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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Information about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a 2009 (8 years ago) fantasy-adventure movie based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the sixth movie in the Harry Potter movie series. It is directed by David Yates, the director of the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. David Heyman and David Barron produced the film, and the screenplay was written by Steve Kloves, the screenwriter of the first four films. Filming began on 24 sep. 2007 (10 years ago), and the movie was released in cinemas worldwide on 15 Jul. 2009 (8 years ago), one day short of the fourth anniversary of the corresponding novel's release. In everywhere but the United States, the sixth movie was simultaneously released in regular cinemas and IMAX 3-D in all countries. In the US, the IMAX version was delayed by 2 weeks due to a Transformers (5 walls): Revenge of the Fallen several week commitment. The movie was released instead in IMAX 3D on 29 July, two weeks after its original release, in these countries.
The movie opened to critical acclaim and instant commercial success, breaking the records for biggest midnight opening gross of all time as well as biggest single-day worldwide gross of all time. In five days the movie made $394 million, breaking the record for biggest five-day worldwide gross in history. It is also the highest-grossing movie of 2009 (8 years ago), grossing more than $922 million, which puts the movie on the all-time list of 10 highest-grossing movies worldwide.
The movie is dedicated to the memory of actor Rob Knox who portrays Marcus Belby in the movie and was killed in May 2008 (9 years ago) in a knife attack.
PlotHaving returned to power, Death Eaters attack both the Muggle and Wizarding worlds, while Lord Voldemort has given Draco Malfoy an assignment. Bellatrix Lestrange goads Severus Snape into making an Unbreakable Vow with Draco's mother, Narcissa, to protect Draco and carry out the assignment if he fails. Scarred by his experience at the Ministry of Magic with Voldemort, Harry is reluctant to return to school. Dumbledore brings Harry to entice former Potions Professor Horace Slughorn to return to Hogwarts. Later, while leaving Fred and George's new shop in Diagon Alley, Harry, Ron and Hermione notice Draco associating with Bellatrix Lestrange, Fenrir Greyback and Narcissa Malfoy in Borgin and Burkes, leaving Harry suspicious. He attempts to eavesdrop on Malfoy on the Hogwarts Express, but Draco Petrifies Harry. He is rescued by Luna Lovegood and her Spectrespecs.
At Hogwarts, Harry and Ron borrow school textbooks for Slughorn's Potions class. The previous owner of Harry's copy, the "Half-Blood Prince", has annotated the book with additional instructions that allow Harry to excel in class and win a vial of the luck potion Felix Felicis. After making it as Keeper on the Quidditch team, Ron becomes a hero and he forms a relationship with Lavender Brown, which leaves Hermione heartbroken. After Harry finds her sobbing in a corridor, he confesses to having feelings for Ginny Weasley and admits that he is feeling distraught over her relationship with Dean Thomas. He hides his feelings from all but Hermione, however, knowing Ron is protective of Ginny and would never allow a relationship between them. Harry spends Christmas with the Weasleys, during which he discusses the situation at Hogwarts with Order of the Phoenix members Arthur Weasley, Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. He becomes closer to Ginny, who has broken up with Dean. Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback attack the Burrow and attempt to kidnap Harry. The Order is able to keep everyone safe, but the Death Eaters set fire to the Burrow.
Draco continues eluding Harry while perfecting the use of a Vanishing Cabinet inside the Room of Requirement. Harry suspects Draco is behind two attempts on Dumbledore's life, one of which nearly kills Ron. In his semi-comatose state, Ron mumbles Hermione's name, causing his relationship with Lavender to deteriorate. Confronting Draco, Harry hits him with a curse from the Half-Blood Prince's book which severely wounds him. Snape heals Draco as Harry retreats. Fearing the book may be filled with more Dark Magic, Ginny convinces Harry to leave the book in the Room of Requirement so that he won't use it again. While Harry's eyes are closed, Ginny hides the book and kisses him, starting a relationship between them.
During private meetings held throughout the year, Dumbledore shows Harry memories of a young Tom Riddle and reveals Slughorn retains a memory critical to Voldemort's defeat. Harry retrieves the memory using Felix Felicis. It reveals that Voldemort had been seeking information for creating as many as seven Horcruxes, devices that safeguard a portion of the creator's soul, granting him immortality unless the Horcruxes are destroyed. Two of Voldemort's Horcruxes have already been destroyed: Tom Riddle's diary, and his grandfather's ring. After locating another Horcrux, Dumbledore requests Harry's help to retrieve it. Inside a cave, Harry is forced to make Dumbledore drink a mind-altering potion that hides the Horcrux, a locket. Though gravely weakened, Dumbledore defends them from a horde of Inferi and Apparates himself and Harry back to the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts.
