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'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'

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In "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," someone very close to Harry dies—As if that hasn't occurred before.

All your favorite characters have returned to the sixth installment of the "Harry Potter" series, based on J.K. Rowling's popular books. David Yates, who directed the fifth film "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," took on the position for "Half-Blood Prince."

Many have noticed that each film gets a teensy bit darker than the previous one. After seeing "Order the Phoenix," I wondered how they were going to portray an even darker film after the death of beloved Sirius Black. Well, the "HP" team pulled it off very well with "Half-Blood Prince," when someone whom Harry truly cared about dies in what could possibly be one of the most dramatic scenes in the entire series.

This is not to say that the entire movie was a downer. There are actually many comedic scenes that tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to balance themselves with the drama. Not to mention the movie introduces plenty of budding romance among Harry and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, who all look more grown-up than ever.

You do not see evil Lord Voldemort in the film, but you catch glimpses of Tom Riddle's past as a child and Hogwarts student before he developed his alias.

The plot is as follows: Harry, who has finally admitted to be the "chosen one" to defeat Voldemort, was given the task by Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore to discover exactly what Voldemort has planned to achieve. Harry does this by peeking into Tom's past and becoming acquainted with Professor Slughorn, the new potions teacher who knew Tom quite well at Hogwarts.

Meanwhile, Draco Malfoy, bully to Harry, has a goal of his own. We see quite a bit of him in the film as he struggles with inner battles to carry out a deed Voldemort has given him, now that he is a new Death Eater (one of Voldemort's followers). Draco's mother is worried about him, and asks Severus Snape, former potions teacher, to look after her son.

Of course, the question still remains: Is Snape good or evil? Perhaps after watching the film in its entirety, many may believe he is evil. Only those who have read all seven books will know his true identity.

This leads me to the final remark of the film. While it was certainly the best "HP" film yet, it is, as always, highly recommended that viewers should read the books in order to understand the movie. However, in an attempt to let the viewers have a better understanding of what's going on, "Half-Blood Prince" is slower than past films, so there is some luck for those who have not opened the books.