First thing’s first. When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out in 2001, I was 10. Still waiting on my Hogwarts letter, still climbing the trees in my parents front yard to reread the books over and over. When it was announced that a movie would be coming, it felt like the second coming of Christ to us Potterheads. Bringing a book with so much existing detail and imagination to the big screen was always going to be a losing battle when it comes to making everyone happy. As the years went by and more movies came out, they got better and better. Technology advanced, the actors got better at their jobs, they switched up directors – it was a slow burn trying to figure out how to do it best, and by the end of the movies, they finally got it right.
Absolutely unbelievable. The Harry Potter theme song (called Hedwig’s Theme) is one of the best in the world IMO, written by John Williams. Throughout the films there were different composers (Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper, and Alexandre Desplat) but they used John’s original score in all 8 films, and it’s become synonymous with the franchise. The starting sounds begin on a Celesta piano (“a bell piano” is what they tell me when I google it) before breaking into a huge orchestral performance. CHILLS!!!!!!!
Music is so important in films (as we all know) but for Harry Potter, you’re expected to feel a certain way going into each movie – the earlier movies it’s a little more light hearted, with loud action scenes when necessary. As the journey gets darker, so does the music. My personal favorite comes in the Goblet of Fire opener, the first time we feel through the music that this movie is going to be much more intense than getting into mischief at Hogwarts.
I don’t know if there are any franchises where I think the casting is 100% perfect, but if there’s one that is close, its HP. Every single person is EXACTLY as imagined. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson look as if they were born to be Harry, Ron Hermione. All of their friends, the Weasleys (some people say Ginny sucked but I disagree, I think she was fine), the Dursleys, all of the teachers, Death Eaters – SPOT ON. Of course we had the sad death of the original Dumbledore, Richard Harris, after the first two movies. He was perfection. Michael Gambon took over and honestly, sucked at first, but he was perfect toward the end when Dumbledore’s character is expected to have a little more edge.
Fun fact in this video below, the kids all had to sign on at 10 years old, for all 8 movies. Daniel almost didn’t get the role of Harry, as the films were originally supposed to be filmed in America, and his parents didn’t want to “take too much time out of his everyday life.” IMAGINE your parents make you pass on HARRY POTTER? Even Neville, who waited on line to audition for the role for FIVE hours, somehow ended up being the perfect choice.
I’d be a fool not to include the dollars poured into these films as well as the take-home for these budding starlets. In total, all 8 films cost 1.2 billion dollars to make. The box office total? SEVEN POINT SEVEN BILLION. 7.7 BILLION!!!! Almost a BILLION dollars a movie. An unthinkable amount of money. For perspective, all 25 of the Marvel Universe movies made about 23 billion combined, which to me, sounds like these two universes are equally loved by their fans. Emma Watson and Rupert Grint each made around 70 million throughout the series, while Daniel cashed in at 100 million. (Now that I think about it, seems kind of low? LOL.) For the first film, Daniel only made around 3 million – increasing significantly as the films went on. The biggest (and latest) jump was probably for Emma Watson, who was still making only 4 million a movie during The Order of the Phoenix. She went on to make 30 million alone for both Deathly Hallows films. Sounds like somebody had to step in to make sure Mr Moneybags Bankman was giving our girl WHAT SHE DESERVES!
Now, finally, onto the movies.
