Thursday, July 14, 2011

Top 7: "Harry Potter" Movies

While this list is not complete, I like to do this before every Harry Potter movie to see where all of the movies sit from my least favorite to my favorite. As with each new installment, I always hope that it becomes my favorite, but as you will see as we get further in this list, and I rave about almost each installment, there is a ton of heavy lifting for Deathly Hallows - Part 2 to do in order to usurp my numero uno. All of these movies are of A- to A+ quality. Only one of these movies garnered an A- rating from me, and if you guessed that it is my number seven entry, you're right, as all of the other six have A+ ratings. So as the end is near, I still try to hold on to these movies as much as possible with this list from the weakest to the best of the Harry Potter movies. (P.S. For fun you should try comparing this list to those of my seven favorite books in the series. It's kind of interesting.) On with the list:

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Director David Yates' first foray into the wizarding world lacks the sense of adventure and just overall fun that the four installments before it had. While the story is a great, character centric piece focusing on Harry, it focuses only on Harry, and these stories are far bigger on the entire wizarding scale than just the boy wizard, and only certain moments hint at the larger picture going on in the world. Plus, when the longest book turns into the shortest movie, you know much was lost in translation. Regardless, it's a great character study that is serviceable to the series.

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010)

Without Part 2, this installment kind of feels lost in limbo on this list. The questions unanswered by Part 1, if answered in Part 2, may jump this individual entry higher up on the list. Regardless, this particular movie was highly entertaining, and as a fan, to see the lengths that the filmmakers took to remain faithful to the book, was extremely impressive. While this movie focuses on some of the more slowly moving pieces from the seventh and final book, this movie changes the characters into full fledged adults over its course and leaves all of the adventure and excitement for the final movie. As it is, this is just a pure set up for the real finale, but set ups don't get much more awesome than this.

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

This is the crowd-pleaser of the series. No other installment has as much action or adventure as this individual installment, and it also may just be the funniest movie of the lot, with Rowling's quirky sense of humor in full swing during the Yule Ball sequence near the middle of the movie. While the movie cuts alot from the book, the thriller sensibilities that director Mike Newell injects in this epic story cut from the same cloth as The Lord of the Rings, is superb, allowing the emotional beats to be truly spine tingling.

4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

In terms of faithfulness to the book, no other entry is as faithful. Very little, if anything was cut or changed, making this an almost literal adaptation of the book, which also hurts this simple mystery adventure when you realize that it is the longest of the Potter movies and has the least to say in the grand scheme of things. Even so, as a fan I love seeing how literal this installment is, and I adore Kenneth Branagh's take as my favorite Hogwarts teacher, pompous Gilderoy Lockhart.

3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Director David Yates fixes the problems from the fifth installment, and gives nice character and relational developments to each and every member of the cast. As well, the action is exhilarating, and the filmmakers actually went on a limb, and this was the first time in all of the movies that it felt as if the filmmakers weren't simply changing, cutting, or adding anything just because, but they did it all because they were trying to make their own vision. This isn't a literal adaptation of the book, it is David Yates' cinematic interpretation, and when seen as such, one can be moved and thrilled by its awesomeness.

2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Cinema maverick, Alfonso Cuaron, left an indelible mark while directing this installment of the franchise. Cuaron got to the core of these three main characters more so than any other director in the series. Never did you understand, Harry, Ron, or Hermione, more so than in any other movie. Cuaron explored these characters and added little beats in the actor's performances, such as simple reactions to what the other was doing, that no other director went to such detail to enliven Rowling's story. While the movie cuts alot, Cuaron's assuredness in direction and in his vision is seen in every frame of this movie. It may not be the most literal adaptation, but as a movie, it may just be the best made film of the series.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

So how could I call Azkaban the best made film, but still call director Chris Columbus's first entry to the series my personal favorite, simply because it is. From a filmmaking standpoint, the direction is more artsy in Azkaban, but the entertainment value, the emotion, the popcorn thrills, are so great in this installment it makes it different than any of the other six movies. This is the only Harry Potter movie that can be watched on its own without watching any other, like the original Star Wars, this movie is simple, straightforward, and not the most artistic of the bunch, but it is the most fun, the most rewatchable, and the one that I find myself saying if I could only ever see one Harry Potter movie again for the rest of my life, this would be it. On a sentimental level, this is the Harry Potter movie that moves me the most, and it is one of those few movies in general that I can watch and not actually feel like a critic and a filmmaker, and just feel like a fan of movies. It is quintessential Harry Potter, and I love it so deeply I can't rave about it enough.

1 comment:

  1. I don’t think Harry Potter movies require any review still I want to say I love all the parts of Harry Potter series. My personal favorite is the last part. They store the best for the last. I really going to miss its characters and story. Excellent movies!