Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince : Movie Review

Every summer we're reminded of Hollywood's maniacal drive to give us increasingly bigger, allegedly better special effects. But "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" -- the sixth installment in the series of movies based on J.K. Rowling's roaringly popular novels -- suggests a less flashy and far more rewarding strategy: What we really need aren't bigger special effects but more magical ones -- and having a story worth telling should always be the foundation. The effects in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" are so believable they seem more naturalistic than special; they're situated so perfectly in their imagined universe that we have no trouble believing in their authenticity. The brass owl decorating the podium in Hogwarts' dining hall moves and preens until Dumbledore steps forward to speak, at which point it spreads its wings and respectfully freezes into position; when Hermione (Emma Watson) reshelves books in the library, they swoop out of her hands and find their appropriate places on even the highest of shelves; a quidditch match takes place during a snowfall, a believable, velvety backdrop for the players as they dip and swirl through the air on their broomsticks. In "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," magic happens as the characters are busy doing other things -- playing sports, falling in love, nursing broken hearts. And while this is, of course, a fantasy movie, the quiet and potent idea nestled inside it is that there's magic in and around the things of everyday life.

See www.salon.com for full review

Author : Stephanie Zacharek