Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Blu-ray: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

If Harry was so great, if he was so special, would he really be continuing to get into the same predicaments again and again?
  • OVERALL
    4.0
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
The Harry Potter franchise tries to stretch itself here. A solid Blu-ray package.
THE BAD
If you've seen one you've seen them all.
THE FEATURE
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the sixth film in the beloved Harry Potter saga. We begin this "new" tale at Hogwarts School where Harry comes to believe that that Draco Malfoy is a new Death Eater recruit that has been sent to the school by the Dark Lord. As this is happening, Professor Dumbledore starts to prepare Harry for the dark path that lies ahead, and Dumbledore begins to train him for what he is up against. Amidst all this, we finally get a glimpse into the past of Lord Voldemort so we can understand why he is the character that he is.

Professor Horace Slughorn is soon introduced and it is revealed that he holds a key to helping defeat Voldemort as well. Harry soon is assigned with the task of getting to the bottom of the Horcrux, Voldemort's darkest weapon. Somehow, director David Yates has managed to keep Harry, Ron and Hermione interesting by actually delving into their characters somewhat. As this trio is reaching that awkward age between adolescence and adulthood, we get to see how they deal with the pains of growing up.

While some people have derided Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince as being boring and focused too much on the characterizations, I was actually surprised with how much breadth and depth this movie has. Sure, it follows the typical trappings of all the Harry Potter movies (ie. we know Harry is going to seem like he has evolved, we realize he has much to learn, he's never in any real danger, though we will think he is, etc.), but at the end of the day this movie was a lot more entertaining than I both thought and heard it was.
THE EXTRAS
Maximum Movie Mode

Daniel Radcliffe supposedly takes users on the journey of making this movie with such things as:

- Picture-In-Picture

- Focus Points

- Scene Comparisons

However, this experience mainly takes the above three supplemental features and meshes everything together so this movie becomes a very intuitive and interactive experience. We get to watch the movie, hear stories from the cast and crew, focus on certain production aspects of the film (ie. Professor Slughorn, Building Relationships, Director David Yates Returns, Wool's Orphanage, etc.), all while following along with the movie proper. Basically, if you enjoyed this film in the theater and you had questions about various aspects of the production, the actors or what the director intended, all of that will be answered for you in this easy to navigate Maximum Movie section.

Close-Up with the Cast

One-Minute Drills

In this section, the cast of the film (or at least those who have been in a decent amount of the movies) has to tell their character's story over the course of the 6 films. As somebody who really hasn't kept up with this franchise since the first or second movie, I found it interesting getting to hear how these characters have come to evolve over time. While people who are die-hard, didactic fans of this franchise might want more, for the newly initiated this is a nice extra piece of material.

J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life

First Footage from The Deathly Hallows

The amount of new footage from The Deathly Hallows clocks in at about 50 seconds. Fort all the talk, for all the hype (they even a include a sticker on the Blu-ray cover!), this is essentially a trailer for this upcoming movie. Fan sites will no doubt buzz about this, trying to scoop and outdo other fan sites, and at the end of the day it all won't matter too much because this is clearly a case of style over substance.

What's On Your Mind?

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I guess one might call this the cherry on top. Clocking in at 12 minutes people all over the world can now see the Harry Potter attraction that is being built at Universal's Orlando Resort in Florida. While I wonder what kind of legs a place like this will have, I think it's amazing that this franchise was able to spawn this sort of creation.
THE VIDEO
Video codec: VC-1. Video resolution: 1080p. Aspect ratio: 2.40:1. Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1. Since this is one of the darker offerings in the Harry Potter world, the look of this movie follows suit. While I love the almost colorless look that this film managed to achieve on Blu-ray disc, at times I thought that it was cold, dyspeptic and made the whole experience kind of boring. Sure, one doesn't want things to be bright and rosy the whole time, but I think there can be a happy medium where both aesthetic choices can thrive. David Yates and his cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel have done a solid job with the presentation, I just wish that on Blu-ray things didn't feel so labored.
THE AUDIO
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 - French: Dolby Digital 5.1 - Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1- French: Dolby Digital 5.1 - Subtitles - English SDH, French, Spanish. The audio on this film is big, bold and loud. As I have stated in other reviews, I don't have the audio in my home set-up in any sort of a surround sound way. That didn't matter at all here as everything felt very rich. Sure, it wasn't anything that I hadn't heard before, but the presentation was awesome and this had a hand in making the whole Harry Potter experience feel as big as Blu-ray disc is meant to feel. While I still think that this format is a lot of overkill, I also feel that if you are a home theater enthusiast there is a lot to be gained by having Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in your collection.
THE PACKAGE
Harry Potter and Dumbledore are shown on this front cover which, if you move it a certain way actually changes and Harry turns into Draco Malfoy and Dumbledore becomes Severus Snape. The back portion of this slip-over cover gives us one tiny shot from the film, a Special features listing, cast list and technical specs. All three discs are economically stored in this Blu-ray case. Good work, Warner Bros.!
THE FINAL WORD
The Harry Potter series is loved by a lot of people. Sadly, I find that these sorts of fantasy films play by the exact same rules as every other film of its ilk. Harry is basically going on the same adventure. No real important characters are going to die (and if they do then they weren't that important to start with, right?), and this whole nonsense of "the chosen one" is getting a bit old. Sure, it was new in Star Wars, The Matrix, and all the other films of that nature but as Avatar has proven, we don't really need another one. If Harry was so great, if he was so special, would he really be continuing to get into the same predicaments again and again?

