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Friday, March 12, 2010

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (2009)


It's good news for Potter fans that scripter Steve Kloves has returned after the underwhelming ORDER OF THE PHOENIX/’07. Less welcome is the retention of David Yates who megs like a muggle. His main idea this time out is to (quite literally) drain most of the color out of the story in an attempt to capture the elegiac tone of J. K. Rowling’s penultimate volume. Glum is about all he can manage. The sole gag in 2 & ½ hours involves . . . gagging! Things pick up about halfway thru with a CGI-heavy Quidditch match that (almost) makes sense of the game, and there's a spirited return to form for Potter pals Rupert Grint & Emma Watson after their partial eclipse in the last pic. Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry holds to the standard he reached under Mike Newell in GOBLET OF FIRE/’05, but his challenge here is partnering Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore & Jim Broadbent’s Slughorn since Yates’ idea of characterization is to have them dozing off on screen. It fits right in with Yates’ sleepy ideas on screen composition. Luckily, Rowling’s narrative drive finally kicks in and the improved CGI effects work wonders as long as we stay in Hogwarts' wizardly environment.

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