With every movie the Harry Potter series tend to go darker. The brightly lit corridors of Hogwarts, a place full of magic and where only the attics were dark and grim, are replaced with a gothic grey look, bleak and joyless. When students complain school is like a prison, the attendants of Hogwarts could be spot on because Hogwarts sure has the same atmosphere as one, only instead of worrying you’ll end up as someone’s bitch you have to watch for omnimous creatures called Death Eaters. Which made me wonder: if they Eat Death, then why are the living affraid?
I think atmosphere is an important factor in movies and especially in fantasy films like this. Most people disliked the first two films by Christopher Columbus but I liked the world of Hogwarts presented in that movie. The Prisoner of Azkaban was already a tad darker but still not as bleach as the movies the succeeded it. Everything tends to be grey in The Goblet Of Fire and The Order Of The Phoenix. If I have something negatove to say about the Harry Potter movies it’s that they are too dark and too cold in terms of color use. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has the same problem. In every scene warm colors are nowhere to be found, even a game of Quidditch, obligatory in every movie it seems, is played when it looks as if it’s about to rain. The return of Voldemort, who’s only seen in flashbacks here, has cast dark clouds over the world and as such we get a movie that almost propelles us back the black and whote era. At one point Harry is walking through the train to Hogwarts, it’s broad daylight and there are windows everywhere on the train, but still he’s covered in shadow without a good reason. A multi-million dollar production and they seem to save on proper lighting.
Luckily the story is better than the cinematography. This time Harry and Dumbledore go together on a quest to retrieve some objects in which Voldemort could have put something of himself in so he could be immortal. Or something like that. Basically these are McGuffins and only there to give Potter and Dumbledore a reason to go on multiple quests. Other storylines include a new professor on campus, Malfoy acting sneaky, Snape coming out of the closet as a henchman of Voldemort and every boy who has hit puberty inside the walls of Hogwarts wants the girls to play with their wands while the gils all seem eager to do so. So the whole snogging-teens-saga is being continued from the previous movie. I found most of the storylines to be intriguing but I am getting tired who the whole teenage-love-affair stuff. It’s not freakin’ Twilight.
The movie feels like it’s setting up for the grande finale as no real events happen in the movie and there’s no real showdown on the end of this movie like there was in the previous films. Yes, there was that scene at the end of the movie where Harry and Dumbledore travel down a dark cave across a pond and eventually battle a whole army of zombie-like creatures but that felt more like a middle-of-the-movie action scene like the Spider Attack in The Chamber Of Secrets. Of course the dark cave is even darker considering the cinematography in this movie so at some moments it was hard to see what was going on.
This movie is a good installment in the series even if it feels like a set-up for the next movie, which will be split in two. I hope they spend some money on lightbulbs then.