7. Chamber Of Secrets
Year Released – 2002
Director – Chris Columbus
A HUGE drop in my rankings from the books. I personally loved CoS, I’m probably being harsh in my rankings with it in movie form, but it just…wasn’t that good. Both of Chris Columbus’ iterations of the movies were…fine attempts? I just feel as if they didn’t have enough direction or detail to set you up for the rest of the series. As far as cinematic moments, they did do a good job with the bathroom/Moaning Myrtle, and down in the actual Chamber of Secrets was interesting too. Although, the scenes with the Basilisk? Even after Fawkes pokes its eyes out, and maybe we can blame this on 2002 CGI, but it looked so silly. Even watching back I’m like, that’s it? Another positive, Tom Riddle. This is why I loved CoS the book so much – charming, handsome Tom Riddle starts writing to Harry through his diary, sucking him into his own story. In the movie, it seems fairly obvious that Tom Riddle is Lord Voldemort from the jump. Or, at the very least, he’s a dark magic guy. The reveal of Tom Riddle being Voldemort was a JAW DROPPING moment in the book, and the movie doesn’t show enough of their conversations to really show that Harry was entirely too trusting of him and totally blind-sighted by it. Harry actually LIKED “Tom” before realizing who he was inside the Chamber. They did a great job with Dobby, a fantastic job of breaking Harry out of the Dursley’s with the flying car, and the scene of Ron and Harry flying the car alongside the Hogwarts train once they were locked out of Platform 9 3/4 (Dobby, that jokester!) Gilderoy Lockhart was also stellar (great casting with Kenneth Branagh, who in real life was married to Emma Thompson AND had a relationship with Helena Bonham Carter, both HP alumni). I also think they did a good job of capturing how chaotic The Burrow (Ron’s house) was, and Lockhart’s class with the Cornish Pixies was just as disastrous as it sounded. Harry’s limp no-bones arm after he got hit by the bludger and Lockhart removed all of his bones accidentally, along with Aragog the spider in the Forbidden Forest were also cool to see translated onto the screen exactly as pictured. The dueling scene was good, with Draco sending a snake at Harry and Harry just talking to it. Only complaint here, is that he didn’t defend himself enough when everyone thought he was turning the snake on Justin Finch-Fletchley, instead of telling it to “leave him alone.” He was ADAMANT about his innocence in the books.
Also, very sad, Chamber of Secrets is the last time we see the OG Dumbledore, Richard Harris, in his role. He passed away right after they finished filming, falling ill with a chest infection a month after it wrapped in August 2002, and dying a month before its premiere in November, at age 72.
Major Book/Movie complaints:
– The movie ending was rushed. After Harry saved Ginny, he chats with Dumbledore, and it basically cuts to them leaving Hogwarts again on the train. Hagrid is back suddenly, everything’s feeling chill, and it gives the impression of everything being all wrapped up, when it absolutely was not.
– The way the students learn about the Chamber of Secrets – in the movies, McGonagall tells them about it. It’s actually the boring ass History of Magic teacher, Professor Binns, who they don’t even show in ANY of the movies despite the fact he’s the only teacher they have that is a GHOST. He explains the chambers, and how all of the Hogwarts founders started turning against each other. A lot of important info!! From a GHOST PROFESSOR! Why leave that out?
– They did not spend enough time on the Polyjuice Potion. In the book it seems like they waited half the year for it to be brewed up by Hermione, and in the movie it was done in like, a week. I get the need to cut down on time but again, making it seem so easy to make took away from the brilliance that is Hermione Granger, IMO.
– The explanation of the students being petrified. I don’t know how else they could’ve talked about this, but it just seemed like they breezed over it every time? Like “ugh, another petrified student. To the hospital wing!” It didn’t convey the same kind of fear we were supposed to have, which I think has something to do with how weirdly lame the Basilisk looked at the end.
– The movie left out Filch trying to learn cleaning spells, none of which he could master, because he was a Squib (a non-magical wizard born to wizard parents.) I feel like Filch was a much bigger annoyance to the kids in the books, and in the movies he was just a crotchety old man. Also learning about Squibs in Book 2 sets it up for an even bigger surprised when in Book/Movie 5, we learn that Mrs Fig (Harry’s neighbor at Privet Drive) was a Squib, asked to look over Harry by Dumbledore.
– Ginny sending Harry one of Lockhart’s Valentine’s Dwarfs. (Lockhart had “Valentines Dwarfs” for his students in the way you’d have candygrams or something, it was so weird.) In the movies, it seems like Ginny’s love for Harry comes out of nowhere. They barely speak to each other until the 5/6th movie! She was sweet on Harry the minute she met him. In Book 5, Ginny starts dating Michael Corner [a Ravenclaw] and Hermione explains to Harry that Ginny has “finally given up on getting Harry’s attention.” Harry replies, “oh, so that’s why she talks now. She never used to talk around me!”
– Arthur Weasley and Lucius Malfoy arguing in the book shop. Now, we do get this scene a little bit, Lucius sneaks Tom Riddle’s diary into Ginny’s cauldron. What isn’t in the movies, is the fact he had a whole argument with Arthur Weasley where he essentially called him and his family poor to their faces, and Arthur gets into a physical altercation with him. I’m upset they left this out of the movie, it really showed how vile Lucius was and how willing Arthur is to stick up for his family.
