Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: /10
What is not to love about this cover.  Harry and Dumbledore looking over their shoulders, wands at the ready.  This is dark, and quite interesting at the same time.  It fits with the rest of the Harry Potter covers, but also is more of an action shot than some of the older movies.

Features: 8/10

  • Maximum Movie Mode – This is your classic pop-up information that plays with the movie.  It is well done, and informative, and most Potter fans will like the inclusion of this with the movie.
  • J.K Rowling: A Year In The Life – At 50 minutes or so, this is a long extra for this movie.  I loved this little gem, as it focuses on J.K. Rowling as she developed and finished the last of the Harry Potter books.  We get a glimpse at how her world has evolved as she has become one of the most recognized writers of our time, and we also get to see just what goes into writing such a big project like the Harry Potter books.  This is just a great little extra.
  • What’s On Your Mind – Tom Felton (Draco) asks the cast questions that they are forced to immediately come up with answers.  Kind of fun to see, and it runs about 7 minutes long.
  • Additional Scenes – We get 8 scenes here that were cut from the movie.  There are some neat sequences that I presume were cut just for time issues, as there is so much in the book that could not have possibly been put into a movie.  Not bad scenes overall, and it makes me wonder if we will see extended versions of some of these Harry Potter movies at some point.
  • One Minute Drills – This is short one minute  interview with each of the main cast members, talking about their roles in the movies overall.  It runs about 7 minutes long, and is pretty fun to watch actually, as we get to see the actor’s take on their focus in the movies.
  • Sneak Peek At The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter @ Universal Orlando Resort – At about 11 minutes in length, this is a view into the new attraction at the Universal Orlando resort dedicated to all things Harry Potter.

The Movie: 9/10
I am not going to try to sugar coat it, I love Harry Potter.  I love the books, I love the movies, and I just love the experience.  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the 6th book out of 7, and it is the 6th movie of 8 (as they have divided the final book into 2 movies).  In this episode (for they are really episodes in a way) we get to see the kids developing into young adults, complete with snogging and romantic jealousy.  The Hogwarts crew are no longer the smallest kids in the castle, and while they look considerably older than they probably should, the change is very apparent in this movie.

Harry and Ron look like adults, and Hermoine is no longer a cuty little girl, but a beautiful woman.  Draco looks considerably older than he should, but it almost adds to his considerably more evil persona.  The movie itself seems more grown up, and the darkness extends to almost everyone (except for the bumbling  Professor Slughorn, who seems to be the comic relief of sorts.)  Even Dumbledore was a bit more aloof and seemed detached in this movie.

The Half Blood Prince is kind of a filler movie and book in my opinion, but the movie really does a great job of focusing on Harry and how things have changed in his world.  In the last movies, he was more protected by the group or Order, made up mostly of adults, and in this one it seems to be the start of Harry having to rely mainly on himself, which is a great setup for the ultimate ending of this epis saga.  Harry is now dealing with his teenage emotions, as are Hermoine and Ron, as jealousy and feelings of love start to effect the main characters of the movie.

Harry is now coming to grips with the fact that Voldemort is coming for him, and Harry is forced to take things into his own hands as discovers that Draco Malfoy is perhaps his closest enemy.  The actions taken by Draco alarm Harry at the same time the he is struggling to work out just how and why Voldemort is regaining his strength.  It is also fun to note that Professor Snape, who has been promoted to Professor of the Dark Arts, is also fully wrapped up with Bellatrix Lestrange, who is a key member of Voldemort’s Deatheaters, who are hell bent on removing all of the players who might make it difficult for Voldemort’s return.

At this point Harry is resigned to the fact that a showdown is coming, but he is still trying to grasp what that really means.  In his quest, Dumbledore continually shows him glimpses of Dumbledore’s memories of Tom Riddle, who eventually becomes the evil dark lord.

Harry also becomes a potions engenue as the text book he grabs for the new Professor Slughorn’s class comes complete with handwritten notes that seem to be spot on for every nuance to the class.  At the front of the book, the inscription indicates that the book previously belonged to “the Half Blood Prince.”  We also find out about how Voldemort intends on using “horcruxes” to regain his power, and we get to see Harry as he begins his own quest to beat the dark lord to the hidden magical artifacts.

The acting in Half Blood Prince is quite good, even for this crew.  They seem to have fallen into the routine nicely, and while this is part of the end of the series, it still manages to feel fresh and funny at times as the actors really have nailed down the personalities of the characters (or have we given the actors’ personalities to the book’s characters?)  Either way, it if a wickedly fun movie, and it really makes me want to watch both the older movies, and re-read the books.  I can’t wait for the last few movies, but at the same time, it will be a shame when this series is done.

Audio & Video: 8/10
This movie uses a very stylized setup, and the movie itself is dark and heavy.  The scenes seem to vary in terms of sharpness, and while there are a lot of low light shots, most of them look excellent.  Colors are muted and there is a bit of grain used in some of the shots, but overall the Blu-ray looks great.  I have read some people see quite a bit of artifacting at certain parts of the movie, and I can understand their points in some respects, but overall I feel that it is a well done transfer.  It is presented in wide screen 2.40:1, and it looks very good overall.

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD, and it is magnificent.  The use of the Surround Sound 5.1 is amazingly well done, and it is used for small and large sounds, with dizzying effects.  It truly sounds great, and all of the dialogue and ambient sounds are crystal clear, without being too in your face, as to take you out of the movie experience.  The audio for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is truly spot on.

Value: 8/10
What are you going to do now that you have seen all 5 of the other Harry Pottters?  Are you gonna stop at this point?  I didn’t think so, and the Half Blood Prince is truly a great addition to the story and the movies.  I put this up their as one of the best movies so far, and it is a darker, more focused movie, with some of the best acting in the series.  Add to that the excellent Blu-ray experience, and this is a winner for sure.

Overall Score 8/10

Get it on Blu-ray™, DVD, & Digital Download December 8th