Caleb’s review published on Letterboxd:
Honestly excellent from start to finish, Half-Blood Prince is an interesting case. It has a romantic angle, along with the main mystery angle of finding out Slughorn’s (brilliantly played by Jim Broadbent) true memory that is the key to destroy Voldemort. Actually, there are plenty of plotlines going on, but they’re all well done. Characters get really fleshed out, the performances are easily the strongest in this out of all the series. You put aside the differences from the book, and look at this from the cinematic perspectives, and this succeeds on many counts. It’s brilliantly photographed by Bruno Delbonnel. It has a soft color palette that’s really used to Delbonnel’s advantage, and gives hints of what’s to come. Additionally, this film is easily the funniest of all. The awkwardness of being a teenager is nailed right here, it’s where Goblet of Fire failed to do.
Michael Gambon and Jim Broadbent are both MVPs. They carry much of the movie, but it’s also supported by the rest of the cast. Tom Felton is brilliant as he plays a tormented Draco Malfoy. The cavern set piece is absolutely stunning, and it’s tedious in the best ways possible. There’s so much to love here.
The trio of Daniel, Rupert and Emma are all totally committed to their roles, and it really shows by Yates’ direction. Veteran Potter script writer Steve Kloves has learned from his mistakes, and perhaps by extension, learned what The Order of the Phoenix did right, and succeeds.
Beautiful, haunting, hilarious, this is a Potter entry that doesn’t just succeed as an adaption, but as a film. Excellent film.