Kevin Smith, Clerks (etc.) director, sardonically quipped that nowadays movies are released only as a commercial for their eventual DVD release. I feel this two-disc Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince DVD carries the axiom even further. Strewn across both discs-the first being the movie only, the second interviews, profiles of J.K. Rowling cast and crew and deleted scenes-are advertisements for the Harry Potter video game, the still-under-construction Universal Studio’s Harry Potter attraction and instructions on how to turn your iPhone into a magic wand (arenâ€™t those wonderfully splendiferous iPhones magical enough already?).
With all these extras, one can easily overlook the two-hour plus movie. But I won’t. In this sixth film of the series Harry, Hermione, and Ron are looking for love in all the wrong castle places, a new Potions teacher comes aboard, Dumbledore’s amps-up his mysteries and Alan Rickman’s brilliant Snape again amazes. This film has been called the darkest of the lot with Stuart Craig’s production design and Bruno Delbonnel’s photography. Among the visual stunners are Katie Bell being hurtled up into the air, Harry and Dumbledore’s Golum-like nasty attack, Hermione and the birds, a big dead spider, and Harry and Malfroy’s battle in a bathroom.
As usual with these Potter films, there is strict attention to Rowling’s text and if you can get past (and you can by simply fast forwarding) all the hawking for merchandise, you’ll find Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince a fine movie indeed.