Dumbledore first tells Harry to fetch Snape for help, but then tells him to hide when footsteps approach. Draco appears and reveals that Voldemort has chosen him to kill Dumbledore, but is unable to follow through. Snape arrives, motions to Harry to stay hidden, and joins the Death Eaters that arrive through the Vanishing Cabinet and surround Draco as he hesitates. Snape casts the Avada Kedavra curse, killing Dumbledore and then escaping from the castle with the other Death Eaters. In their wake they cast the Dark Mark, wreck the Great Hall and set fire to Hagrid's Hut. Harry tries to stop them, but Snape deflects Harry's spells and Bellatrix stuns him. Before departing, Snape reveals to Harry that he is the Half-Blood Prince. Harry returns to the school to find the staff and students mourning Dumbledore.
Harry reveals to Ron and Hermione that the locket Horcrux was a fake. The locket contains a message from an "R.A.B." stating he has taken the real Horcrux and hopes to destroy it and the others. Rather than return for their final year at Hogwarts, Harry and his friends vow to seek out R.A.B. and the remaining Horcruxes as Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes, flies into the horizon.
DevelopmentBefore David Yates was officially chosen to direct the film, many directors had expressed an interest in taking the helm. Alfonso Cuarón, the director of the third film, stated he "would love to have the opportunity" to return. Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell declined a spot to direct the fifth film, and was not approached for this one. Terry Gilliam was Rowling's personal choice to direct Philosopher's Stone. However, when asked whether he would consider directing a later film, Gilliam said, "Warner Bros. had their chance the first time around, and they blew it."
From the fifth film, Yates retained composer Nicholas Hooper, who included a reworking of John Williams's Hedwig's Theme, which has recurred in all scores including Patrick Doyle's. Also maintained were costume designer Jany Temime, visual effects supervisor Tim Burke, creature and make-up effects designer Nick Dudman, and special effects supervisor John Richardson from the third film. Since Feb. 2007 (10 years ago), Stuart Craig, the production designer of the first five movies as well, has been designing sets, including the cave, and the astronomy tower, where the climax of the movie takes place. Academy Award nominated Bruno Delbonnel is the film's cinematographer. David Yates remarked Bruno's work on the movie as "The choice of angles, the extreme close-ups, the pacing of the scenes...It's very layered, incredibly rich."
Yates and Heyman have noted that some of the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows may have influenced the script of the film. Much of the book's ending has been changed, with the climactic battle in the castle and Dumbledore's funeral being removed. Heyman commented that the end battle was removed to "[avoid] repetition" with the forthcoming adaptation of Deathly Hallows. The funeral was removed as it was believed it did not fit with the rest of the film.
SetsThe film's production designer is Academy Award winner Stuart Craig. Several new sets have been introduced in this film, including Tom Riddle's Orphanage, Astronomy Tower and the Cave. In one of the sneak peeks for the film, Stuart Craig said that Tom Riddle's Orphanage is based on buildings in Docklands, Liverpool and it is designed from Victorian-Georgian architecture.. The interior of The Orphanage (3 walls) uses Victorian glaze bricks, to give the set a very harsh appearance.
He noted that the movie used several CGI sets, noticeably the interior of the Cave where Harry and Dumbledore both go to hunt Horcruxes. The exterior of the cave scene was filmed in Cliffs of Moher in the west of Ireland. The interior of the cave is made up of geometric crystal formations. Craig noted "Apart from the point at which Harry and Dumbledore first arrive and the island formation on which everything inside the cave happens, the set is entirely virtual, designed in the computer. We'd had our first totally virtual set on the last film, so we approached this one with a bit more confidence." Two of the scenes were filmed at Gordonstoun School near Elgin, Scotland.
FilmingFollowing a week of rehearsals, principal photography began on 24 sep. 2007 (10 years ago) and ended on 17 May 2008 (9 years ago). Before filming commenced, there was belief that filming might move from the UK, where all of the previous five movies have been shot. This is North Scotland reported that the filming would take place in New Zealand, due to the "more agreeable economy and climate" and lack of Scottish funding. The Sunday Business Post in Ireland noted that the film's producers and WB executives had been scouting there, specifically Leinster and Munster because they "believe they have now exhausted possible locations in Britain." They are "particularly keen on Ireland, as the landscape is similar to Britain and will appear similar to the settings of the previous films." The crew also scouted around Cape Wrath in Scotland, for use in the cave scene. Filming returned to Glen Coe and Glenfinnan, both which have appeared in the previous films, to preserve the continuity of the landscape.
