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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Year: 2009
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: David Yates
Writer: Steve Kloves/J K Rowling
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, David Thewlis

It's the controversial franchise that's divided audiences! At least, it's divided me from the rest of the human race. I'm the only one who seems to think these films are the same overblown CGI, Holly-drivel scripted action adventure movies as everything else that comes out this time of year, three kids who can't act getting most of the screen time while the cream of Britain's dramatic talent whores it in the background for Warner Bros paycheques.

So much was going on, and so much of it related to stuff that had come before (much of which I hadn't seen and didn't know) that I had no idea what was going on apart from thinking there was no way I'd send my kids to a school where everyone - even the teachers - are trying to kill each other. I wonder why no PC school safety media brigades have made the news over it?

The white haired kid is apparently recruited to let loose a gang of thugs into Hogwarts from a Tardis-like machine and for some reason Snape (Rickman) promises to protect him. Harry and his friends have to uncover the ulterior motives of a former teacher (Broadbent, and surely they're running out of senior British thespians by now?) who taught Voldemort when he was a kid. Dumbledore (Gambon) then asks Harry to follow him on some mission likely to get them both killed to find some trinket while creatures who look just like Gollum attack them from a CGI subterranean lake.

An excess of digital post production covers enormous holes in the plot and paper thin characterisations. Watching Daniel Radcliffe do something even as simple as smile is like sitting through Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker non stop for a week.

And what story there is just seems so pedestrian, so much a thousand good versus evil archetypes we've seen before. While I'm not for an instant intimating J K Rowling has evil intentions, a phrase about the devil laughing as mankind falls in love with the fraud he foists upon them comes to mind. It's a glittering bauble but little more.

It does however make me wonder if my parents thought the same when I was a kid. Listening to my teenage nephew explain who was related to who and what talisman they were all chasing reminded me of myself trying to explain to my mother how Sy Snootles was the singer in Jabba's main chamber and Boba Fett was the guy who ended up falling in to the Sarlaac's mouth. Maybe I'm just too old...

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