‘Harry Potter’ proves worthy of the hype

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By The Staff

More than 250 local Harry Potter fans turned out at the Reel Deal Theater for a midnight showing of “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” Tuesday night.

The mass of Harry Potter devotees – the majority of whom were around the same age as the film’s hero, 16-year-old Harry Potter (played by 20-year-old Daniel Radcliffe)– was enough to fill two screens at the Reel Deal Theatre.

The enthusiastic crowd – including some who waited in line over five hours - applauded as the lights dimmed in the theater at the start of the show.

The film was packed with intricate details and plot-points straight from the 652-page novel penned by J.K. Rowling. The film begins in London as the Millennium Bridge is magically destroyed by Death Eaters causing fear and unrest in the non-magic world.

The action quickly shifts to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry as Harry and his pals Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) return for their sixth year. True to the book, the film perfectly depicts the teen-angst and tension that accompanies most 16 year olds.

The ever-wise Hermione serves as the love-guru for the beloved gang as she guides her friends through the snares of relationships and of course, she hits some bumps of her own along the way.

Ever-lovable Ron steals the show in one scene when he is struck by a love potion and Harry has to help him find an antidote. Ron wanders around in love-struck  state, cuddling with Harry and others and acting like a 12-year-old girl at a sleepover.

The Quidditch scenes were phenomenal and the CG technology has obviously come a long way since the first Harry Potter films came out.

Lovable, labrador-like Ron takes the spotlight again as he steps up in the quidditch scenes.

While the movie has a good dose of lightheartedness, it also has its share of dark scenes and characters from the distraught Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) to the sinister Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) the classic tale of good versus evil unwinds itself beautifully in the film.

The nightmarish cave and labyrinth of dark-magic that Harry and Dumbledore wind through at the climax is chilling to the bone and just as creepy as Rowling described it in the book. The movie is rated PG-13 and is very dark and sinister at times and is definitely not suited for younger children.

The cinematography was simply beautiful and does a lot to make the 2-hour and 33-minute movie seem much shorter.

Also, Hogwarts seems to have dropped its dress code in recent years as the costumes have evolved to include the latest fashions.

The girls traipsed around the halls in skinny jeans and flats and even the boys have shed their frumpy sweaters for modern garb.

The film does a fair job of sticking to the plot under its time constraints, which means that sadly, some characters have been under-developed or cut entirely and some scenes were added or cut in the same fashion.

The biggest disappointment however, is in the final scenes that are much shorter than expected and make it difficult to decipher when the climax even occurs – but that’s Hollywood, so read the book if you want more details.

All in all, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” earns two and a half thumbs up for its enjoyable portrayal of Rowling’s epic tale.