Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Rated 3.0

The sixth film in the Potter series is fun. It’s a tense drama in parts, with a few true surprises (for those, like me, who haven’t read the books) and some breathtaking special-effects. There are two basic stories headed toward one another at this point in the series, both of which are obviously set-ups for the battle promised in the already-released final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the two-part film version will be split between 2010 and 2011): Harry, the “chosen one” of the good guys, is helping his magical mentor, professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) find out more about the history of Lord Voldemort, the dark lord, while his nemesis/schoolmate and the so-called “chosen one” of the bad guys, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), is carrying out the mysterious bidding of his dark-side cronies. After much intrigue, violence and tension, the two stories come to a head and … either you know already or you soon will. This Potter definitely lives up to its promise of being darker, with real blood, real morbid fear and real drunk adults, but it spends equal (excruciating) time sussing out various teenage crushes and heartbreaks. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG