Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is Certified Fresh

Plus, 500 Days of Summer is sweet and poignant.

This week at the movies marks the return of the young wizards of Hogwarts with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. How does the latest installment stack up with the critics?


84%
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Fresh

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Harry Potter franchise has maintained a level of quality nearly unmatched in recent times. And critics say the latest, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is no exception. This time out, Hogwarts has become a gloomy place, with suspicions running high and hormones running wild; in addition, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is steeling himself for a big showdown against the forces of evil. If Half-Blood Prince has a failing, pundits say, it's one that's common to franchises: it's a transitional installment. That said, the production design is moody and impeccable, the tension is palpable, and there's a welcome strain of humor to the proceedings. In addition, the three principal actors -- Radcliffe, Rupert Grint , and Emma Watson -- have grown into their roles, and the supporting players are outstanding. Half-Blood Prince isn't the best reviewed in the series -- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban holds that honor - but it's still Certified Fresh. (Check out RT's interviews with Radcliffe and director David Yates, as well as this week's Total Recall, in which we count down the best movie wizards.)


Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Somers Town, a comedy about two teens who overcome their differences to become close friends, is at 94 percent.
  • 500 Days of Summer, starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a dramedy about the rise an fall of a young couple's relationship, is at 89 percent.
  • The Way We Get By, a documentary about a group of seniors who gather at an airport to greet soldiers returning from Iraq, is at 89 percent.
  • Death in Love, starring Adam Brody and Joshua Lucas in a dark drama about a pair of brothers' dealings with their mother's actions during the Holocaust, is at 60 percent.
  • Off Jackson Avenue, a crime thriller about a New York woman attempting to escape sex slavery, is at 57 percent.
  • Homecoming, starring Mischa Barton in a thriller about a young woman who will do anything to win back her high school sweetheart, is at zero percent.

Comments

BlueLobster

Aaron Dean

sO excited! Gonna HAVE to see this and Moon (FINALLY) this weekend! But I'm gonna catch and early showing of Potter, don't want to deal with the evening crowds... blech.

500DOS should be great. And the others don't sound too bad either, even Homecoming, though if only for pure cheesiness.

Oh, and HPatHBP (oh dear, that shortening might be to close to HPV for comfort!) would probably be right up there with Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, had it not been for Armond White, but in a way, I consider it a fresh review. So in my mind, it IS the best reviewed Potter film.

Jul 16 - 04:43 PM

RottenB

Ben Jones

I thought it was staying in the 90 percentile throughout its run to be the best, but it fell short once all the critics weighed in. Oh well. The last should take 100% if done correctly.

Jul 16 - 04:44 PM

Chris B.

Chris Bellew

Half-Blood Prince was really one of the best in the Potter series. Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint know what they're doing and Gambon really hit the nail on the head with Dumbledore. It was great.

Jul 16 - 05:09 PM

Spirit Bear

Martin Tam

500 days is at just went up 1% now. I'm rooting for that as well.

Jul 16 - 05:50 PM

THECOWBELLHASSPOKEN

joseph rivera

gambon finally played dumbledore perfectly. i was bugged by two cuts, but this movie was freakin amazing. 9/10.

Jul 16 - 05:51 PM

celia h.

celia hambright

I thought Half Blood Prince was amazing!! Some of those critics reviews shouldn't even be considered because it's all a load of rubbish. You can tell they're not even trying to tell the truth...they're just going for the Shock factor and trying to be different. It's really annoying! But whatever. I LOVED the movie and the fan's opinion is what matters the most! :D

Jul 16 - 05:52 PM

bingo007

navaneetharan kamaraj

saw it yesterday. the movie is AMAZING.it was funny, i loved the quidditch.i loved the performances and the special effects were great and not overdone.but since they deliberately left out the final battle, i expect the one in DH to be nothing short of awesome.

Jul 16 - 06:31 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Yeah the Half Blood Prince was great and definitely my favorite in the series. If your able to see Moon or The Hurt Locker then go see them, there both great. I'll be seeing 500 Days of Summer tomorrow.

Jul 16 - 06:33 PM

Poor_Frisco

Christian Estabrook

What happened to Deconstructing Harry part 6??

Jul 16 - 06:33 PM

Hans M.

Hans Morgenstern

Man, 500 Days of Summer is one of my favorite movies of the year so far. It was as thrilling as Star Trek but on an emotional sort of level. Definitely one of the best romance films I have ever seen.

I hope to catch Moon this weekend, but Hurt Locker is oddly missing from Miami theaters though I have not looked real hard for it. I'll douoble check that tomorrow.

I'm an on and off Potter viewer. I walked out of the first one because I got dizzy from the cheese of it. I liked the Azkaban one, though I checked that one on to see what Cuaron coudl do with it. I saw the last one, too, and it was just OK for me. It's a maybe for me on this one, though I liked the mood of some of the scenes in the trailer. I just can't stand the detail they try to cram into these movies, struggling to hopelessly stay true to the books. Story and characters wind up watered down due to these hopeless efforts and it just gets annoying.

Jul 16 - 06:56 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

My mother and several of her friends saw it. They all agree it's the worst in the series. My mother has been continually saying she doesn't know what book the director read because it's not the same one she did. She was very disappointed and wants the first director back.

I, on the other hand, do not care. I refuse to see the movies and read the books. I watched The Hangover yesterday and loved it. Though we both agree that this has overall been a pretty disappointing year for movies.

Jul 16 - 07:01 PM

BlueLobster

Aaron Dean

I do not mean to offend, but are you from the planet we call Earth?

