Last week I attended the media preview session of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (HP6) at IMAX Darling Harbour. I was 1st in the queue and got the best seat in the top back row.
It’s definitely worth turning up to queue early because the 540-seat Darling Harbour IMAX is the largest IMAX screen in the world at 35.7m wide / 29.4m high
If paying for a premium movie experience like this you don’t want to enter the cinema late and be seated in the front rows where the seats are too close to the screen.
The first 12 minutes of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince were displayed in 3D but weren’t very impressive. In comparison the preceding trailer for Disney’s “A Christmas Carol 3D” blew me away. It looked dark, edgy and Jim Carrey plays the character role – I predict it will be a huge hit and can’t wait to see it.
HP6 is the 6th installment in the series and has several parallel plotlines including dark forces gathering in strength, moody teenage students in love and Harry’s attempts to befriend Professor Slughorn (played brilliantly by Jim Broadbent) to find out more about Tom Riddle’s actions while studying at Hogwarts.
I feared that the run time of 2 1/2 hours was too long but the film kept my interest throughout and I was quite surprised at how quickly the ending was wrapped up.
All in all there were fewer racy action scenes than I expected as the director opted for a “gathering storm” slower paced buildup to the 2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows films which will be released in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Other People’s Reviews
“This 6th installment of the Harry Potter franchise is dark and brooding while the intricate detail of this fantasy world is as extraordinary as ever. Memories and dark magic make up the mainstay of the story, while infatuation and love’s keen sting leaves its mark both sweetly and comically. However, the film is definitely not for young kids with its dark themes and complex plots.”
– Urban Cinefile
“Slower and talkier than the five Potters that came before – but not necessarily in a bad way – Half-Blood Prince is a bubbling cauldron of hormonal angst, rife with romance and heartbreak, jealousy and longing.
David Yates, director of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), returns, bringing a steady hand and a subtle playfulness to the proceedings. This isn’t up there with Alfonso Cuarón’s The Prisoner of Azkaban (the third, the darkest, and still the best of the Potter adaptations), but its lack of pretense and quiet celebration of J.K. Rowling’s iconography imbues it with charm.”
– Philadelphia Enquirer
This sixth chapter is a darker, more ominous Harry Potter film, with a conclusion that suggests more alarmingly the deep dangers Harry and his friends have gotten themselves into.
I admired this Harry Potter. It opens and closes well, and has wondrous art design and cinematography as always, only more so. The middle passages spin their wheels somewhat, hurrying about to establish events and places not absolutely essential but those scenes may be especially valued by devoted students of the Potter saga.
– Roger Ebert – Chicago Sun-Times