A fun fact from Wikipedia, they started the photo/film process for Chamber of Secrets only 3 days after the premiere of Sorcerer’s Stone.
6. Sorcerer’s Stone
Year released – 2001
Director – Chris Columbus
~~~THE FIRST MOVIE~~~. It hurts me to rank it so low, based on the nostalgia factor alone, but it had to be done. Chris Columbus was tasked with something impossible, to kick off this film series in the best, cheapest way possible while appeasing all of the fans. Did he do it? In my opinion, no. To release a movie based on the hottest book in the world in 2001, a time when all anyone did was read and re-read the book, and have it be so rushed/missing key plot points? Watching it back without the magic and wonder in my 10 year old eyeballs, it just doesn’t hit the mark. Earlier I said casting was great, and I agree with that now, but when Dudley Dursley came onto the screen with brown hair instead of blonde hair, I almost walked out. THAT is how crazy the fans were about it – we all expected a shot for shot visual of the book, and we just didn’t get that. We knew it was just the start of something that would eventually be incredible, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried that I would hate all of the movies after Sorcerer’s Stone came out. That being said, there were a lot of things that ended up looking great visually. Harry’s cupboard under the stairs and all of the Hogwarts letters flooding the Dursley’s house, Hogwarts itself (known in reality as Alnwick Castle in the English countryside), Harry getting his first wand (SO dramatic). The Harry/Draco/Neville Rememberall scene where Harry flies on a broomstick for the first time, Fluffy the 3-headed dog, the Devil’s Snare, the Flying Keys (I LOVED the flying key scene. Exactly as I pictured it.) The TROLLLL IN THE DUNGEON!!!! The Chess Game (iconic. Made even more iconic by the OVER THE TOP acting from the kids – “NO, RON NOOOOO!” “HES GOING TO SACRIFICE HIMSALLLFFF” “NOT ME, NOT HERMIONE, YEWWWWW”). Even Voldemort in the back of Quirrell’s head, and Quirrell later being turned to dust was awesome CGI for 2001.
Major Book/Movie complaints:
– Leaving out the final Potions obstacle before reaching the Sorcerer’s Stone. My head almost exploded when I realized this wasn’t in the movie – After Ron’s chess game, Harry and Hermione continue onto the last room, designed by Snape, which held 7 potions. Hermione solves a riddle to figure out which potions were poison, which were nothing, what can send them back through to safety, and which allowed them to continue onto the stone. Hermione is the real star of this, the most logical of the three of them, and sends Harry along to face Quirrell/Voldemort alone.
“Brilliant. This isn’t magic — it’s logic — a puzzle. A lot of the greatest wizards haven’t got an ounce of logic, they’d be stuck in here for ever.”— Hermione Granger, 11 years old, Bad Bitch
– In the movies, Hagrid takes Harry to Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross for the first time. In the books, it was The Dursleys. They were SO reluctant to bring him, so rude to him in saying goodbye, and it was hilarious. Similar to The Malfoys, I feel like the movies don’t do the Dursleys justice in how pointedly awful they are to Harry.
– We don’t ever meet Charlie Weasley – in SS, the dragon that Hagrid buys/hatches is eventually transported under the cover of nightfall to Ron’s second-eldest brother Charlie, who’s job is to work with Dragons in Romania. (More on this when we get to Goblet.) I don’t think they mention Charlie ONCE in the movies. Bill doesn’t even come into the picture until Deathly Hallows 1!! The disrespect.
– NO PEEVES THE POLTERGEIST!!! This one feels silly. Sure, maybe he’s not like, a main character or anything, but to write him out of the film series entirely? Unnecessary. It would’ve been funny to see him causing mischief around the castle, even if it were just in the background.
Overall, the movie was obviously a huge success, and it’s cute to watch. Compared to the rest of them it just seems so juvenile (with the exception of Chamber of Secrets, which feels the same). I understand they’re a bunch of 11 year olds running around, and I’m sure kids everywhere love everything about this movie. Still, I stand by my ranking.
