Yesterday, I finally had the chance to sit down and watch this. I’m a fan of the books and enjoy the movies. My fiancee, however, is more of a huge fan of the books and enjoys the movies. When I sat down to watch this in the theater originally I was expecting a lot more. Which, imo, the big thing that I thought detracted from the film originally was all the love storylines. It seemed like the darker tone took a bit of a back seat and was more subtle.
I am happy to say that this is definitely my go-to version of the Half Blood Prince. I enjoyed this version so much more than when I originally saw it. Some of the stuff that I deemed fluff is gone. (Harry flirting with the waitress, etc.) This actually makes the film (imo) the Empire Strikes Back of the Harry Potter franchise. (actually, it’d be Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, HBP, DH Pt. 1 all make the Empire Strikes back portion if you were going direct analogy to the SW)
A lot of the cuts I actually hadn’t noticed til I came back to the thread and took a gander at the cutlist. The pace of the movie flows well. I enjoyed the fact that it seemed to move a brisker pace. It reminded me more of how the first Harry Potter was. For the time while I was watching this, I was transported back to my 7th grade self. (Which was the year when the first Harry Potter came out) This actually reinvigorated my sense of awe and wonder and made me reignite the passion I had for the series before.
I’d definitely recommend this to anyone that wasn’t happy with HBP when it came out in theaters originally. Like I said before, it moves a brisker pace. I didn’t mind the fluff being removed. It strengthens the characters and their storylines. (Also, kudos for making the Harry-Ginny relationship seem more natural. Unlike the original version, where it seemed like they were hitting you over the head and forcing the two characters together, imo. Also enjoyed the deleted scene that was restored. Dunno why it was cut out of the film originally.)
Recommendation: Highly recommended. And Two Thumbs Up.