Last month I went on a journey through the Wizarding World, J.K Rowling’s vast and epic world of witches and wizards is a true phenomenon.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was a great way to get me hooked on this world, the film introduces Hogwarts and the main characters Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger perfectly. Of course, we also have the standout Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid and Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall. The pacing is great for this just over 2 and a half-hour film with so many magical moments. Even this early the acting from Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as the main trio is quite good. This film by Chris Columbus is a good start to the franchise, well enough directed. Though it has some shaky CGI, that is understandable given the film is now two decades old!
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets expands on the lore of the first one with a great mystery element added for added suspense. This film feels slightly more bloated than the original with a runtime of 2 hours and 40 minutes, but most of the ride is just as good and the CGI even one year later looks like it improved quite a bit.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is an amazing and thrilling entry into the series with a look at the terrifying Dementors, guards of Azkaban, to the exquisite direction from Alfonso Cuarón. It was also a very nice surprise to see Dawn French make a short cameo as The Fat Lady. The spider CGI continues to be terrifying to anyone who has arachnophobia (i.e. me).
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire feels a lot shorter than it actually is, with a runtime of 2 hours and 37 minutes, but the framing of the Triwizard Tournament is really interesting and we get to see Ralph Finnes as Voldermort for the first time. But, it does seem a bit messier than the last entry with less solid directing from Mike Newell with the structure of the film being a bit wonky. It still manages to be a very fun and engaging watch thanks to the very interesting tournament.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix feels like a stepping stone movie, the plot is focused on preparing everyone for the battle to come in the last three films, but it makes the plot seem a bit more like a filler episode in a TV show. David Yates takes the helm for the first time here, as he will for all the last four films in the main Harry Potter story. It is still a fun film to watch, it explores themes of helplessness as a child when adults around them won’t do anything or just outright deny the danger that will face them. A big positive here is the shorter runtime of 2 hours 18 minutes, the shortest so far, given its filler staus it makes sense.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this film sets up the next chapter really well with Professor Snape being fleshed out even more and the battleground and stakes made even more clear before the epic finale.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and 2 is the conclusion that ties up all the loose ends and in an explosive and epic fashion too! The second to last film sets up an unbeatable challenger in Lord Voldemort and sets up the finale’s Battle of Hogwarts really well. Everyone shows up for the final film and does an amazing job. The trio are tested in many ways. A very satisfying closing chapter.
My Harry Potter journey ended with the 2022 reunion, Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts was a brilliant interview film with cast members, one of the best scenes being between Daniel Radcliffe and Helena Bonham Carter. There was also some great behind the scenes footage shown which adds a lot of backstory to the making of these films.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)