2009 has been an orgasm of film! Not only have there been many films to please fanboys and lovers of cult movies (Watchmen, Coraline, Star Trek, Drag Me to Hell, and now Half Blood Prince), but movies which are greatly appealing to the masses. So we had Chun Li, Dragaonball, and Transformers 2. WHO CARES! The other movies released so far -and the ones to come- make up for those more than they even need to.

Jul 16 - 11:46 PM

JettaJameson

James Lowell

I used to be like you. I refused to see any HP movies simply because of what they were. But then I watched Prisoner of Azkaban and fell in love. You should start with that one so you know how awesome it will get.

Jul 17 - 12:04 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Here's hopin' "Half Blood Prince" is better than the fifth, and makes more money than "Transformers 2". Both are almost certain.

Jul 16 - 07:19 PM

TheIceGhost

Harry Myland

A few minor gripes aside, HBP was great. I'm jonesin' to see it again, and probably will next week sometime.

I think it's going to be a hard fought battle as to whether this one or PoA is the best among fans. And that's a battle I don't think a lot of folks saw coming, and one in which there is no loser. It's amazing to see that six movies in this train keeps rolling along with the same insane amount of quality and effort. Even the haters can't deny that.

Speaking of, most of the negative reviews have been total BS. There's also a few in the 3 to 3.5 range that say more positive than negative things and could be fresh, so, this one *should* probably be around 90%, if not a little higher.

I hope HBP makes a BUTT TON OF MONEY. Bryan Lee O'Malley called it this year's Dark Knight, and I couldn't agree more >:P

Jul 16 - 07:38 PM

Magic is Might

Kane Kruzel

Disappointing year for movies? Maybe if you are a shutin and you dont like good movies. Lets just name a quick couple movies that were great. Hangover, Star Trek, Public Enemies, Harry Potter, IMO Transformers 2, UP. What are you smoking?

Jul 16 - 07:39 PM

inactive user

Jared King

I hate to agree with you...but I must! 2009 has been awesome.

Jul 16 - 08:48 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Yeah this year has been great, all though I think its odd putting Transformers 2 next to UP. Great movies- Coraline, Watchmen, Duplicity, Adventureland, Observe and Report (yes I loved it), Moon, The Hurt Locker, Public Enemies, and Harry Potter. Trek, Away We Go, Bruno, and The Hangover were also pretty good. There's still a lot of big movies coming too- Funny People, District 9, Inglorious Basterds, Nine, 9, Where The Wild Things Are, The Road, and Avatar.

Jul 16 - 09:01 PM

Hudson M.

Hudson Mckinney

Star Trek and Up, the rest are forgettable. So I too agree with the sentiment that this has been a bad year for movies. And I really wanted to love Public Enemies and Terminator. Transformers was complete crap, and Hangover, oddly, I found to be rather ordinary. Couldn't understand the hype. No interest in grownups riding brooms. Could never not laugh at the ridiculousness of that imagery, so sitting through the same HP story told for the sixth time only with age specific oddities to discern it from its brethren holds no interest.

Jul 16 - 08:00 PM

TheIceGhost

Harry Myland

You may not like HP, but I'm pretty sure it's the opposite of forgettable. The series that will likely beat out James Bond as the number 1 grossing franchise of all time (with this flick) can hardly be considered 'forgettable'.

Still need to see UP... haven't seen Star Trek and probably won't, solely because it amuses the crap out of me when nerds go bug-eyed that I haven't.

I'd also toss in Drag Me To Hell, which is sure to become a cult classic with time.

Jul 16 - 08:06 PM

TheIceGhost

Harry Myland

You may not like HP, but I'm pretty sure it's the opposite of forgettable. The series that will likely beat out James Bond as the number 1 grossing franchise of all time (with this flick) can hardly be considered 'forgettable'.

Still need to see UP... haven't seen Star Trek and probably won't, solely because it amuses the crap out of me when nerds go bug-eyed that I haven't.

I'd also toss in Drag Me To Hell, which is sure to become a cult classic with time.

Jul 16 - 08:06 PM

Myra A.

Myra Arellano

Harry potter series are great! PoA it's my favorite, GoF was the most spectacular but something was missing, The first one was completly innocent and somehow lame, C of secrets was a huge improvement and O of P was ok.

I hope H b P becomes the best in the series and beats P of Azkaban.

BTW I'm a reader of the books and I don't expect that every single detail of the books is portrayed in the movie to make it a good movie. I would rather watch a MOVIE BASED IN THE BOOK, that feeble attempts to catch JKR charm and cleverness trying to be a true copy of the book.

So far the best movie (and with a scrip based in my least favorite HP book) is Prisoner of Azkaban. Hopefully this will change soon.

Would it be possible that Tim Burton or Guillermo del Toro become the 7th installment directors?

Jul 16 - 08:41 PM

Seth T.

Seth Thomas

no david yates has already signed to do those last 2 movies and i think they have already started making them, but dang think about tim burton directing that! that would be one crazy film!! lol

Jul 16 - 09:59 PM

inactive user

Jared King

I hate to agree with you...but I must! 2009 has been awesome.

Jul 16 - 08:48 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Yeah this year has been great, all though I think its odd putting Transformers 2 next to UP. Great movies- Coraline, Watchmen, Duplicity, Adventureland, Observe and Report (yes I loved it), Moon, The Hurt Locker, Public Enemies, and Harry Potter. Trek, Away We Go, Bruno, and The Hangover were also pretty good. There's still a lot of big movies coming too- Funny People, District 9, Inglorious Basterds, Nine, 9, Where The Wild Things Are, The Road, and Avatar.

Jul 16 - 09:01 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Also I meant that Transformers 2 is not good and sucks even more compared to the greatness of UP.

Jul 16 - 09:02 PM

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