5. Goblet of Fire
Year Released – 2005
Director – Mike Newell
I think the problem I’ve had with finishing this gigantic blog stems solely from my unyielding anger about how the Goblet of Fire was portrayed on the big screen. Was it a good movie? Sure, yes. People love it. But…and here I am again…THE AMOUNT THAT WAS LEFT OUT???? Disgusting. Disturbing. Entire storylines that they had to smush into random points in the future films. The second largest book, 636 pages, DOUBLE that of its predecessor (Azkaban, 317 pages) and you’re going to tell me these two books have movies of the same length?? They didn’t have the idea to split important books into two movies until Deathly Hallows??? Unbelievable. Goblet of Fire should have been two movies, or at LEAST longer, without question. Mike Newell definitely did a better job with the tone of the movie than Chris Columbus, and I’m sure it’s safe to say most people LOVE this movie. If it didn’t exclude so much, it might be my favorite too. Before I rip apart what was missing, I’ll give credit where credit is due. The scenes that they DID include, they did right. The Quidditch World Cup looked awesome (despite the fact they showed none of the match itself), The Triwizard Tasks are excellent, even though the scene where the Dragon got loose from its shackles and chased Harry around the castle didn’t actually happen in the book. The Great Lake/merpeople were perfect, along with Harry figuring out his egg in the Prefect bathroom. The Yule Ball was also amazing, and being able to see these kids all teen-ed up going to a dance after watching them be straight up kids in the prior movies was a thrill. The introduction of romance!! The Maze (even though they left out half of the shit Harry had to face, like the blast-ended skrewt, the boggart and the Sphinx) and the Graveyard scene were all pretty much shot for shot. Still…this is the first movie I was truly disappointed in from a plot perspective. I don’t know how anyone who has only watched the movies can understand the storyline without all of the information left out.
Major Book/Movie complaints:
– The Quidditch World Cup – the best parts of the Cup during the book are when the squad gets to the campground and they walk around to see all of the fellow wizards showing out with their crazy magical tents and decorations. Apart from Hogwarts, we rarely get to see how the Wizarding World behaves in the wild, and this detail of Harry seeing so many wizards in one place at the same time is so exciting. They run into a ton of friends, they meet a bunch of crazy characters, it’s incredible. I’ll NEVER forgive them for cutting all of this out. On top of this, like I said, they didn’t even show the match at all. How can we talk about Ireland winning but Krum catching the snitch, without seeing any of it?? Also, ZERO Ludo Bagman in the movies. He even has an important moment later in the book, where we see him on trial in the Pensieve trying to clear his name with the Wizengamot, stating that he didn’t realize he had been accidentally helping Death Eaters.
– THE ABSENCE OF HOUSE ELVES. This might be more unforgivable than the lack of Quidditch World Cup footage. Apart from Dobby (and later, Kreacher) we don’t see House Elves at all. Winky, Barty Crouch Sr’s house elf, is a MAJOR character when it comes to telling the stories of the Crouches. She was cursed during the Quidditch World Cup, stealing Harry’s wand from his pocket in the Top Box at Barty Crouch Jr’s direction (later used to conjure the Dark Mark) AND she ended up working at Hogwarts with Dobby. We also never get into the fact that the Hogwarts Castle is essentially run entirely by House Elves (specifically the kitchens…missing an opportunity to show the Hogwarts KITCHENS COVERED IN HOUSE ELVES?) We never learn about S.P.E.W, Hermione’s movement to bring House Elves equal rights. I also strongly feel that the absence of House Elves create so many major plot holes in the rest of the films – nothing you would notice if you didn’t already know about it necessarily, but it makes the moments where they are clearly rushing details into the story more glaring.
– Dumbledore’s attitude. It’s terrible! He’s so mean to Harry for no reason! The DIDYOUPUTYOURNAMEINTHEGOBLETOFFIREEEEE from Dumbledore, while basically shaking Harry down was so insane. Dumbledore is supposed to be the only one 100% on Harry’s side, and in the movie he doesn’t look like that at all. New Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) didn’t start to act like Dumbledore should until the 5th movie IMO.
– The absence of Bill and Charlie Weasley. When Hagrid brings Harry to see the Dragons before the first task, it’s supposed to be Charlie Weasley who is a part of bringing them all to Hogwarts (a callback to him in the first book, which they also left out of the movie.) In addition, Bill Weasley comes with Mrs Weasley to watch Harry in the final task (throughout the books they talk about how handsome and cool Bill is.) He works for Gringotts as a spellbreaker, and when he comes to the champions tent to wish Harry good luck before the third task, this is when Fleur Delacour lays eyes on him for the first time. She later also gets a job at Gringotts, and they get married in the 7th book/movie.
