My Harry Potter Experience


Up until about a month ago, I hadn’t watched a single Harry Potter film; let alone taken the time to read any of J. K. Rowling’s popular novels. I had even given thought to watching the franchise’s concluding film without having witnessed the films that came before it; an injustice that only now am I able to fully understand. Pushed by several close friends to get caught up in time for the theatrical release of The Deathly Hallows Part 2, my journey into the phenomenon that is Harry Potter began. In the span of ten days, I watched each installment of the franchise one-by-one and slowly but surely my own fascination with these films began. Since then, I have gone through the franchise in it’s entirety one more time with others who for one reason or another hadn’t found the time to watch the films either. I owe a debt of gratitude to those who pushed me to get caught up with the films before The Deathly Hallows Part 2 opened in theatres and now I’m pushing others to get caught up before the film leaves theatres. I will now attempt the difficult task of ranking the eight installments in the Harry Potter franchise, and would call on all of you to share your own thoughts on the films.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Not much more can be said that hasn’t already been stated about the epic conclusion of the Harry Potter franchise. From the large scale battle sequences reminiscent of the attack on Helms Deep, to the more intimate moments where Harry’s true courage is revealed, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a first class adventure and a fitting end to the most successful film series of all time. How do you properly conclude a movie franchise that has spanned eights installments? …. Just like this.

2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

A placeholder, but what a magnificent placeholder it is. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a dark and thrilling film foreshadowing the difficulties that lay ahead for Harry and his friends. The film is also a giant leap forward from previous installments in terms of its visual elements; no doubt a bi-product of having Bruno Delbonnel (A Very Long Engagement) on board as cinematographer.

3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I’ve been told by those who have read the novels, that director Mike Newell botched this adaption, but I can only comment as an individual who has only seen the films and not read the novels; and from that standpoint I have to say I enjoyed Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire very much. From the moment Harry screams ‘He’s back! He’s back! Voldemort’s back!’, we realize that his life and everyone’s at Hogwarts will never be the same.

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

With Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, David Yates proves the franchise is in more than capable hands. It also helps when you have an epic wizard showdown between Lord Voldemort and Dumbledore highlighting the climax of the film. As Harry becomes more tormented, we become more enthralled by him, his story, and his connection to the Dark Lord.

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The presence of Gary Oldman and David Thewlis add much credibility to an already all-star British cast. The overall dark nature of the franchise begins here and is carried throughout the remainder of the installments, first by Newell then by Yates. Under Cuarón’s direction, the film is more sophisticated and nuanced while at the same time losing none of its entertainment appeal. A much needed change in direction from Columbus’s more light-hearted childish adventures.

6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

More childish fun than anything else, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is best taken as an introduction; not just to Harry, Hermione, and Ron, but to the magic of Hogarts and those who inhabit its grounds. For those, like myself who have not read the novels, we soon understand the boundaries of this enchanted world and the potential dangers that lurk within.

7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is my least favourite of franchise, but this does not mean there isn’t anything to take away from the film because there is. It is in the small things, like for instance the introduction of the character of Dobby and the final Dumbledore performance by Richard Harris who sadly passed away two weeks before the American premiere.

Christopher Misch

I've always loved movies, but it wasn't until under the tutelage of Professor Garry Leonard at the University of Toronto that my passion for the industry became an understanding of an art form. With a specific fascination in both the western genre and Asian cinema in general, I am of the view that good movies are either enlightening or entertaining, and if you are truly lucky they are both.
  • Tony Liccardello

    Ah, you watched them all! Nice work. 

    Now you can start on those audio books…

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