“As Lord Voldemort tightens his grip on both Muggle and wizarding worlds, Harry and Dumbledore work to find the key to unlock Voldemort’s defenses.”
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince takes place shortly after the events of The Order of the Phoenix as Voldemort reveals himself and Harry is vindicated and now hailed as the “chosen one”. As Harry reflects over the loss of his godfather, Dumbledore approaches him and requests he join him on a mission to bring back a former professor to Hogwarts, Horace Slughorn. Faced with the opportunity to mentor the chosen one, Slughorn agrees to return, while Harry tries to get close to him to learn information he may have given Voldemort years ago.
When the school year begins at Hogwarts, the dangers of the outside world are mostly forgotten and classes continue. After signing up to take Professor Slughorn’s potions class, Harry discovers an old copy of the text book belonging to The Half Blood Prince which contains key information about potion-making and other spells that propel Harry to the head of the class. Meanwhile, Draco Malfoy has been given a sinister task by Voldemort to kill Dumbledore. After several methods fail, he must find other means to get the Death Eaters through the protective barrier of the school. While relationships flourish and wither, and other ‘high school’ antics and Quidditch matches occupy the minds of the students, Harry continues to get closer to Slughorn to learn the secret to Voldemort’s immortality, all leading to an exciting third act that drastically changes the course of the films, and leads Harry to the start of a journey to which he cannot fail, as well as another devastating loss.
The Half-Blood Prince is the last film to contain the child-like innocence of Hogwarts that we grew accustomed to over the span of six films. These are kids, and they get to do things appropriate to being in school, like dating, playing sports, and going to class. This film also focuses largely on the relationships between the young students. While we always saw a bit of jealousy between Hermoine and Ron when one showed an interest in someone else, it really comes to a head in this film when Ron begins seeing Lavender Brown. Harry also confesses his feelings for Ginny Weasley, as she is also seeing someone else over the course of the semester. Though some of these relationships don’t get much attention in the film, this innocence of youth is portrayed brilliantly almost like a calm before the storm, as we won’t be seeing the students of Hogwarts in this setting ever again.
Another thing done beautifully is when Dumbledore takes Harry to the hidden seaside cave to find a Horcrux. This is a turning point in the film, both thematically and visually, as you can literally see the color has become muted, like the innocence and youth has left, and Harry is committed to this dark path. This theme continues throughout the rest of the series, with muted colors, grey and dark scenes, as Voldemort’s darkness spreads across the world. It is an important turning point in the films and done so quickly and beautifully that it may not be noticed.
The 4k disc of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is presented in 2160p Ultra High Definition 2.4:1. The transfer is absolutely spectacular, as are all the others. What is most noticeable about this film is that transition of color I spoke of, which will really be noticeable on the 4k release. Colors are deep, life-like and well balanced.
The Blu-Ray disc is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 2.4:1.
The audio on the 4k disc is presented in DTS:X. The track sounds phenomenal, with a great mix and utilization of the surrounds in the more action-intense scenes, such as the Quidditch matches. Levels are well balanced, and never overpowering. The score is quite amazing as well, very powerful and at times light-hearted, the last you’ll hear of that particular tone in this franchise.
As with the other releases, no new special features were created for this release. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t see any, as they are all here for your enjoyment on the Blu-Ray disc and included Bonus disc.
On the Blu-Ray disc you’re going to see:
- Maximum Movie Mode
- Focus Points
- The Millennium Bridge
- Shooting on Location
- Professor Slughorn
- Building Relationships
- Director David Yates Returns
- Wool’s Orphanage
- Ron and Lavender’s Kiss
- The Burrow
- Harry and Ginny’s Kiss
- Aragog Returns
- Creating the Cave
- Designing the Virtual Cave Environment
- The Inferi
- The Underwater Sequence
On the Bonus disc you’ll see:
- Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 6: Magical Effects – In Harry Potter’s world, portraits come to life, potions transform, time reverses, Quidditch players soar, dragons attack and magic is everywhere. Now, fascinating insights, interviews, and watch-it-happen footage let you experience the triumphs of technical wizards who conjured up an awe-inspiring alternate reality.
As with the other films released in 4k, this will be like watching the movie for the first time. Colors are incredibly life-like, and there can be no better way to experience the changing palate of colors than in Harry Potter.