Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince : 3 of 5
Even though I'm only a casual Harry Potter fan, I still get excited when a new movie is released, and I enjoy seeing them with my pal Melinda since she has read all the books and can fill me in on all sorts of details! I've already made so many jokes about how old the actors are now (and they still have two movies to go!), but this time I have to say that they somehow did a great job of making them seem young enough for their roles. I think the introduction of some romance and heartbreak really helps, too - not only to reinforce the characters' growth, but also to provide a few lighthearted moments in this otherwise dark movie! I really liked Jim Broadbent as the new Professor Slughorn (he's good in just about every role he plays, and he fits this one perfectly), and I thought it was cool that much of this movie focuses on "physical" magic (like potions), although of course there is plenty of wand-play. Speaking of play, the Quidditch scenes are better than ever and they were a blast to watch as a break from the rest of the story (it seems like it would be so difficult to balance on a broom, even with those foot stirrup devices!). Besides the major plotline of Malfoy's attempts to kill Dumbledore, there is the additional mystery of who the Half-Blood Prince really is, since Harry discovers an old textbook filled with the Prince's notes and spells. The pacing of the movie isn't too bad, since the action sequences are fairly well-spaced, but it still takes a while to get through the two and a half hour story, and even then the ending felt a little rushed to me. In many ways this movie is just a giant setup for the final two (both of which make up the last book). Of course, I still had a great time at the theater, but I think the next film in the series will blow this one away!