Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

FANTASY; 2hr 45min

STARRING: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint

The kids are all right: Radcliffe and Watson

An older, despondent Harry Potter (Radcliffe) starts his sixth year at Hogwarts School with the weight of the witchy world upon him. Snaky Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) is as cryptic as a secret spell. Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) is skinny blond spite personified. Even Ron Weasley (Grint), the goofiest card in the Potter pack, is down in the perpetually dismayed mouth. (Chalk it up to teen angst and timeless evil, courtesy of a certain Dark Lord.) Happily, Hogwarts is in five-star goth chic shape: always a special look. And before long, Harry is top of Professor Horace Slughorn’s (Jim Broadbent) potion-mixing class, thanks to tips in a textbook once owned by the Half-Blood Prince. (Who?)


Watch and pray that (a) Harry, Ron and Hermione Granger (Watson) will learn to cope with hormones and hexing, and (b) that if you’re not a Potter nut, you’ll learn the folklore on the fly. Then again, if you’re not a Potter nut, you’re probably not up for a sixth spell of wizardry, which sets straight to giving fans more of what they fancy. As always, the sinisterly rich mythology of Harry-the-massive-happening sweeps audaciously over flat patches and performance cracks. Just like magic — for better and for infinitely worse…