Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the sixth movie in Harry Potter film series. Too dependent on previous films or expecting the audience to have read the books, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince fails to develop into a complete movie.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is whisked away by his professor and fellow wizard Dumbledore (Michael Gambon )to meet with Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) to encourage him to return to his professorship at Hogwarts School. Harry and Dumbledore continue to attempt to find a way to defeat Lord Voldemort and prevent him from returning to the living world. Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) dance around their feelings for each other and engage in typical teenage romance melodrama. Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) sneaks around, waving his wand at bookcases in dark storage rooms, spiraling down an emotional whirlpool.

As an added bonus for the audience, the director and writers have left bonus loose ends for the audience to enjoy. The extraneous footage includes destroying mystical stuff, a girl who has a crush on Harry, some broom related sporting events, potions, and curses. The cinematic loose ends fray long enough to braid and be sold as rope to climbers heading off for K2.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince reminds me of leftover casserole. Leftover casserole is made by taking the remnants of a week’s worth of food, layering it in a casserole dish and hoping it tastes good enough that your family won’t run out on you. If you sprinkle it with parmesan cheese, it can look delicious, but it almost always tastes like week old, reheated donkey-butt stew. Director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves take a bit of left over the Sorcerer’s Stone, covers it in Order of the Phoenix, slathers on Chamber of Secrets, dumps in Goblet of Fire and sprinkles Prisoner of Azkaban, bakes it with parmesan on top (the special effects) and thinks we will eat it.

It shows a total lack of cinematic integrity to assign the audience required reading or mandatory viewing in order to understand anything that is taking place on screen. It is perfectly rational to expect a first time Harry Potter viewer won’t get every mention but they shouldn’t be completely lost. It is not too much to ask for a bit of recap, artfully worked into the story so new viewers can understand what is going on. It irritates me to no end that David Yates, and the production staff think we should pay full price for a half a movie. In one of the more “intense” scenes in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Dumbledore says, “Once again I must ask too much of you, Harry” but I think it’s the writer and director who have asked too much of the audience by hiding the casserole behind a smoke screen - literally.

Smoke comes out of the water, goes into the water, is outdoors, is indoors, and seems to follow Harry and his compadres, regardless of their travels. Harry would be the alpha caveman of any cave based solely on his ability to attract fire to himself. Based solely on the beauty of the smoke, Harry Potter is a stunning movie.

All of the effects in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince shimmer almost brightly enough to make one blind to the disparities in the plot. Well lit sets are set against green-screen created backgrounds that seem to flow naturally into each other. While some of the scenes don’t work as well as others, they all work well enough to suspend disbelief and make wizardry riveting.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince has no beginning, nor an end; it is only a middle. With nothing to tell the audience what has happened up until now and an unraveling carpet for an ending, it fails to offer the audience a reason to sit through the film. It should be renamed to Harry Potter and a Half.

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