04/17/2009 12:48 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince trailer (and a toast to a remarkably consistent franchise).

I know this is something like the sixth trailer for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, but this thing looks amazing. As if to assuage the fears of fans over the PG rating, this trailer is cut like an R-rated supernatural thriller, with many of the frightening images that fans were afraid would be cut. Intensity and foreboding are the words of the day. There are a few images I would count as spoilers, but probably only because I've read the book and recognize the context. Book six was one of my favorite books of the series, and this very well could be the best film so far. Unless Star Trek really breaks out and/or Transformers 2 corrects every flaw that was present in the first film, I can't see anything beating this one in the summer box office derby.

I think we all need to stop a minute and realize what a phenomenal achievement this film series is. We have a giant eight film series and, with only three films left, every film has been consistently solid and completely compelling. Sure some films have been better than others (and I'm amazed at how enjoyable a movie David Yates was able to craft from the mediocre fifth book), but the Harry Potter saga has been one terrific movie after another. The casting has been frighteningly perfect and the technical aspects are peerless. The young actors have improved with each film and the supporting cast is obviously having the time of their lives (did anyone ever think that Alan Rickman would find an even more iconic role than Hans Gruber?). It may not have the mythical fandom of Star Wars and it may not have the awards and prestige of The Lord of the Rings, but the Harry Potter franchise has almost quietely crafted one of the finest fantasy myths of our generation. Whether one franchise is better than another is fine to debate, but Harry Potter deserves to stand tall right beside Luke Skywalker and Frodo Baggins.

Scott Mendelson