On the weekend of 6 Oct. 2007 (10 years ago), the crew shot scenes involving the Hogwarts Express in the misty and dewy environment of Fort William, Scotland. A series of night scenes were filmed in the village of Lacock and the cloisters at Lacock Abbey for three nights starting 25 Oct. 2007 (10 years ago). Filming took place from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily, and residents of the street were asked to black out their windows with dark blinds. On set reports indicated that the main scene filmed was Harry and Dumbledore's visit to Slughorn's house. Further filming took place in Surbiton railway station in Oct. 2007 (10 years ago), Gloucester Cathedral, where the first and second movies were shot, in Feb. 2008 (9 years ago), and at the Millennium Bridge in London in Mar. 2008 (9 years ago).
Though Radcliffe, Gambon and Broadbent started shooting in late sep. 2007 (10 years ago), some other cast members started much later: Grint did not begin until Nov. 2007 (10 years ago), Watson did not begin until dec. 2007 (10 years ago), Rickman until Jan. 2008 (9 years ago), and Bonham Carter until Feb. 2008 (9 years ago).
Visual effectsTim Burke and Tim Alexander are visual effects supervisors for the film. Tim Alexander said completing the Inferi-attack scene took several months. He said, "It's certainly much bolder and scarier than we imagined that they'd ever go in a 'Potter' movie. Director David Yates was cautious of not making this into a zombie movie, so we were constantly trying to figure out how not to make these dead people coming up look like zombies. A lot of it came down to their movement — they don't move fast, but they don't move really slow or groan and moan. We ended up going with a very realistic style." He also noted that Inferi are skinnier, waterlogged and grey.
About Dumbledore's ring of fire, he noted that the effect would look as if someone sprayed propane and then lit it. He added, "We did a lot of research on molten volcanoes, which have a lot of heat going on but no actual flames, and collected a bunch of other references, including flares that burn underwater, and showed them to the Potter folks." The visual effects team emulated these six fire parameters: heat ripples, smoke, buoyancy, viscosity, opacity, and brightness. Since the whole fire scene was very time consuming, computer graphics artist Chris Horvath spent eight months finding a faster way to conjure flames.
ReleaseThe movie was released in the United Kingdom, United States, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, India, Brazil, Spain and Mexico on 15 Jul. 2009 (8 years ago). It was originally set to be released on 21 Nov. 2008 (9 years ago) (UK, US, CAN, IRE) and 11 dec. 2008 (9 years ago) (AUS, NZ), but was pushed back by eight and seven months to 17 July, despite being completed. Warner Bros. executive Alan Horn noted that the move went ahead "to guarantee the studio a major summer blockbuster in 2009 (8 years ago)," with other movies being delayed due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. The box-office success of summer WB movies Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (8 walls) and The Dark Knight (13 walls) also motivated the decision. An unnamed rival studio executive told Entertainment Weekly that the move was to "stop next year's profits from looking seriously underwhelming after the phenomenal success of The Dark Knight (13 walls)," as "they don't need the money this year anymore." Dan Fellman, WB head of distribution, said that the studio had considered the date change for three to four weeks prior to the announcement, but gave it serious consideration a week before they came to their final decision.
The date change was met with a heavily negative reaction by Harry Potter fans, as the Los Angeles Times noted: "Petitions were circulating, rumors were flying and angry screeds were being posted on Internet sites within minutes of the Thursday announcement." The move was mocked by Entertainment Weekly which had Half-Blood Prince on the cover on its "Fall Preview Issue". Despite each being owned by Time Warner Inc., EW was unaware of the change until it was publicly announced by WB and noted that readers would now be in possession of a "Dewey Defeats Truman collectible". Several days after the announcement, Horn released a statement in response to the "large amount of disappointment" expressed by fans of the series. Following the date change, Half-Blood Prince's release slot was taken by Summit Entertainment's Twilight.
Three months before its release in July, the date was again changed by 2 days from 17 Jul. to 15 Jul. in the United States and Canada. It was later confirmed the same date change applied to the UK as well. The Australia and New Zealand release dates which were then 16 July, were also changed to 15 July. The premiere dates for the movie were 6 Jul. in Japan, 7 Jul. in the UK (Leicester Square, London) and 8 Jul. in the US. The Belgium premiere was on 11 July.
