Blu-ray Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince still Ticks Michelle Off and Blu-ray Doesn’t Help

Lord knows I’m not one who believes movies should be like booksbut watching this movie in the comfort of my own home reaffirms my contention that this is the absolute worse book to movie adaptation I’ve ever seen. I don’t even like the Half Blood Prince book, so I was really hoping they’d take some liberties to improve upon it. I’m not going to try not to rehash my movie review from earlier this summer, but I will say this: this is one dark, drab, dreary, ugly looking, half assed shot movie and the hi-def transfer doesn’t help it at all.


Movie Review

Watching the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince feels like someone poured scalding hot acid on me, that’s how much this movie grates on my nerves. I knew I didn’t like it before I purchased the Blu-ray, but damn it, I own all the other HP movies so for better or worse – I feel obligated to complete the set. But man does this movie piss me the hell off! If I didn’t know anything about the books it could at least be passable, but even as an avid fan of the first 4 movies, Half-Blood Prince makes no sense even within the confines of the film series and ultimately doesn’t have any reason to exist. You could watch the first 5 films and jump right to next years Deathly Hallows movie and not miss a single thing. That’s how utterly pointless HBP is and it’s 2 1/2 hours! Sure you may wonder what happened to Dumbledore (but here’s a spoiler Deathly Hallows is all about Dumbledore – unless they wisely cut most of that Rita Book crap),

In the last movie, OOTP, we find out that Harry is the only one who can kill Voldemort, but in HBP we don’t get a single freaking scene of Harry training to do this, we do not get a single scene of him being worried about his task, we don’t get a single freaking scene where he talks about the prophecy to Dumbledore or with anyone. He JOKES about being the Chosen One. What we get are endless freaking scenes of Ron and Hermione fighting or Ron and Lavender, made up scenes like the awful coffee shop or burning of the Burrow. Dumbledore shows Harry a piece of Voldemort’s past but never explains why until the big Horcrux reveal.

Harry asks Dumbledore about them, he says, “they can be any old object or trinket, Harry,” and just casually shows him the diary and ring. But doesn’t mention their IMPORTANCE! It would have taken 7 minutes of screen time for them to combine the Riddle memories to show the cup, the ring and the locket, or hell Dumbledore just had to say, “they could be anything, but V sees himself as great as the founders.” How difficult is it to say that!? Instead they invent the “Dark Magic leaves traces” copout and then Dumbledore just casually says the ring belonged to Voldemort’s mother. I hate Michael Gambon as Dumbledore he’s awful and I would say I’m glad he died in this movie, but I know he’s going to be all over Deathly Hallows.

It’s also frustrating because there are things that I did love, like Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, I would love to see him get an Oscar Nomination for his supporting performance. I loved all the stuff with Harry and Slughorn. I loved the Hospital scene and Dumbledore’s hysterical, asshole comment about the pains of young love. While I hated the burning of the Burrow, I really liked that reaction shot. But then the next scene it’s not even mentioned, as if it never happened. I liked the few quiet moments with Ginny and Harry at the Burrow, but that’s never followed up on, we get that dumb chaste kiss and we never get a single shot of them actually DATING!

Picture Quality/Presentation

I really like the packaging it’s standard for a 3 disk set, but the 3D Holographic slip cover is pretty neat. If you look at it, it shows Dumbledore and Harry, but tilt it a bit and it switches to Draco and Snape.The menu navigation is the Standard WHV navigation. It looks really nice this time the fonts and color pallet work really well.   The picture is 1080P, 2.4:1 with a 16×9 aspect ration. I have no issues with the quality of the transfer. As I said in the beginning this is one ugly looking movie and the Blu-ray transfer just brings out the ugliness of the cinematography. Yes, it’s a pristine 1080p transfer, but do I really need to see drab browns in crystal clarity? I don’t think so. Subtitles are in English, French and Spanish and the Audio is in Dolby TrueHD 5.1.


Disc 1 contains the Movie and the Maximum movie mode with the focus points, and BD-Live while Disc 2 contains all the really cool features including:

  • Close-up With the Cast of Harry Potter (28 Mins) (HD) – A nice series of short features with various members of the cast walking you through various film departments. Neville and Deans intros are really cute and funny.
  • One Minute Drills (6 Min) (HD)- Cast members (Dan, Emma, Rupert, Tom, and James and Oliver Phelps – the Twins) get 60 seconds to explain their characters through 6 films. Chris Columbus gets mad props for putting this cast together and the producers have done an amazing job keeping them together.
  • Footage from Dealthly Hallows (2 Min) (HD) – Starts with David Heyman and David Yates then goes into the teaser clip. It looks good, but after the debacle of HBP I have little hope this movie will be good. I like the look of Shell Cottage.
  • JK Rowling A Year in the Life (50 Min) (HD) – Very cool documentary that follows JK around as she writes the final installment.
  • What’s on your Mind? (6 Min) (HD) – Tom Felton asks fellow cast members questions.
  • Wizarding World of Harry Potter (11 Min) (HD) – A look at the upcoming Harry Potter theme park – I wanna go so badly now, whaaaa….
  • 8 Deleted Scenes (HD) – These are all less than a minute and are basically more Harry Hermione moments. Does this moron David Yates understand Harry ends up with Ginny? It’d be nice if he added some moments with Harry and Ginny. There’s one little scene where Dumbledore gets to say “I wasn’t scared because I was with you Harry.” A nice line in the book. There’s this weird scene with Flitwick conducting the orchestra and while the death eaters enter the castle, it ends with Ron and Hermione looking out the window. Again this is an incredibly stupid scene because no one does anything and there’s no big battle. It would have been awesome set up to an eventual rallying cry. Not to mention the song is horrid. So it should have been cut.

Disk 3 is the DVD Version and digital copy.

Final Comments

IThis is a really nice Blu-ray set for a really irritating movie. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. I paid $15 for it on Amazon, so that’s about the right price and I’m sure I’ll watch it a few more times and be frustrated, but I’m a masochist.


  • Movie – F
  • Video/Presentation – A
  • Features – A
  • Audio – B

Final Grade D

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 12.10.09

1 Comment

  1. As far as I can tell, Michelle didn’t like the movie because she didn’t like it. Her reaction was a personal, visceral one; which is fine, but tells us much more about her than the movie itself.

    For myself, I side with the many critics (not most, but many) who find the Half-Blood Prince to be among the best, if not THE best, of the series so far. The film sang to me – it was poignant, beautiful and occasionally poetic – and rarely less than charming. The director and adaptor wisely took the heart of the book, the chararcters, and made the film about them, rather than the slightly-dithering plot devices.

    The film reminded me of all that was best about the book, and helped me to forget everything in the book that felt slow or unnecessary. It is a delightful movie, and I will continue to take pleasure in it for many years to come. I hope that Michelle can take some of the same enjoyment in time.

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