Critics laud love-laced Harry Potter film

Wed Jul 8, 2009 6:55am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - It may have had one of the wettest premieres in memory this week, but that did little to dampen critics' enthusiasm for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", the sixth film in the blockbuster franchise.

British broadsheet newspapers gave Half-Blood Prince solid ratings of three stars out of five, saying that the movie lived up to its predecessors and hit most of the right notes for millions of Potter fans around the world.

The Sun tabloid went further, calling it "the most confident, stylish, individual, warm-hearted and witty Harry Potter yet.

"Instead of 'going darker' again (yawn), Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) go lighter. At times like a High School rom-com."

The film, which hits cinemas on July 15, is based on the novel of the same name by British author J.K. Rowling.

The book series ends with the seventh volume, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", but Hollywood studio Warner Bros has decided to make two films out of the final installment.

Given that the franchise has earned $4.5 billion global ticket sales so far, reviewers are hardly surprised.

"So desperate are the producers not to compromise their revenue stream that the final book, the Deathly Hallows, will be divided into two parts," wrote Andrew Pulver in the Guardian in a generally positive review of Half-Blood Prince.   Continued...

<p>British actors Rupert Grint (L-R), Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe arrive for the world premiere of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" at Leicester Square in London July 7, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>