– Harry’s relationship with Mad Eye Moody. In the movies, Moody looks sketchy from Day 1. He’s always gruff and rude to everyone, not very likable. In the books he’s everyone’s favorite wacko. They respect him, they trust him, they have NO IDEA what’s to come with the big reveal of him being Barty Crouch Jr.
– Barty Crouch/Barty Jr’s family details. The movies hurriedly explain how Barty Crouch Jr stayed alive despite being in Azkaban, but so much was left out about Barty Crouch himself. He’s hugely important to the Tournament, and they don’t even include him crawling out of the forest under the Imperius curse, attacking Viktor Krum before being mysteriously murdered!
– Not enough Rita Skeeter. The movies barely show her, when in reality she basically terrorized Harry and his friends in the press for MONTHS. A grown woman, taking shit about 14 year olds in the NEWS! Harry was painted as some fame-hungry kid, Hermione was slut shamed to the entire Wizarding world (or at least anyone reading The Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly,) she exposes Hagrid for being half-Giant, and of course, the big reveal of her being an unregistered Animagus (someone who can turn themselves into animals, in her case, a beetle) which explained how she knew tons of details about all of their personal lives.
– The absence of Percy Weasley (here, and in the rest of the movies). Percy being a sniveling suck up to Barty Crouch, working at the Ministry for the first time, being the most hated Weasley brother, eventually deserting his entire family (book 5) because he decides to side with the Ministry – I guess he’s not that important? But it feels insane to leave out an entire Weasley sibling and all of the betrayal he brought to his own family. We also don’t get any of the back and forth between Percy and Ron when Ron becomes a Prefect in Book 5 (more on this later.)
– How Harry arrived at The Burrow before the World Cup. I was SO DISAPPOINTED that this wasn’t included – in reality, Mrs Weasley had written to the Dursleys to ask their permission to pick Harry up from their home for the Cup. Mrs Weasley includes a million stamps, Ron writes to Harry (by owl) to let him know that the other letter is arriving “by Muggle post,” and Mr Weasley tries to connect 4 Privet Drive’s fireplace to the Floo network. When Arthur, Fred, George and Ron come to collect Harry, they are faced with a blocked fireplace and end up accidentally destroying the Dursley’s living room. In addition to this, one of the Weasley twins drops some of their prank candy on the floor for Dudley (a ton-tongue toffee), and his tongue grows four feet long. Hilarious stuff.
– Harry giving his Triwizard Winnings (a thousand galleons) to Fred and George to start their joke shop. This one was just stupid to leave out. Self explanatory, but that’s what happened, and they never showed it.
Lastly, and I’m happy to report because it must be said, that the majority of the world agrees Cedric Diggory was essentially useless. He was a Hufflepuff who would’ve died in the first task if not for Harry telling him exactly what he was about to face, he barely returned the favor about Harry’s egg, he needed Harry to save his ass in the maze, and he was killed in 2 seconds by Voldemort. A handsome guy? Yes. A talented wizard? Probably. A hero? Absolutely not. We were all heartbroken when he was killed, but he was, after all, just a Spare.
4. Order of the Phoenix
Year Released – 2007
Director – David Yates
I’ve heard enough from the peanut gallery (Twitter) to know that people hated this book AND movie. Truthfully, I would’ve ranked it below GoF if GoF didn’t make so many mistakes leaving out enormous chunks of the story. I actually liked this one, but I understand why people don’t. The longest book in the series, Order of the Phoenix is all about the extraneous details. The movie barely translates any of this, and at this point it becomes clear that the books are just too big to do the movies justice. (Still somehow nobody is thinking about double movie releases yet? Whatever.) David Yates takes over from Mike Newell to bring us the moodiest movie we’ve ever seen. The opening scene where Harry and Dudley are attacked by Dementors – well done. Harry arriving at 12 Grimmauld Place for the first time, also great. The Ministry hearing was awesome – our first real trip inside the Ministry of Magic, and it looks really cool (Great Scotland Yard is used as the set entryway for the Ministry.) Dolores Umbridge is fantastic too – Harry’s detention (I Must Not Tell Lies,) all of the rules Umbridge makes Filch nail to the walls, and Fred & George’s HUGE fireworks exit from the school with a big fuck you. “Dumbledore’s Army” in the Room of Requirement was basically perfect. The mass breakout from Azkaban, superb. The real reason I have this ranked where it is, is because of the fight scenes. Harry & crew taking on the Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries, Sirius black being murdered by Bellatrix Lestrange, and the final scene of Dumbledore dueling Voldemort are perfect. Specifically, Dumbledore putting Voldemort inside that giant ball of water? LOL. I legitimately laughed out loud at that. Voldemort BODIED by Dumbledore. Just completely embarrassed. The special effects are incredible, and we finally get to see the famous and powerful Dumbledore in action. I also love how much we see of Harry losing his temper at every moment possible. Screaming “LOOK AT ME!” and then having to do Occlumency lessons with Snape. Harry’s going THROUGH IT, and that reads crystal clear on the screen.
