HARRY POTTER and the HALF-BLOOD PRINCE

3 Stars - Thought-Provoking

Harry Potter is getting older.  His friends are as well. Fully immersed in the insecurities of high school and the perils of young love, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) are like so many high school students.  The difference is that these three are in a school for wizards where they are central characters in a battle between good and evil.

Based on the best-selling books by J.K. Rowling, this sixth film in the series is based on the adapted screenplay by Steve Kloves, who has been the screenwriter for the previous films as well. David Yates directed this film as well as the 5th film.

The villain of the series is a troubled young man named Tom Riddle (Hero Fiennes-Tiffin age 11, Frank Dillane age 16) who we met in the very first film as Voldemort. In this film, we finally discover his origin and how he came to be at Hogwart’s School.  It was at the invitation of the esteemed headmaster Professor Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon).  Recognizing his unusual abilities and attempting to educate him out of the darkness to which he had been giving his skills, Dumbledore had no idea of the depth of Riddle’s hatred or propensity for evil.

Soliciting Harry’s help, Dumbledore invites one of Riddle’s professors to come back onto the faculty in an attempt to discover what dark magic Riddle learned from him.  The answer to that question is key to understanding not only this film, but also the previous films and undoubtedly those which are to come.

Now among the oldest students in the school, Harry, Ron and Hermione are not only caught up in this cosmic battle of good and evil, but also in the universal battle between the sexes.  Primary to the story are the love interests of the young people around whom the series revolves.  This gives a familiar feel to the film which demonstrates the artistic genius of the series.  Love is not only the solution in the world of romance but also in this world of magic.  As Harry explains when he describes his mother’s decision to give her own life to protect him, the dark hatred of Riddle is defeated only by sacrificial love.

The willingness to lay down our lives for one another is described by the Christian faith as the greatest example of love.  It is a truth on which this engaging series is based, as well as a message needed in this world where good and evil continue to battle.

 

Discussion for those who have seen the film:

Harry discovers the secret that Tom Riddle’s evil strength is based on his willingness to kill to gain power rather than lay down his own life in love for another.  Do you believe this is the spiritual distinction between good and evil or is there a better way to describe the difference?
The love interests of Harry and his friends have been developing throughout the years.  Do you believe the best relationships are those which begin as friends first?  Why or why not?
The end of this film requires the sacrificial death of a leading character.  If you have not read the books, do you believe this is the end of this character or is the final scene with its sign of the Phoenix significant?

Posted on August 7, 2013 and filed under 3 STARS, THOUGHT-PROVOKING.