The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently the biggest and most successful movie series to date; but that wasn’t always the case! During the 2000’s, the hottest film series in the world was; the Harry Potter film series. Based on the widely successful book series of the same name by J.K. Rowling; the Harry Potter films became as big as the books worldwide.
The series was of course the depiction of the adventures of a boy called Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe); who finds out he is a wizard, and goes to a magical school called Hogwarts; and encounters various villains and beasts with his friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) in tow, as they build-up towards their greatest foe: Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).
I personally didn’t read the books, I tried reading Order of the Phoenix; but only got up to chapter four; but I did see all the films at the cinema. Released over a ten year period between 2001 and 2011; eight films were released based on the seven books. By the release of the eighth film I was rather tired of it all, but nonetheless, the series was still a fun watch, and still are when I re-watch them on TV.
With it now being ten years since the release of the last film in the series, I thought it was overdue for me to share with you my personal favourites. Originally I was going to keep it down to 5, but then I thought it’s only a few more, so why not talk about them all. The below list does not include Fantastic Beasts as I have not seen any of them, plus I feel like it’s an entirely separate film series. Anyway; here are my Top 8 ‘Favourite’ Harry Potter Films; Enjoy!
8. Deathly Hallows Part 1 – Oh boy is this a boring one! It sort of put me off wanting to see part 2. The opening isn’t bad, but once the protagonists sort of leave that picture, it gets real boring. It’s like a clip show of places to go to stay off the radar, perfect film for someone trying to stay off the grid. Yes it sort of heads somewhere at the end, but after all that, I just couldn’t be bothered. Seriously, the first time i saw this film, I considered it the worst film I had ever seen. Later viewings have picked it up a little, but it’s still pretty boring!
7. Half-Blood Prince – Much like the entry above, my taste for this one has improved over later viewings; but not by much. The plot is all over the place, it jumps from thing to thing, and tries to follow up on previous things, but the end results are pretty thin. The reveal of the half Blood Prince for instance, is like ‘so what?’. It’s kind of surprising, but since the last mention of that plot thread was a long while a go; I just don’t care! But these issues are minor in comparison to the huge amount of dust and bad lighting. It’s like the set wasn’t dusted from shooting the last film, it’s so blurry and dusty!
6. Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Much like Part 1, this one starts going in the wrong direction, by having that overly long sequence at Gringotts Bank. But then it starts to really improve. By taking the focus back to the school, and re-including all their friends, really helps to focus this film on the direction it should be going in. So we get a spectacular battle, followed by a smaller one, but still relatively epic. But there is still time for drama and intense surprises. The series starting going in a bleak direction at film six, but at least it was able to turn it around for the concluding chapter!
5. Goblet of Fire – A largely forgettable beginning and middle overshadowed by the film’s main big moment towards the end. But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. It has it’s dramatic moments between character breakdowns, and group break ups. It has it’s mini taster scenes where something interesting happens for a moment, in the blink of an eye which remain with you until the film is over. It has it’s comedic moments too, as well some more of those heartwarming scenes found in the earlier films. Yes it’s a bit of an odd-ball; but that sort of makes it quite cool. And don’t forget it also stars Brendan Gleeson and David Tennant too!
4. Chamber of Secrets – Back when the series could still create awe and amazement with it’s focus on the magical aspect of a school for magic; The Chamber of Secrets kept up the same philosophy and splendor of it’s predecessor to create another cool and enjoyably relaxing entry in the series. This time things got more ramped up, as some background to certain characters were introduced; as well as some much larger scale effects; with both Aragog and the Basilisk being incredible production pieces. But beneath all this we start to get more of a dramatic undertone that will come to define the series future, featuring both some sad moments, as well as the most heartwarming pieces possible!
3. Philosopher’s Stone (or Sorcerer’s Stone if you prefer) – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was the first film in the series, and probably the most magical. It introduces the story and characters really well, and is a great introduction for viewers who perhaps have not read the books. It’s really nice, really simple, plus, due to the fact that the viewer like the main character has not spotted magic yet, it means there is a lot of outstanding moments of awe in it. It’s a nice and splendid movie; and just a great way to get the series moving!
2. Prisoner of Azkaban – In many respects this film feels like the start to a revamped/rebooted series of Harry Potter films given the number of unsubtle changes in the series production. Sadly, it was the first film not to feature original Dumbledore Richard Harris, who sadly passed away after doing the first two films. Also; Hogwarts is now on the slopes of a valley, with certain objects changing positions; and the school uniforms are also slightly different. But; this is an awesome film! It’s much darker tone takes the story in a cool direction; the time travel ending, plus more of a focus on the dynamics between Harry and Hermione at the end is really cool. But more than that, it makes use of top notch acting talent in David Thewlis and Gary Oldman; plus its such a nice break not to hear Voldemort’s name every five minutes. Basically…Brilliant!
1. Order of the Phoenix – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the most outstanding film in the series for several reasons. It builds on it’s already firm foundations to build a mega film in plot and intrigue. It weaves in drama by building characters up, knocking them down and makes life as difficult for the characters as possible. It still carries a level of magic and wonder; but the thing that makes it standout ore than the others by far; is it’s focus on other characters. It takes existing characters who have been in the films from the start and give them more of a part, rather than either the comic relief (Neville Longbottom), or simply just standing in the picture (Ginny Weasley). But more than that it introduces new characters and makes them shine brighter than the biggest star. Nymphadora Tonks (Natalia Tena) for instance is quite a cool character; but best of all is Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), who is introduced early on and becomes a key character carrying the traits of an extraordinary character, but then becomes an integral part of the film, and someone you don’t want to say goodbye too. This focus on new and existing characters having a much larger part in the film is what makes this film standout more than the other seven; after all, a school is made up of more than three pupils!