I saw an advanced private screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Bood Prince this morning courtesy of my friend Rodney, and as I write this review I'm struggling with the fact that a confluence of events (of which the film is but one) are knocking my sleep schedule 180 degrees out of phase. This means that right now, through the haze of exhaustion and gritty eyes, I am seeing an alternate world in which I did not leave the house at 6:45am to see a movie, and that world looks pretty attractive. But I'm going to try to look past that. I distinctly remember enjoying myself a lot while I was at the theater. I wasn't disappointed, that's for sure. Here are the rankings: 1. Star Trek 2. Up 3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 4. Terminator: Salvation 5. Angels & Demons 6. Transformers: ROTF 7. Land of the Lost 8. Night at The Museum 2 9. Wolverine It's possible I'm being generous, but I listened to my heart on this one. I asked myself "how much fun am I having right now?" The answer was "not as much as Up but more than Terminator." So there you have it. Now then... there are a number of things I'm sure the hardcore Harry Potter fans will have trouble getting past in this film. First and foremost, the fun puzzles are glossed over or absent. Working out the identity of The Half-Blood Prince gets a back seat. It's so far back, in fact, that the reveal was kind of an "oh, yeah, we're supposed to care about this" moment. Were it not for the obvious RowlingWorld Franchise problems I'd suggest that the movie have a different title, like Harry Potter and the Edited Memories or maybe Harry Potter and the Confused Horny Teenagers. But I won't ramble or rant in that direction. In truth I should apologize for that second title, because the Confused Horny Teenagers were brilliant and fun to watch. Those actors and actresses are to be commended for their work, and the director and coaches should be patting themselves on the back for years for drawing those performances out of the principals. In a word, I believed those were real teenagers. And that's the secret, really. I believed. If you, mister-or-missus filmmaker can make me believe then you win. I believed in the stuff I know about (human behavior, with which I've got a few decades of practical experience) so I'm willing to trust the film to be honest about the stuff I don't know about (what does it look like when you see another person's memory? How do Death-Eaters fly? What does apparating feel like?) I believed in the teenagers, so I was able to fully appreciate the special effects the way they're meant to be appreciated -- as if they are real. Even though there were piles of problems with the story, and even though the pacing was stilted (likely a compromise resulting from editing down a much longer but better-paced film,) I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Just don't ask me to sit through it again for at least a couple of weeks. I am so tired.