I just saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in the theater tonight. (I also can't sleep so this is a 2:30 am review).
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the 6th movie in a series of 8 movies (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the 7th book, will be split into two movies). This movie is about Harry's junior year at Hogwarts. Dumbledore takes a lot of initiative to hire a new potions teacher, Horace Slughorn. Slughorn has some invaluable information about Voldemort that he is unwilling to share. In the meantime, Harry finds a potions book filled with hand written notes in the margins by the Half-Blood Prince, a mysterious unknown person from Hogwart's past. The book has valuable information that helps make better potions and it also hold spells that are very dangerous. Harry must help Dumbledore obtain the secret from Slughorn. In the meantime, Draco is chosen by Voldemort to carry out a task that may mean ruin for Dumbledore.
The pacing of the movie was very good; much of the tedium of the book was corrected in this movie.
The entire movie had a bluish-green tint to it that gave me a cold, uneasy feeling. I think that the director did this to try to create a darker mood for the film. I felt that he was successful in creating an appropriate mood for this story.
The actors, especially the ones who play Harry, Ron and Hermione, were very good. They have grown up to be very fine actors. Their charisma really caught and held my attention.
There was a good amount of comedy/jokes in the film. It gave a good juxtaposition for the darkness and seriousness in this movie.
There was a lot of teen romance. This may be the only weakness in the film for me. The romance itself wasn't bad but there was just a little too much of it--but this is a minor point.
The special effects were outstanding.
I really liked Helena Bonham Carter's performance as Bellatrix Lestrange in this movie (she was in Fight Club and Hamlet with Mel Gibson). She just seemed like an especially evil villain.
Snape was my favorite character in this story and in a lot of ways, throughout the entire series. I think that Snape is a complex character. It is not always clear why he does what he does and I like that aspect of him. Alan Rickman did a great job portraying Snape. NOTE: is it only me but every time I see Alan Rickman, I still see the villain from the first Die Hard movie in my head.
Unlike the other films (so I've been told) where you can watch the movie without having seen any of the previous installments, this movie assumes that you are familiar with all the previous movies/books. There was very little introduction of character or story explanation. I liked this aspect because I felt like the director respected me as a viewer and it helped with the pacing of the movie. So one thing you may want to do before you see this film is watch the others (or read the books).
With respect to content, there was no overt sexuality (except an occasional snog) or profanity. There were a few suspenseful scenes which may scare elementary age children.
Overall, a very good film. I highly recommend it. In my highly unqualified personal opinion, I think that film is good for anyone in junior high school or older. The pacing of the movie and the quality of the directing, acting and effects were all very good.
Oh, make sure you turn off your cell phone at the beginning of the movie and if it rings, please don't answer and have a conversation on the phone as the movie is going on. :)