Major Book/Movie complaints:
– No trip to St Mungo’s Hospital. In the movie, after Arthur is attacked by Nagini the snake in the Department of Mysteries, Harry saves his life by alerting Dumbledore to what he’s seen. It then cuts to a beat up Arthur sitting at the head of the Christmas table at Grimmauld Place. Fine, but in doing this, they’ve removed a major part of the story – originally, Arthur is on the mend at St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries on Christmas, and the family + Harry and Hermione run into Neville Longbottom visiting his parents. We know from the beginning of the series that his parents are alive but unwell, after being tortured by Barty Crouch Jr, Bellatrix and Rodolfus Lestrange. This part of the book is incredibly sad; Neville is so lovable and sweet, and it hurts to know of him trying to make the most of his situation with his poor parents. I think leaving it out takes away from Neville’s character, which I’ve never felt was portrayed well enough in the films. #JUSTICEFORNEVILLE
– Not enough of 12 Grimmauld Place. They show a lot of it, but still, it doesn’t seem like enough. I’m pretty sure they don’t show ANY of them trying to “clean” the house – getting rid of the Doxie infestation, Molly Weasley trying to banish the boggart that keeps turning into her kids, dead on the ground – 12 Grimmauld Place is full of dark magic and it would’ve been cool to see them sweeping the place.
– RON AND HERMIONE BECOMING PREFECTS! What the fuck? Like, why would they not include this? The whole first half of the book is moody ass Harry catching L’s after having the worst summer of his life, post battling Voldemort/Cedric being killed. His two best friends are selected for this prestigious role in the school, Ron being a SHOCKING choice, and receiving his very own Cleansweep broomstick as a reward.
– NO QUIDDITCH! Ridiculous. Book 5 is where Ron becomes the Gryffindor Keeper, replacing Oliver Wood, and Harry isn’t at his tryouts. Harry, Fred and George also later get suspended from the team for beating up Malfoy after they play Slytherin, and Ron is the one who helps eventually bring the team to victory. They later make Ron the Keeper in the Half Blood Prince movie, Harry is the captain at the time. I don’t mind that they changed it so Harry would be there for his tryouts/first game, but its weird they took the season out entirely in Movie 5. Umbridge even tried to ban the whole Quidditch team from playing! While we’re on the topic, honestly, I have a major problem with how Ron is portrayed in the movies. There are a ton of opportunities where Ron looks great (and smart!) in the books, a truly important piece of their group, but in the movies? He’s just “the stupid best friend with dumb luck.”
– Leaving out the explanation of the two-way mirror. Sirius Black gives Harry a piece of this two way mirror, which eventually in the 7th book/movie quite literally saves Harry’s life (Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth is on the other end of it.) It’s eventually included, but we really have no idea where it came from.
3. Prisoner of Azkaban
Year Released – 2004
Director – Alfonso Cuaron
Here it is, the justice for Azkaban that you all asked for. Alfonso Cuaron tried his hand at this one after Chris Columbus was too much of a softie on the first two. This is the only movie he was involved with, but he did a good job. I very much enjoyed the movie more than the book. I think maybe, because I was young, it was harder to picture a lot of this book – the time turner stuff, the constant focus on Buckbeak, the Sirius Black twist – the movie took its time to really focus on the details and tell the story right. I was very obsessed with the Night Bus scene, Harry learning how to cast a Patronus, the Dementors were perfectly freaky. The Hufflepuff/Gryffindor game was intense, Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney was SO GREAT (I only just recently realized that was her. Insane I never noticed.)
