Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
United Kingdom/USA, 2009. Warner Bros., Heyday Films. Screenplay by Steve Kloves, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel. Produced by David Barron, David Heyman. Music by Nicholas Hooper. Production Design by Stuart Craig. Costume Design by Jany Temime. Film Editing by Mark Day. Academy Awards 2009. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2009.
Yet another academic year at the Hogwarts school as the kids grow older and their hormones start pointing them towards each other for more than just spells and potions. Newly added to the staff is Jim Broadbent (brilliant as always), come to teach the kids the ins and outs of potion-mixing but also holding a very important key to an old mystery: young Voldemort was once his prize student and got a secret out of him that has been lost to time, unless Harry can get it out of the old codger. Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione play hard-to-get with each other while Harry’s affections for Ginny Weasley grow fonder (though I don’t know why, Ginny’s a bland character played by an even blander actress). J.K. Rowling’s astoundingly popular book series, which has already been turned into five hit movies, has been a success completely easy to understand: her writing is adventurous and charming without ever being naïve, hence the overwhelming appeal to both children and adults. The previous film adaptations were good at maintaining the connections between stories while being each their own individual adventures, a skill that has unfortunately failed miserably in this sixth chapter. The plot is virtually non-existent as endless amounts of money are (quite effectively) spent on gorgeous visual effects that are the zenith of film technology, while the cast is incredibly strong but lost in the narrative mire. The film feels more like a three-hour preamble to the next, final chapter(s?), and as such is a chore to sit through for any but the most devoted of fans (particularly those who have read the book). Helena Bonham Carter is delightful as the wicked Bellatrix.