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Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

Potter, Weasley and Granger fights the good fight

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House robes are unpacked and book bags are in tow for young wizards wandering through the halls at Hogwarts School of Magic. Outside, the mobilized Deatheaters are wreaking havoc on innocent people walking the streets of London. Headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is pacing his office, racking his brain for clues that might lead to Lord Voldermort's (Ralph Fiennes) whereabouts in the wizarding world. And after so many years, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is still trying to remain under the radar from the title "the chosen one." It's all here, in the summer blockbuster release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and not a moment too soon for anticipating Potter fans.

After the movie's release date was delayed for months, enthusiasts everywhere were eager to continue on with the Potter saga. But fans can expect good things from the sixth installment of the Potter franchise. Director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves (who has written for all the movies, except Order of the Phoenix), have joined forces yet again, to take audiences back into the magical dominion. However, this year's story takes a different turn, one that leads into a darker quest for our beloved wizard. Of course, Harry has never experienced a normal school year, so it comes as little surprise when Dumbledore utters, "Once again I must ask too much of you Harry."

The initial assignment is for Harry to befriend Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) and retrieve his most secret memory, involving former studentTom Riddle (Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Ralph Fiennes real-life nephew), who eventually transforms into Lord Voldermort. In the meantime, at the dark lord's bidding, the amazingly well played Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) must carry out his own mission involving Dumbledore. With the help of the villainous Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), the plot continues to thicken. Professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), too, has his own task to perform, but one that appears misleading, and leads directly into the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows storyline, the final book. However, there is more than just dark magic to this tale.

For the students at Hogwarts, hormones are raging and tricky to control. Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) gets a girlfriend this year and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) is frustrated it's not her. And Harry also finds his love life accelerating. As hinted to in the previous films, Harry and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) find something bubbling between them, although circumstances make things difficult.

Though the ending to this story is not particularly cheerful, audiences everywhere can agree, the Hogwarts gang is dealing with much more than just magic. The Half-Blood Prince involves both love and death. Issues have matured along with the characters, making these times in the wizarding world dark. However, with crowd-pleasing moments throughout the film, fans in the movie theater applauded wildly for their heroic wizards. Visually stunning cinematography from Bruno Delbonnel has affected not only Harry, Hermione, and Ron, but their audiences, too. This film is an enchanting journey and is captivating for both book lovers and film fans.

The one miss in this film is that it lacks the proper depiction of the descent into dark magic by the most pivotal villain of the stories, Lord Voldermort, a necessary and landmark proponent of the novels. Overall, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is full of dark undertones and comedic moments, but the true strength of this film comes from the relationships between Harry and the people in his life.