Major Book/Movie complaints:
– Not enough Hogsmeade. In the movie they only go once, in the book they were constantly there. Lots of Harry running around in the secret passageways, it would’ve been cool to see more of that.
– Not enough Quidditch again. All they showed was the match against Hufflepuff where Harry fell off his broom because of the Dementors. They won the Quidditch Cup that year!!
Honestly, not too many complaints about this one. It was a good movie, it made me like the book a little more, and they did well on bringing it to life. Not my favorite, but definitely the most accurate after Deathly Hallows.
2. Half Blood Prince
Year Released – 2009
Director – David Yates
Get out your torches and pitchforks. I’m WELL AWARE that people aren’t going to agree with this ranking, but I am standing firm. Half Blood Prince is 100% the funniest, most salacious movie from top to bottom. David Yates is back as director with that darkness, sprinkled with the comedy and awkwardness we feel throughout the books as we watch these kids become adults and the world start to slowly burn around them. The film took two years to make, and I’m elated that they took the time for it. We finally get to see some personality – Ron is looking buff and is the new Gryffindor Keeper, Hermione is making out with Cormack McClaggan, we’re all crying tears of laughter at Aragog’s funeral with Slughorn, Harry and Hagrid. Visually, this movie was excellent. The destruction of Millennium Bridge and a deserted Diagon Alley (except for Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, of course) to start off the film help paint the picture of a world living in fear. A scene that was added, Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback coming to destroy the Burrow, I thought was a great idea to throw in a little extra fear, even though it wasn’t in the books. Truly, the reason I have this ranked so high, is the feeling of mixed excitement and dread this movie brings. I laugh out loud during so much of the dialogue, the feeling of anticipation is through the roof, and all of the puzzle pieces are finally fitting together. We get to watch Slughorn try to “collect” Harry, while we finally get a good long scene in a Potions class. Harry finding the Half Blood Prince’s potions book, pulling out a PERFECT Draft of Living Death potion to go on and win the Felix Felicis, “Liquid Luck.” I did like the incorporation of Harry’s fakeout of putting Liquid Luck inside Ron’s pumpkin juice before his first Quidditch match as Keeper. Confident Ron is weirdly hot, and it’s always great to see him get a W every once in a while. It was also nice to see Harry at the Burrow for Christmas. (Actually, the movies never really captured that feeling of Harry normally staying at Hogwarts during the holidays, the books always made it sound so fun and festive.) We have the drama of Ron dating Lavender Brown, Hermione being heartbroken about it, and Harry commiserating with her over his similar feelings towards Ginny. Other scenes done well, Katie Bell being bewitched by Malfoy to bring Dumbledore the cursed necklace, Ron accidentally eating the chocolates spiked with Love Potion by Romilda Vane meant for Harry, Ron almost dying from the poisoned Mead Slughorn had in his office (meant for Dumbledore), Ron choosing Hermione over Lavender in the Hospital Wing, Harry dueling Malfoy in the bathroom. We also get to see Harry and Ginny’s first kiss in the Room of Requirement, and of course, Harry and Dumbledore’s trip to The Cave from Voldemort’s memories (filmed at the Cliffs of Moher) to retrieve the next Horcrux. The special effects here, with the dark lake, the Inferi and Dumbledore coming back to consciousness – chef’s kiss. Topping off the movie with the supremely dramatic death of Dumbledore, executed by Snape… need I say any more?
Major Book/Movie complaints:
– The fight scene when Harry and Dumbledore return from the Cave/their Horcrux mission. Malfoy has gotten the Death Eaters into the castle, they are wreaking havoc when they all return. I get not including it with the huge Battle of Hogwarts on the horizon in Deathly Hallows. While all of this fighting is happening downstairs, Harry and Dumbledore are on top of the Astronomy tower, Dumbledore instructs Harry to hide, and uses a spell to freeze him in place so he will not get involved if Dumbledore faces his maker. In the movie, Harry trusts Dumbledore and doesn’t move on his own, even though he has the ability to do so.
