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Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :4stars:

HTS Overall Score:85

And with this last review I will complete the four 4K UHD discs of the franchise released this last week. “The Half-Blood Prince” is actually one of my favorite of the series even though it is not nearly as action packed as some of the others. Many friends poo-poo’d the film as a snooze fest, but I disagree. “The Half-Blood Prince” is one of the more mature “Harry Potter” films out there as it combines all of the puzzle pieces that we have been gathering over the course of the last 5 films and putting them together into one singular purpose. The final confrontation between the dark lord himself and our friend, Harry Potter. Looking back on the series after re watching with so many years since the last viewing (I believe I saw the “The Deathly Hallows Part 2” on release date, but not since then have I gone back to the series) I have a different take on the movie. It’s odd looking back at something you fell in love with and realize that you’re just as much in love with it as you were the day you first laid eyes on it. That’s the way I have been feeling when re-watching these 4K UHDs. That childlike sense of excitement and glee when reading a childhood book that brings back fond memories, or the realization that quality ages well, lack of quality does not.

“The Half-Blood Prince” picks up right after “The Order of the Phoenix” leaves off. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is back at Hogwarts for another year of study, but this time it’s not nearly so light hearted. His goal isn’t just to learn and be a wizard. He has been given purpose and with the help of head master Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) he is to find the way to actually DEFEAT Lord Voldemort for the final time. Gone are the comedy trappings of the past. The whining family that Harry lives with, the games (although there IS a little bit of Quidditch to keep it feeling familiar), and gone are the childlike personas. What is left is young adults coming to the realization that they have to become adults much sooner than expected. Hermione (Emma Watson), Ron (Rupert Grint) and the rest may go through the motions of acting out their roles as students, but what is coming leaves little room for the innocence of children.

To make matters worse everything seems to be crashing down on Harry’s shoulders. He’s trying to figure out a way to destroy the Dark Lord but there’s something missing. Dumbledore is sure that one of his ex-colleagues by the name of Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) may have the answer, but the old man’s lips are sealed, even to a friend like Dumbledore. The only way to figure out what secret he once told to young Tom Riddle (Voldemort) is to appeal to his vanity and task young Harry Potter with the seemingly impossible task of pulling the secret from the old man.

Simultaneously the conversion of Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) to the will of the Dark Lord is almost complete, and with his betrayal comes the mental insanity of Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) and the rest of her magical brute squad to storm the castle that is Hogwarts. A task that cannot be done considering the incredible power of Dumbledore and the safe guards he has put up. A fact that leads up to the singular most heart breaking and (to new viewers) jaw dropping moments of betrayal in the entire series. An act which shocked everyone who either read the book or watched the movie for the first time.

“The Half-Blood Prince” is less action packed than others, but thankfully is not as dull as “Order of the Phoenix”. It’s definitely a more grim and mature film than the light-hearted adventure flicks of the previous movies (and by mature I don’t mean a harder rating or nudity, but rather a somber and aged feel to the story). The final piece of the puzzle that every Harry Potter fan knew was coming is unveiled and, and we have the entrance to the final gate of the story at hand. Still, there is enough “Potter” traditions to keep everyone feeling at home. Hermione is finally falling for Ron and Harry is still pining his heart out for Jenny Weasley, a romance that everyone is impatient to see come to fruition. Not to mention the good old fashioned Quidditch match and the constant barking between Draco and Harry. The ONLY thing that I didn’t think was 100% fleshed out was the inclusion of the Half-blood Prince’s spell book. In the novels, there was much more time spent to building up the suspense of just WHO this mysterious (but genius) student once was and WHY he was so important. A minor quibble being that the film is already over 2.5 hours long, but still a quibble.


Rated PG for scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality

Video :4stars:
Well, another nice one. I was worried that "The Half-Blood Prince" would take a dive in quality from after how I BARELY was able to rate "The Order of the Phoenix" 4 stars, but "The Half-Blood Prince" is squarely in the center. While "The Deathly Hallows" is near 4.5/5 material at times, this one is a very solid and comfortable, middle of the road, 4/5 transfer. Once more, David Yates, yadda yadda, dark shadows intentional, yadda yadda, and lots of Blue/grey coloring. Well, the HDR really is a treat on this one, even though it is probably the DARKEST of all of the 4 UHD films that I've reviewed. Color is consistently absent much of the filming, and tones of sepia and pale blue dominate when darkness is not the overwhelming constant in play. Shadow detail is naturally a priority here and there seems to be very little crush going on and you can see everything, even in the darkest of times. Flesh tones vary depending on whether you're in complete darkness or in the relative light, but they appear strong and healthy when visible and white contrast is more than exemplary when dealing with such heavy darkness.

Audio :4.5stars:
Once again, the highlight of the disc is the DTS:X audio track from the TrueHD 5.1 of the Blu-ray (or 5.1 as the case may be depending on if you had the Ultimate collector's Edition with DTS-HD MA, which IS included on the Blu-ray discs within). Much like all the others, "The Half-Blood Prince" is a fantastic addition to the new generation of audio tracks and walks a tightrope between simplistic and soft dialog driven scenes and the creep and awe of dealing with Voldemort's minions. The surrounds are used actively with all sorts of magical energy as well as the constant use of background noises in the underground lair and all of Hogwarts (where the murmur of voices and dialog creates a pretty encompassing environment). Overheads are used precisely, but not over used as they get just enough activity to make them an inclusive piece of the track without calling too much attention to itself (listen to the drops of water coming from the ceiling). LFE is once again a joy listen to as it adds a well nuanced layer of bass to the film's action oriented bits (as well as the occasional stone or wood door slamming shut. Back in the day "The Half Blood Prince" had a near perfect reputation in the audio world, so the reason it gets a 4.5/5 even WITH the Atmos upgrade is simply due to the fact that Atmos has changed the scoring game and 5/5s are no longer as easy to acquire.

Extras :4.5stars:

• Maximum Movie Mode
• Focus Points
• Behind the Story
- Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 6: Magical Effects
- Behind the Magic
- JK Rowling: A Year In The Life
- Close-Up With the Cast of Harry Potter
- One-Minute Drills
-What’s on Your Mind?
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Sneak Peek
- First Footage From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Deleted Scenes
• Interstitials
• Trailers

Overall: :4stars:

What can I say? By now you've sensed a pattern here with these "Harry Potter" releases. Good to great video (with one "decent" one that I'm still tempted to knock down to a 3.5/5) and some FANTASTIC audio remixes. Extras are once again on the included 2 Blu-ray discs as with all the others, and housed in a brand new casing with new cover art. Upgrading will naturally depend on whether you like the upgraded video and want the next gen audio (which is more than enough reason to upgrade in my humble opinion) or not. Both are a great treat to enjoy (more so the audio) and while I would have liked to have seen some new extras for the set I'm pretty sure we're going to see releases and re-releases of the Potter films for quite some time. Still in my recommended list.

Additional Information:

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emily Watson, Rupert Grint
Directed by: David Yates
Written by: Steve Cloves (Screenplay), J.K. Rowling (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS:X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 Core), Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Warner
Rated: PG
Runtime: 153 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 28th 2017

Buy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Recommended

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