The Half-Blood Prince is the turning point that sets the stage for the grand finale, and its uniqueness makes it the best Harry Potter movie.
It is quite difficult to choose a favorite among the eight Harry Potter movies, especially since most of them are very different in scope and scale and deal with different issues for their characters. Corn The Half-Blood Prince offers such a unique perspective that can easily take the place of the best entry in the franchise.
The Half-Blood Prince is the penultimate book of Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s series and the sixth film. The stakes are high for Harry: after losing his godfather Sirius Black, the closest person he had to a family, he loses his mentor Dumbledore at the hands of Professor Snape, whom he later discovers is acting as a spy among the dark forces. It’s also the first time in the series that the wizarding world recognizes that not only is Voldemort back, but he’s gathering his followers to finally rise to power. Darkness draws closer and fear grows.
This is also the last year that Harry, Ron, and Hermione attend Hogwarts, as they decide not to return for the seventh and final year. The Half-Blood Prince embraces a haze of nostalgia, but the film is also keen to show, for the first time, Professor Snape playing his part, as he reluctantly but thoroughly swears an unbreakable vow to protect and guide Draco Malfoy, who has become a pawn in the hands of Lord Voldemort, as he attempts to assassinate Professor Dumbledore.
Draco Malfoy is one of the more interesting characters as his arc gets twisted. Previously seen as a contrasting arrogant villain who enjoys emulating his father’s evil personality, here he resides in the gray area between good and evil. Draco is forced into a life-threatening situation, one no young adult should ever have to endure, despite Professor Snape’s best attempts to help him. The scene in the film where this is most prevalent is when a sobbing Malfoy realizes that by using the Vanishing Cabinet he is responsible for the death of a bird.
In contrast, Harry plays a rather dark role. His potions book, which belonged to Snape, helps him become a star student in Professor Slughorn’s class. But it also brings out his darker side as he explores unknown spells like Sectumsempra, which nearly kills Malfoy. It’s as if each character is deconstructed, revealing a not-so-pretty side of themselves: Dumbledore recruits Harry to spy on Professor Slughorn, who lives in shame for helping Tom Riddle, aka Voldemort, understand magic black of the Horcruxes; Hermione breaks up with Ron, revealing how cold their relationship can get despite the fact that they are secretly in love with each other; Snape is forced to kill Dumbledore to protect Malfoy and his position as a spy as a Death Eater.
Yet the film is also a sight of unrelenting good heart. These characters understand that everything has changed and that their world will never be the same again. If they want to survive, they must not only stick together, but be linked to each other. Harry cries and will continue to cry, but he also finds love in Ginny. Ron and Hermione’s relationship, though tested to the limit, is on fire, and Dumbledore makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect Harry and Snape.
David Yates’ superb direction is all about the characters, as well as building an ever darker tone in the franchise, from The order of the Phoenix at Deathly Hallows Parts I and II. In The Half-Blood Princethe tone is enhanced by Bruno Delbonnel’s dark and hazy photography, the only Harry Potter entry never nominated for a film Oscar.
Although The Deathly Hallows deals with the conclusion of the story, it is in The Half-Blood Prince that everything is set for the conclusion of the series. This is truly a film about heartbreak, fear, and regret, and it ends feeling like the ending won’t be pretty or easy. At the same time, it is also a matter of kinship, trust and love. Its ability to blend them together so well makes it the best film in the franchise.
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