– Dumbledore’s journey/story of him finding the ring at Voldemort’s mother’s house. I’m going to say this wasn’t even attempted to talk about in the movie. Harry is basically living in the Pensieve while Dumbledore tries to give him as much information as possible. We learn nothing of the Gaunt family at all, I don’t even think they utter the name. All we know was that the ring was cursed, affected Dumbledore’s hand, and was eventually destroyed. In reality we know that Dumbledore traveled to a shack to find Voldemort’s mother, a mentally ill witch, in order to obtain this object. Which, alone, was a shocking revelation as Voldemort is on record hating his own parents. But, because he’s a dramatic sentimental bitch who loves symbolism, he couldn’t stop himself from including his birthplace as a location for a piece of his soul.
– The explanation of Horcruxes/Voldemort Background Info. Did the movie do enough? I’m honestly asking that. I feel like I know the intimate details of Horcruxes from the book, as there are so many, and the movie quickly explained it with one memory from Professor Slughorn’s brain. I guess this is how it went in the books too? It feels like they didn’t really lay out how important they are until Deathly Hallows.
– Dumbledore’s Funeral. THE CONSTANT DISRESPECT! This was a HUGE emotional moment, a wizarding funeral for the most powerful wizard in the world, and a sort of twisted father figure to Harry. Zero reason in my mind that anyone would even suggest cutting this, and instead including all of the students putting their lit wands in the air while they surrounded Dumbledore’s body at the bottom of the Astronomy tower.
– Cornelius Fudge resigning, and having to alert the Muggle Prime Minister of Voldemort’s return. In Movie 5, they show a quick Daily Prophet headline about Fudge’s resignation, so I guess that clears that? But, Fudge going to talk to the Prime Minister was stupid to leave out. We’re always told about how the wizarding world stays in secret, and I for one had always wondered what would push them to the point of involving Muggles to advise them to keep safe. This exchange adds to the danger in a necessary way, and I would’ve liked to see both Ministers discussing magical matters.
1. Deathly Hallows (1 & 2)
Years Released – 2010/2011
Director – David Yates
To everyone who came for me because I didn’t rank these separately – who in their right mind doesn’t sit down and watch BOTH of these movies in one sitting? I don’t think its fair to judge them separately. One cannot exist without the other, therefore I have ranked them together. If Goblet of Fire came out with two movies, like they should have, I would be doing the same thing. These are two halves of one whole story – half build up, half finale. If you love action, you love Pt 2. If you love putting pieces together, you love Pt 1. Of course for the finale of the series we bring back superstar David Yates, who at this point has proven himself as the man to get it right. This is also the first film that JK Rowling herself was present in a Producer role, which I think has a LOT to do with how good it ended up. Sure, there were scenes that were slightly rushed, but in previous movies some of these details may have been cut out entirely. I’m willing to bet JK fought for a lot of it to stay included, resulting in the double feature. So much of this is perfection, I’m just going to do bullet points:
– The order members using Polyjuice potion to turn into Harry, the battle in the sky on the way to the Burrow
– Setting up for Bill and Fleur’s wedding
– Hermione’s extendible charm for her bag (this always blew my mind in the books, the volume of materials she shoved into that bag)
– Fighting the Death Eaters in the coffee shop
– Living in the woods
– Going undercover at the Ministry of Magic
– Ron destroying the Horcrux
– The Beatle the Bard story/animation about The Deathly Hallows (so cool)
– Malfoy Manor
– Dobby’s Death
– GRINGOTTS OMG
– Getting back to Hogwarts and preparing for battle
– Harry confronting Snape – “HOW DARE YOU STAND WHERE HE STOOD!”
– Snape’s death and the proof of his love for Lily (SOB)
– The HUGE Room of Requirement fire/them saving Malfoy
– All the battles, the meeting with Voldemort, Narcissa Malfoy lying to Voldemort
– NEVILLE KILLING THE SNAKE
– All the deaths (throughout the entire series, over 158 characters had died. Thats SO MANY DEATHS)
I’ve googled and cross referenced – with the exception of a few characters being left out (Andromeda and Ted Tonks, Harry and Hagrid actually land in their yard after they flee Privet Drive on the way to the Burrow) I have zero complaints about how these last two movies were done. Everything was perfect. Everything was wrapped up. The effects were unbelievable, the storyline was clear and detailed – a real 10/10 interpretation of the book.
And there we have it. My dissertation on Harry Potter. I didn’t expect to get so into this, but when I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. It’s so nice to feel passionate or complimentary of something, and this has been a lot of fun to break down. I hope you all can understand my reasonings!
Gryffindor Sun, Slytherin Moon, Ravenclaw Rising