it could also be my favorite of the films. Even at two-and-a-half-plus hours, though, theres a lot missing that was on the page, so literalists might be disappointed. The best thing to do is just enjoy the movie as a separate entity altogetherand with this interpretation, thats easy to do. Screenwriter Steve Kloves is back on board (hes been with the franchise for five out of six films, skipping only the last installment), so everyone seems a little more themselves than they did in Order of the Phoenix. It seems, also, that as the story has matured, so have the performances of the leads (and special mention to Tom Felton as Draco, who I never expected to break my heartbut hes that good), and its great to see the balance between magic, romance, and dark, dark stuff.
Lest it seem Im an enraptured fangirl though, there were some issues. At times, theres a disjointed feeling to the scenes that, while it works in some ways as a method for tying all the threads together, it also leaves one somewhat discombobulated. Probably my biggest complaint, though, is with the ending; regardless of the book, even as a penultimate entry in a film series with what shouldve been a heart-ripping climax, it falls a little flat, with other emotional moments packing a much bigger wallop. Overall, though, its 153 minutes that fly by, well worth its ticket price.
It's Got: Awesome effects, Alan Rickman, magic teens in love
It Needs: little more action at the end
Alternatives:Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Inkheart
An all-around thrilling experience, even at two-and-a-half hours, this Harry Potter installment only whets our appetite for the final act(s) with touches of humor, romance, adventure, and a little bit of scariness.