Everyone the world over should’ve realized what this was about when they saw the title, but if they didn’t, they do now. Yes, this is about the Harry Potter film franchise. The films have all been released by Warner Bros. Pictures, and they star Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, and Ralph Fiennes. The movies have been rated from PG to PG-13 for their various uses of magical violence and situations that may be deemed too tense for children. The movies tell the story of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) a young wizard who has been dubbed by everyone in the magic community as the Chosen One. While studying at Howgarts, he meets and befriends Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and they go on various adventures to not only learn more about themselves, but to stop an evil wizard known as Lord Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes). For those who are bigger fans than me, yes; I’m aware that I just did a very brief synopsis of all seven books and (to date) seven movies. Take a deep breath; you’ll be okay.
How did I get engulfed in Harry Potter? I’ll tell you. On December 4th, ABC Family had a marathon of the first five films. How many did I watch? None. I didn’t watch any of them, but that was because I was unaware of the marathon until I saw mention of it on Twitter. I found out that it would be back on the next day, so I set it in my mind that I was going to watch them then. I had been intrigued by the trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but I didn’t want to start in cold; rather, I wanted to start from the beginning and work my way up. This marathon gave me that option. I started in late (The Sorcerer’s Stone was at least an hour and a half in at the time), so I was kind of unaware what was going on. Thankfully, it was fairly easy to follow. After I watched that one, I went on to the second one…then the third…and before I knew it, I was crawling into the bed at 11:30 after watching all of them. After that, I was hooked.
Like I mentioned above, there have been seven movies done so far, and I’ll discuss seven of them here. Why not all eight? Because The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 hasn’t been released yet. Be patient.
First things first, I know the poster says “Philosopher’s Stone;” I like that poster better. Oh, sure; I could’ve gone with the one that had the boats going into Hogwarts, but I decided to use this one instead. It’s just as good. Anyway, every story has its beginning, and this is the beginning of the Harry Potter franchise. We meet the principal characters as they set out to find the Sorcerer’s Stone and prevent He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named from getting his hands on it and coming back to life. As beginnings go, it’s a pretty good one, and the kids really hold their own in this movie.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
To be honest, this one bored me. This movie is the weakest of the series, and it’s not the fault of the actors. The trio held their own and the addition of Kenneth Branagh as the ridiculously named and dressed Gilderoy Lockheart was beautiful casting. Unfortunately, the story wasn’t told well, and I wasn’t really impressed at all. This signaled the end of Chris Columbus as the director of the series, and it even made John Williams’ great score seem mostly mundane. It’s a shame, because the story looks like it lends itself to the screen well. It just didn’t work out in this one.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
If Chamber of Secrets was the worst to me, then Prisoner of Azkaban was the best. The trio began to grow into their own, the story was brilliant, the score was phenomenal, and the addition of Alfonso Cuarón as the director was a spectacular choice. The movie introduced the great Gary Oldman as Sirius Black, David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, and Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew. This also brought in Michael Gambon to replace Richard Harris as Dumbledore, as Harris passed away after the second one. This is just a spectacular film in general – not just a spectacular Harry Potter film.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
It’s hard to follow a great movie with another great movie, so I’m not too mad that Goblet of Fire dropped the ball a bit. That’s okay, though; it was pretty good. Dumping Harry into a tournament originally designed for three wizards was pretty clever. Bringing in Brendan Gleeson to play the appropriately named Mad-Eye Moody was great, and he actually made the movie. The movie brought about the rebirth of Lord Voldermort, played with tenacity by Ralph Fiennes. The action was great, and the effects were very well done. Mike Newell did a very good job with this one. The score was blasé, but you can’t win them all.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
One of the great things in the Harry Potter franchise is that you really get to see the actors grow and evolve. This movie shows their growth in spades. On top of that, you get to see a really great wand duel between the forces of good (Dumbledore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix) and evil (Death Eaters). We also see an epic battle between Dumbledore and Voldermort. David Yates takes the directing helm, and he deftly guides his young cast through the rigors. This one also introduces a great villain in Dolores Umbridge; she’s just annoying enough to be sinister. Another good one in the series.
The tagline for this one says it all: “Dark Secrets Revealed.” This is definitely truth in advertising. We find out one character isn’t as he seems, and another one has taken the wrong path. All isn’t bad, though; romances are realized, hearts are broken, and epic battles wage on. This one has a very sad ending, though, as we bid a fond farewell to one of the most beloved characters in in the franchise. Of course, the reason we’re saying goodbye is due to the insidious deeds of another…or was it really insidious? Only time will tell…
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
I wrote about this one already, and my feelings haven’t changed on it from that review. If you missed it, you can check it out here. Just to add, I love it when a movie ends unconventionally. Although it makes sense for it to end how it did, that doesn’t make it any more enriching.
On July 15th (currently), the epic finale to the franchise comes to theaters, and I am really looking forward to that. That being said, if they released it one day before, that would be the best birthday present ever.
At any rate, I’ve been watching the trailers quite a lot since it was released, and it’s only served to get me even more ready. But, until then…