The sixth movie simultaneously released in regular cinemas and IMAX 3D everywhere but the United States, due to a conflicting agreement in which Transformers (5 walls): Revenge of the Fallen will be given a four week window by itself in IMAX in that country. Therefore, the IMAX 3D version of the movie was released on 29 Jul. 2009 (8 years ago) there. The film's opening sequence featuring the destruction of the Millennium Bridge will be in 3D. The movie had been chosen to be screened at the 2008 (9 years ago) Royal movie Performance on 17 November, but was not shown. Cinema and TV Benevolent Fund chief executive Peter Hore noted he was "very disappointed" with Warner Bros' decision.
Advanced ticket sales on Fandango.com for Half-Blood Prince surpassed advanced ticket sales for Transformers (5 walls) 2 at the same point in sale cycles. It is also MovieTickets.com's top 25 advance sellers of all time, promising a very successful cinematic run.
The movie is 153 minutes (2 hours 33 minutes and 19 seconds) long, making this movie the third longest of the series, coming behind Chamber of Secrets (161 minutes) and Goblet of Fire (157 minutes).
DVDLike the previous films, a 1-Disk and 2-Disk Special Edition, as well with fullscreen and widescreen for the movie will be released on a Blu-ray Disc and DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) 7 dec. 2009 (8 years ago) in the United Kingdom, and 8 dec. 2009 (8 years ago) in the United States.
ReceptionAs of 22 Aug. 2009 (8 years ago) (2009 -08-22), the movie had an overall approval rating from critics of 83% on the movie review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes with 197 "Fresh" reviews, and 39 "Rotten", with the reported consensus "Dark, thrilling, and occasionally quite funny, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is also visually stunning and emotionally satisfying." Among Rotten Tomatoes' Cream of the Crop critics, the movie had an overall approval rating of 86%. By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from critics, the movie received an average score of 78 ("generally favorable") based on 36 reviews.
BBC News's Tim Masters has praised the film's cinematography, visual effects, production design, improved acting and darker plotline.
The first review of the movie came three weeks before the official release. Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com ranked the movie with The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and called the movie a "possible Oscar contender". He highly praised the performance of Sir Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman and Daniel Radcliffe. He commented, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a tour-de-force that combines style and substance, special effects and heart and most importantly great performances from all of the actors young and not-so-young". Another early review came from the UK tabloid The Sun, whose anonymous reviewer called the movie "masterful" and "very emotional". The reviewer praised David Yates' directing and called Jim Broadbent's portrayal of Horace Slughorn "perfect". Devin Faraci of Chud.com called the movie not only the best Harry Potter movie yet, but also one of the best movies of the year.
Andrew Pulver of The Guardian wrote a positive review, and gave the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars rating. Todd McCarthy of the trade magazine Variety said that the movie is "dazzlingly well made" and "less fanciful than the previous entries". He praised Alan Rickman's performance and he described Helena Bonham Carter as "mesmerizing" and Jim Broadbent as "grand eccentric old professor". The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt noted that the film's first half is "jerky and explosive", but in the second half, the movie finds better footing. He adds, "Composer Nicholas Hooper, cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel and designer Stuart Craig deliver a singularly muscular and vigorous chapter". Screen Daily called the movie "stunningly shot by Bruno Delbonnel in metallic hues leavened by buttery tones and the thumping beats of Nicholas Hooper’s score bear little resemblance to the original and the overall effect is much less tween, much more grown-up".
Chris Tilly of IGN UK commented on the length of the film, saying "while on occasion it drags, the 153 run-time never feels too long, thanks in no small part to the astonishing visuals and (largely) marvellous performances," and goes on to say, "This is by far the best-looking of the Potter movies thus far," commending the "beautiful" Quidditch match and the "stunning" finale. However, Dave Golder of SFX magazine found some aspects of the movie to be a disappointment, largely due to the large number of opportunities the director had sacrificed to devote "huge swathes of the movie to subplots of Harry and his chums' teenage romances," but nevertheless found the movie to be a large enjoyment, praising the performances of Jim Broadbent and Alan Rickman.
David Stratton, of Margaret and David At The Movies, gave the movie a 2.5 out of a possible 5 stars, remarking, "For non-readers [of the Harry Potter series] the movies are now borderline incomprehensible", and that the movie was "a little tedious" and "generally less interesting visually than its predecessors." He praised the cast, describing them as "consummate", adding Sir Michael Gambon "really makes Dumbledore an imposing character" and Jim Broadbent was "wonderful". Margaret Pomeranz, the co-host of the TV show, gave the movie 3 out of 5 stars.
Brogan Mckenna reviewed the movie and gave it 3 out of 5 stars, explaining "If this movie was looked at by itself then I’m afraid it would not be rated very highly. On the other hand, if we look at it as a build up to the big finale of The Deathly Hallows then it does its job."
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