Shea: Is ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ worth its weight in Galleons?

By Kelsey Shea

For any director, keeping up with J.K. Rowling’s wild imagination takes more than a little movie magic.

But “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” director David Yates didn’t need a wand to make the sixth installment of the “Harry Potter” series a visual masterpiece — just a $250 million budget.

“Half-Blood Prince” boasts the best visual effects, acting and cinematography that “Harry Potter” fans have seen on screen yet, but despite the grandeur and improvements, meticulous fans of Rowling’s books might leave theaters like Moaning Myrtle.

However those who separate the books from the film will see beyond the changes made by Yates and find the best “Harry Potter” film released by Warner Brothers yet.

With amazing special effects — made possible by the films gargantuan budget — and excellent camera work, “Half-Blood Prince” is amazing to see in theaters.

The adaptation of the story, though somewhat different from the book, is a smooth transition despite deleted scenes that would have been fantastic on screen. Particularly, the ending might be just fine for people who haven’t read the books, but will upset fans who expect a much longer and more climactic end.

Yates does add one scene to the middle of the movie that livens up the film, helps develop the Harry-Ginny relationship and gives the spectacular Bellatrix Lestrange, played by Helena Bonham Carter, some extra screen time.

But Carter wasn’t the only one to deliver a spectacular performance in the latest “Harry Potter” flick.

Though it was highly unlikely that the acting from the cast of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” could have gotten worse, over the years, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have made drastic improvements and exceeded expectations in “Half-Blood Prince.” Their performances were a far cry from the earlier “Harry Potter” incarnation, whose forced tears made viewers cringe.

The much-needed upgrade finally embodies the full characters of Harry, Ron and Hermione that readers know from the books. Hermione moves beyond the smart, nagging friend and ascends into a much more likable and fun character.

Ron and Harry also evolve into more amusing and realistic characters. They’ve got the teenaged-boy act down pat, and this movie finally reveals one of the best bromances of our generation.

Additionally, Michael Gambon delivered a spectacular performance as a warmer and more relatable Dumbledore, in a crucial part that could have made or broken the entire movie.

Horace Slughorn is also a delightful addition to the cast in an excellent performance by Jim Broadbent.

Every supporting role performed well — from the brooding Malfoy to the quirky Luna. The only real disappointment was Ginny Weasley, played by Bonnie Wright.

But to be fair, Wright was thrown into a poorly written role that is just a part of the awkward hormone-driven disaster that is every budding relationship in the sixth movie.

They are all rushed and often unfinished side stories that come to a sudden halt with Harry and Dumbledore’s final mission.

Despite the minor flaws in the film, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is a great film worth its weight in galleons.

So anxious “Harry Potter” fans worried about a disappointing film can put that particular boggart back in the closet and expect an exciting, funny and entertaining movie worthy of Rowling’s series.