'Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince': The kids grow up

One of the exciting elements of the DVD release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is that it includes the first footage of the seventh film in the series, The Deathly Hallows, Part I.

Other features on the two-disc set or Blu-ray include actor Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) hosting a 30-minute featurette, with the cast talking about the film; a documentary about J.K. Rowling's last year writing the series; deleted scenes; and a Q&A with the cast on their characters.

Otherwise, Half-Blood Prince is pretty much a bridge movie to the final two films, which split Rowling's last novel in half. So many of the plot points in Prince seem like setups to the grand finale. If you're not a fan of the books or movies, you're not likely to jump right in now.

Not that director David Yates doesn't keep things moving, even for the uninitiated. He does that quite well. But in some ways, the most obvious part of the plot is the most interesting. That is the kids growing up. Give Chris Columbus, who directed the first film, and the producers credit for choosing Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as Harry, Hermione and Ron.

In Prince they are young adults, which gives their characters more depth. The film also has a couple of new young actors in Hero Fiennes-Tiffin and Frank Dillane as Tom Riddle, the young magician who becomes the evil adult Lord Voldemort portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, at various ages. And British actor Jim Broadbent takes on the role of the suspicious Professor Horace Slughorn. Fans won't be disappointed. Also out are "Ultimate Edition" boxed sets of the first two films, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, each $39.92 and $49.99 on Blu-ray.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince retails for $28.98, $34.99 for the two-disc edition and $35.99 on Blu-ray.