So, after a few days of my wifes nagging, We finally went to see Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince.
And you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now, this may seem rather insignificant to you, but as my wife could probably tell you, I've always been rather indifferent to the Harry Potter movies. Not that I dont enjoy them, I've just never been particularly bothered about actually seeing them. I liked Order of the Phoenix, but again, I was very indifferent to actually going out and watching them. The same again was something I felt for Half-Blood Prince.
Now, the Book of the film was the only one in the series I found truly problematic. it wasnt bad, but It felt as if the entire thing was merely a setup for Deathly Hallows. To be honest, the last few books felt a little flabby compared to the rest, with multiple chapters of Harry being a whiny little bitch.
Daniel Radcliffe's performance in the film, however, takes a slightly different tone. After the rather miserable opening of Order of the Phoenix, admittedly, leading from the death of Cederic in Goblet of fire set the tone for the whole movie, leading up to the death of Sirius at the end of the movie.
...Look, the book came out in 2003, and the film in 2007. If you claim I'm spoiling it for you, fuck yourself. Seriously.
Anyways, Radcliffe's performance is the true sign that this young actor has truly ound his feet in the part. In the first few movies I was genuinely underwhelmed with his performances - even making allowance for his age - but in Half-Blood Prince he genuinely makes the part his own, bringing a certain zest to the performance that he previously lacked. And it really worked. His personality leapt off the screen in this film, bringing fantastic life to the movie. Similarly, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have matured into their roles, allowing the chemistry that the three have shown in interviews to finally come through on screen. Given that the film is far more concerned with the relationships between the characters than those that have come previously, it was just what they needed.
But thats not to say there isn't plenty of action. There is, but it's far mor subtle than in the film's predecessors. There are no really huge shootouts, no extended battles, which is good because there isnt any way this film could have done those sequences without either looking tame next to the last film or overshadowing the climax of the next (two?) films. The attempted attacks on Dumbeldore - especially the scene when a cursed Necklace takes hold, are fairly nerve-wracking.
And all of lends to the general feeling of darkness about this movie. This is not Shiney-Happy Potter. This is the culmination of all the grim imagery thats influenced the last three films, and its all a buildup to the Final sunrise of the last Film. It's a genuine credit to JK Rowling that most of the imagery in the film can be lifted directly from the book. Her Novels are incredibly visual in their writing, and that's one of the things that makes this film what it is: an amazing visual experience.