Probably the most disappointing of the Harry Potter movies, thanks to the significant departures it took from the book (the departures were significant enough that even though I haven’t read the book, I knew about the changes made), and the way in which those departures caused the movie to be disjointed, scattershot, and rather unsatisfying. Oh, Alan Rickman can still steal a scene, and Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson have really grown into their roles. Tom Felton makes one sympathize with the awful fix he is in; he puts on his best performance thus far in the course of the franchise. Darkness has fully and completely settled over the franchise, which makes for riveting viewing in a number of scenes. But if the movie tried to be more faithful to the book, the storyline would have proceeded more smoothly, providing the viewer with a more satisfying experience on all fronts. As things stand, one can only watch Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and regret that it never came close to reaching its full potential. Spurts of excellence were, alas, too often interrupted by bouts of cinematic tedium.