As a Blu-laser beam release Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince delivers with exceptional picture, audio and bonus features. From a purely consumer standpoint, this 3 disc set is surely worth owning. However, if you like things that aren't paint by numbers there are certainly mainly other ways (and Blu-ray D's) to go.

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Comments (30)

  1. Structure (ONSTRA)

    lol.. :P
    idk, i think that mushy is not an idiot and i have no idea if I Am ThatGuy is Gay, but i am not sooo.. imma have to say no to that one Mushy ;P

    5 years agoby @gaj1992Flag

  2. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Onstra,

    You are a good hearted soul.

    We welcome you with open arms to this great country!

    I AM THATGUY would like you to spend the night at his house.

    -'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  3. Timmy

    Onstra: mushy is an idiot. Don't listen to him.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  4. Structure (ONSTRA)

    oh and that english that i am writing had been developed during only 3 years of me in america.. so idk.. but i think its good..

    5 years agoby @gaj1992Flag

  5. Structure (ONSTRA)

    haha.. it is on.. lol.. but i type pretty fast and i just got a new macbook and i am getting used to the keys.. that's why..

    5 years agoby @gaj1992Flag

  6. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Onstra...

    Please turn spell check on. Your posts look pitiful.

    -'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  7. Structure (ONSTRA)

    you might as well to just learn web design yourself.. its not that hard.. but i obviously can't do it.. the fact that i am not a professional web designer myself is why i wont offer my own help.. i know how to start tho.. go and get a name to the website.. you know. name rights?.. but that will cost you around $15 each year i think.. good luck!!
    oh and i know how hard it is to say "you guys are right". that is a sign of a wise person and of a good reviewer on the other hand.. accepting what other people might offer in there comments.. as long as they state a good amount of info to back up there case.. ;P

    5 years agoby @gaj1992Flag

  8. Brian

    I'm getting so sick of getting notified about this BS review!

    5 years agoby @brianFlag

  9. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Okay... fine... you won't do it...

    Know anybody who might?

    -M'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  10. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Also...

    Brian? Why am I REMOVED?

    I didn't say anything to you.

    -'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  11. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Stop being a dickhe*d.

    Are you going to do it or not?

    -M'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  12. Timmy

    Dear Mushy,

    Disregarding the fact that you have still not paid me for work I completed earlier this year despite several assertions that you would do so, I would be delighted to spend my free time creating designs for you based on further vague promises of future possible credit.

    Regards, Timmy.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  13. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    You know what...

    You guys are right.

    I am sorry.

    Do either of you know anything about graphic design? I want to make up a website and go out on my own as a reviewer?

    I can't offer money to design my site but you will get credit once it takes off and maybe a paid salary.

    -M'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  14. Timmy

    Onstra has a good point. Your review is good but your backhanded comment just proves that you are in it for the free deevs. You should really take your job more seriously.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  15. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    That isn't going to work this time.

    I accept your apology. Can you talk to Onstra?

    I don't know why Onstra is upset.

    -M'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  16. Timmy

    Sorry mushy. I don't know what i was thinking. please accept this and call it even. http://www.27bslash6.com/images/spiderdrawing.gif

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  17. Brian

    Sorry we're not Murray.

    REMOVED!!!

    5 years agoby @brianFlag

  18. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    What?

    Why would you remove me?

    I didn't do anything.

    This isn't fair.

    Bad netiquette.

    -M'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  19. Timmy

    Dummy? give me a break. I have just removed you from my friends.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  20. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Typical.

    You are a dummy!!!

    I AM THATGUY... should change their name to I AM THATMORONSTRA!!!!

    -M'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  21. Timmy

    Valentine's day was actually pretty good.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  22. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Oh...

    And big surprise... you've got an AVATAR icon.

    Wow, that's out there...

    Where are you now, preparing your VALENTINE'S DAY one?

    CHHHHHH!

    -M'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  23. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    ONSTRA,

    Let me tell you something... when you learn to spel you can critique me.

    I have done over 1700 deev revs.

    That is more than anybody on this site COMBINED.

    Where were you when I was reviewing STICTLY SINATRA and WOMB RAIDER?

    I'll tell you where... you were reading my reviews like you're reading this post.

    Keep reading. You will learn something.

    -M'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  24. Brian

    Mushy. I can't wait until #Whiteout is on your plate later this week.

    5 years agoby @brianFlag

  25. Structure (ONSTRA)

    my comment below is about your comments not the actual review.. for the review i found it good.. but seeing what you are using to comeback to your comments ruined your reputation after such a review.

    5 years agoby @gaj1992Flag

  26. Structure (ONSTRA)

    you siriously need to stop being so opinionist.. i respect your opinion but i liked the movie..and if I AM THATGUY liked it too wtf? to hell with it..
    + you too the fact that someone else doesn't like the series into the fact that you wont like it not basing what you're talking about on anything from your own skills of determining wether the movie is good or not..
    "See... if the King of MW ain't watching them then Mushy isn't either!!!"
    that is a sign of a weak reviewer to me.

    5 years agoby @gaj1992Flag

  27. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Yeah!

    See... if the King of MW ain't watching them then Mushy isn't either!!!

    -M'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  28. Brian

    I haven't seen any Potter film since the first one!

    5 years agoby @brianFlag

  29. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Lemme guess...

    I AM THATGUY loved this movie. Thought it was great. Amazing.

    He should just stand in a corner making cookies.

    As cookie cutter is his middle name.

    Ohhhhh.... burn!!

    -M'10

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag