RT's Trailer Analysis: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

SPOILER ALERT: We take a closer look at a minute and a half of tease.

by | July 31, 2008 | Comments

The teaser trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been released and we’ve decided, here at RT, to take a closer look at the minute and a half of new footage. Read our breakdown of the things to look out for when the sixth film in the Boy Wizard franchise comes out.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

It’s the start of another year at Hogwarts. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) may make only the briefest appearance in the trailer, but we know exactly the film being trailed as the Hogwarts Express opens the film…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

…followed by an overhead shot of a stormy Hogwarts castle. It’s on one of these large, conical towers that the film’s powerful finale will be played out.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Meanwhile a gaggle of over-eager extras do their best to avoid looking straight at the camera (and plenty fail, bless ’em) as Professor McGonagall (Dame Maggie Smith) struggles through the throng.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Dumbledore’s intricate memory holder is next to fill the screen, displaying a row of Riddle-related memories ready to be tapped into.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

“What you’re looking at are memories,” Dumbledore informs Harry. These, he says, pertain to a young man called Tom Riddle. As we learnt in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Tom Riddle grows to become Lord Voldemort.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

This is the most important, Dumbledore’s very first meeting with an orphaned Tom Riddle long ago, before his introduction to magic and before his dark, twisted descent into evil.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

“I want you to see it,” says Dumbledore…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

…and so Harry stares deep into the Pensieve, a magical device which allows for memories to be stored and viewed by third parties.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

So as Harry peers in we’re in fifties London, evidenced by the beautiful car and rather dodgy weather. Dumbledore is making his way through to…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

…Wools Orphanage. The book describes the orphanage as being found on a bustling, old-fashioned London street and for those trivia-heads in the audience, the film’s production in fact constructed the impressive exterior at the end of the old-fashioned London street they’d built to house Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The cold, dark orphanage is a maze of imposing and lifeless stairways, halls and rooms that look more like prison cells. The most important of these, which the headmistress Ms. Cole leads Dumbledore to, houses…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

…Tom Marvolo Riddle, played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin. He’s Ralph Fiennes‘ nephew, which makes him perfect casting for the young Lord Voldemort. “In all the years Tom’s been here he’s never once had a visitor,” explains Ms. Cole, and we’re about to learn how that fact has made its mark.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Tom wants to know if Dumbledore is a doctor. “I’m like you,” he says, “I’m different.”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

“Prove it,” demands Riddle. There are shades of Harry’s first encounter with Hagrid here, one of many that cause Harry concern. His path is not so different from Riddle’s. They’re both abandoned and alone, and Harry fears that these similarities will lead him down a similar path.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Riddle’s first challenge of Dumbledore is answered as the older wizard sets alight the boy’s cabinet. In the book this is the storage place for the stolen trophies the young wizard collects which will soon explain his use of the Horcruxes.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Cleary convinced by this display, the boy begins to share his experiences. We cut to Harry running through reeds…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

…these are the first of a series of shots clearly culled from the much-mooted new scene being added to the movie, involving an attack by the Death Eaters on The Burrow, the home to the Weasley family and one of Harry’s favourite places.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

And we’re introduced to a new character, Fenrir Greyback, a twisted werewolf who’s playing for the Death Eaters, and whose lust for feeding on flesh has carried over even when he’s not transformed. He has his sights set on…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

…Ginny Weasley. After an awkward flirtation with Cho Chang in The Order of the Phoenix, we’ll come to learn how important Ginny will become to Harry in the course of this film.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

But while love blossoms for one Weasley, Ron has some trouble with poisoning this year. First he scoffs some chocolates meant for Harry and imbued with love potion and then, far more seriously as we see here, he inadvertently drinks a potion meant for an assassination attempt on Dumbledore. Potions play a big part in the film, as Snape takes over Defense Against the Dark Arts and Professor Slughorn – played by Potter newcomer Jim Broadbent – replaces him as Potions master.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The briefest of shots in the trailer is of Dumbledore placing the Gaunt’s ring on his finger. What we come to learn is that this is no ordinary ring. It is, instead, a Horcrux belonging to…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

…Lord Voldemort. Fiennes doesn’t appear in this film — instead, Fiennes-Tiffin is one of two younger Tom Riddles to appear — but his character’s presence is stronger than ever, as brief flashes of the twisted Lord in the trailer serve to illustrate.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

We’re also given a look at a key scene that takes place in a cave. Notice the crystalline, Superman Returns-like structure of the rock. This cave keeps, in the center, a bowl from which Dumbledore must drink to retrieve one of the seven Horcruxes Voldemort has made. With it (possibly) in hand, the professor and Harry battle away the Inferi (who we don’t see) by conjuring fire.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

But the liquid has taken its toll on Dumbledore, forcing him to relive his worst memory ever and endure unimaginable pain in the process.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Back to Riddle. He shares his most important piece of information to the young Dumbledore. “I can speak to snakes too,” he says, “They find me. Whisper things.”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

He refers to Parseltongue, the ability to understand and communicate with serpents. In the books this is a trait that can be practiced by good wizards as well as bad, and the film certainly suggests the same – Harry is a Parseltongue, another of his many similarities with Riddle. But it’s a portent of darkness nonetheless, in the books and films, and it’s a confession which stops Dumbledore in his tracks.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Cue John Williams‘ Hedwig’s Theme and the title card. Over this, a line lifted straight from the book. “Did you know, sir? Then?” asks Harry. “Did I know I’d just met the most dangerous dark wizard of all time?” replies Dumbledore. “No.”

Watch the trailer for yourself right here on RT and view our updated photo gallery here. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince arrives in cinemas in November.

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