Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K UHD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.”
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Drama
Warner Bros. | PG – 153 min. – $49.95 | March 28, 2017
Date Published: 03/31/2017 | Author: The Movieman
Note: Portions were copied from my original 2011 Blu-ray review. In addition, the video and audio transfers pretty much match between HP5-7.2 even with three different cinematographers.
THE MOVIE — 4.0/5
Although not as strong of a narrative as previous outings, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is still a good entry in the sixth entry into the series that sets up for one mighty of a two-part finale set for release in 2010 and 2011.
After the events in Order of the Phoenix when things looked bleak for our intrepid Harry Potter (DANIEL RADCLIFFE) – with the Ministry of Magic targeting Dumbledore (MICHAEL GAMBON) and Potter for their warnings that Voldemort is in fact back – saw many changes for Hogwarts until they are vindicated with the witnessing of the Dark Lord’s presence. When Half-Blood Prince opens, we find that Harry is now a celebrity and the Chosen One in the wizardry world, but Voldemort and his Death Eaters grow ever so bold by even attacking in the Muggles’ world.
Meanwhile, Dumbledore enlists the help of Harry to recruit one Professor Horace Slughorn (JIM BROADBENT) to return to teach at Hogwarts because he may have important memories of interactions with Tom Riddle a.k.a. Voldemort but he is more than reluctant to reveal them. We also find the sleazy Draco Malfoy (TOM FELTON) who, with the help of his mother and Bellatrix (HELENA BONHAM CARTER), working for Voldemort in a secret mission critical in the Dark Lord’s plans for Hogwarts while Severus Snape (ALAN RICKMAN) has pledged to protect Draco.
All through that, Harry’s best friends Ron Weasley (RUPERT GRINT) and Hermione Granger (EMMA WATSON) are growing up and a little teenage angst crops up as Ron starts dating an off-kilter chick much to Hermione’s chagrin while Harry may also find his own love interest in a close friend. Kind of “Degrassi” with wizards…
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince isn’t a bad entry into the series, but I never quite got into it either. I didn’t think the narrative or plot was as fulfilling as the others (coming from a non-reader of the books) though it does set up the two-part finale. I can’t put my finger on it, as the cast is still good and the direction seemed to be right, but it didn’t really hold my attention compared with the previous entries.
However, the movie does feature some solid performances from the reliable Michael Gambon to the kids who we’ve watched grow up on screen. Plus, I’ve always found the supporting cast in the Potter films to be pretty impressive. Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall (who doesn’t even have any lines), David Thewlis, Robbie Coltrane and many others make brief appearances in important roles.
Overall, I still think it’s a decent movie in a series that’s always been high in quality. Director David Yates who also made his wizardry debut with Order of the Phoenix effectively provides a dark tone to the series that will culminate with a massive battle. And after missing from the previous film, Steve Kloves makes his return as screenwriter. I felt Kloves was the missing ingredient from OotP and in a few ways, Half-Blood Prince manages to get back on course.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Focus Points (37:26; HD) – With this, you can take a look at individual featurettes on the various aspects of the film like set design, visual effects, different characters and the like. Compared with the Order of the Phoenix release, this one is quite short yet still offers some insight into the process.
Close-Up with the Cast of Harry Potter (28:34; HD) – Hosts Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) and Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas) lead us on an entertaining look at the cast of Harry Potter as they explore their interests away from acting and spend a day on set with the production team. This featurette is split into 8-parts each spending time with certain members of the cast or crew (i.e. the first one shows star Daniel Radcliffe and Editor Mark Day having a conversation about film editing or Rupert Grint shows off with the stunt department). Luckily there is a Play All option so you can watch them all without stopping.
One-Minute Drills (6:45; HD) – Each cast member has 60 seconds to describe his or her character’s personality, history, relationships and other traits before time runs out. If you want a Cliff’s Notes on each character, this is the featurette for you…
First Footage from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (1:50; HD) – Fans will surely rejoice upon seeing this footage for the final Harry Potter movie. After some comments from the director and producer (within behind-the-scenes footage), there is about 44 seconds of footage to tease the fans.
J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life (49:46; HD) – A look into the life of J.K. Rowling over the last year of writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Just to note, an advisory beforehand states that it reveals information on important story points which occur in the final book. This was actually a well filmed look at the author, her life and the process of writing the novel.
What’s on Your Mind? (6:43; SD) – Hosted by Tom Felton, the cast is put on the spot when asked a series of rapid-fire questions on their likes and dislikes. I’m sure some fans will take notes to update these actors’ Wikipedia pages.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (11:40; SD) – This is an “inside look” at the amazing world of magic and excitement being created at Universal Orlando Resort. The Resort is building the Harry Potter theme park where visitors are able to experience what we’ve seen in the movies or read in the books. Most of it is just concept art of what it will look like, though I think I saw some pictures crop up online of Hogwarts.
Next up are some Deleted Scenes (6:51; HD), 8 to be exact, that I imagine will make it into an extended version when Warner releases the film as an “Ultimate Edition” in a couple years probably. The scenes themselves aren’t great and a few are extended from what was already in the film.
There is also Theatrical Trailers (HD).
VIDEO – 5.0/5
|Warner Home Video releases Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince onto 4K presented with a 2160p ultra high-definition transfer and, as the franchise became more adult in tone, is quite dark and in this format, blacks are stark while never losing detail and when there is color, it appears vibrant. Compared with its Blu-ray counterparts, I did notice a fine improvement albeit nothing profound.|
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|The audio also receives the upgrade treatment. Whereas the Blu-ray came with an already great DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, this one kicks it up a notch to DTS:X which is more robust by comparison. As before, dialogue levels do sound crisp, clear and clean from the center channel and ambient noises fill the room well enough but where it comes to life is with the more action-oriented scenes.|
OVERALL – 4.25/5
While Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince didn’t quite grab me compared to a few of its predecessors, it’s still an entertaining entry leading way to an intense two-part finale. This 3-disc 4K UHD release from Warner offers excellent video/audio transfers and ports over some great bonus material from the Ultimate Collector’s Edition releases from a few years back.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.