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First ‘Harry Potter’ Reviews: Mostly Raves

Critics are loving “Half-Blood Prince,” which opens July 15.

The reviews are starting to come in, and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is getting mostly raves.

 

Variety: Dazzlingly well made and perhaps deliberately less fanciful than the previous entries, this one is played in a mode closer to palpable life-or-death drama than any of the others and is quite effective as such.

 

The Hollywood Reporter: Vigorous storytelling. The end is in sight, and yet so much still needs to be developed and resolved. Which only means this picture will be eagerly greeted and dissected by millions of fans worldwide.

 

Associated Press

The sixth movie in the fantasy franchise based on J.K. Rowling‘s books is the franchise’s best so far, blending rich drama and easy camaraderie among the actors with the visual spectacle that until now has been the real star of the series. The hocus-pocus of it all nearly takes a back seat to the story and characters this time, and the film is the better for that.

 

Times (London): The latest instalment is more of the same tried and tested formula to be sure, but it’s a formula that produces pure gold as far as the fans are concerned. David Yates, the director, orchestrates the picture with dizzying energy and confidence, but the might of the Potter phenomenon dwarfs his individual artistic contribution.

 

The Guardian (U.K.): Although a touch ungainly, (the) film is solidly constructed, with lots of fine effects. If, as Potter approaches his final confrontation with Voldemort, the wizardly battles begin to resemble "Lord of the Rings," it’s hardly a handicap; this is tried and tested cinematic language, and does all it needs.

Daily Telegraph (London): Watching with pleasure, I couldn’t help occasionally wondering what a newcomer to the series would make of it all. I suspect the plot would be almost overwhelmingly confusing. But for fans both of the films and the books, this is an elegant addition to the canon — even if it is only there to set the scene for the final conflict in the next two movies.

 

The Star (U.K.): Director David Yates has learned from his mistakes and here he turns in the most confident, stylish, individual, warm-hearted and witty Harry Potter yet. He’s also turned up the heat by focusing on raging hormones rather than rampaging beasts, with the main characters more interested in mixing love potions than aceing their exams.
 

SciFiMoviePage: You can either think of the sixth Harry Potter movie as being slow-paced and low on action, or you can think of it as spending more time on characterization and plot. We’d like to think of it as the latter … We found it took us a while to get into things, but once we did it was gripping enough right up to the genuinely moving ending.
 

The Shiznit: "Half-Blood Prince" suffers from the same problems as previous Potter movies — there’s too much going on but it still feels a little hollow. There’s much to be enjoyed, certainly, but it requires an iron will to stick it out ’til the end … If you’re a fan, you’re sure to find something to grumble about; ditto if you’re a critic; but for the dwindling amount of people who just want to go to the movies to watch a fun and interesting movie, you could do a lot worse.