Wrapping Up The Harry Potter Revisit Project

A few weeks ago I threw myself into a careless project: Watching all six Harry Potter movies, AND writing reviews of each of them on this blog.

In case you're tuning in late to this, let me start with the links to the six reviews:


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)


As indicated by my original mission statement I haven't read any of the books, and I don't plan to. I have seen each of the six films once before, but I never really got into that whole Potter universe. So what interested me was giving the films another chance, and seeing how they would hold up, when they were watched very close to each other. It turns out that wasn't such a bad idea after all. I had a good time revisiting the films.

Knowing what to expect greatly improved the first two films, which I must admit I have been bad-mouthing for years. The third, the fourth, and the sixth were as good as I remembered, while the fifth one was every bit as awful as my initial viewing had branded it. But were the films more than the sum of their parts?

No, but they weren't less either.

Originally I didn't quite get where the films were heading. Watching them a year or two apart there was no clear course through the franchise, but this time I had a much better sense of the direction they were going.

An unexpected bonus, was an added appreciation for the differences in the films. Along the way I complained about some of the minor inconsistencies in the franchise, like Emma Watson's performance, and I'll stand by that. I also felt the young wizards' magic abilities varied from film to film, and that was a bit annoying. However, suddenly I could appreciate the big differences. The varying styles of directing, changes in cinematography and production design, and the fact that the actors were slowly growing up, all these factors actually helped the films. Compare the Potter franchise to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for example. The three Rings films look like one big movie. The look is the same, the actors are the same, everything is the same, and by the end of the third film, you'll be sick of it. Literally. The differences in the Potter movies kept them fresh, and I didn't realize this until I watched them a day or two apart.

Still, I would have liked if the producers had been able to secure some interesting, iconic directors to helm these movies. That would have added SO much to them. There was talk about Terry Gilliam at one point. Alfonso Cuarón wanted to return. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Kenneth Branagh, and Guillermo del Toro were also mentioned. They were all scared away, because the producers kept too tight a grip on the reins. What would Potter have looked like in some of these hands? I think Gilliam might actually have saved the fifth film! Imagine him tackling the bureaucracy, Brazil-style.

So did this experience transform me into a fully-fledged Potter fan?

No. I'm still not sold on the wizard universe, it all just seems a bit uncool to me, you know, like line-dancing or baggy pants. Plus, how cool can it be when parents can get into something, along with their kids?

What sells the franchise to me are the characters. Okay, Ron is best when he's standing quietly in the background, but Hermione and Harry have my full attention. Hermione, because she's cute, Harry, because his destiny and his past are interesting. These characters are the reason I want to see the next two films.


Award time! Gotta give a final shout-out to my favorite films and characters. Here we go:

Best film

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

No doubt. Not too long, tight story, great personal drama. Just a straight-up solid film.

Best Franchise Actor/Actress

Gary Oldman, as Sirius Black

Gotta go with with Oldman. His commitment to the character surprised me. He's just so good.

Best Guest Appearance

Kenneth Branagh, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Branagh is so damn funny! Be sure to watch Much Ado About Nothing (1993) as well, by the way. I only wish he'd shown up in more than one film, but so be it.

Most Fascinating Young Wizard in a Supporting Role

Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood

Luna. Definitely Luna. If there was a book series about her, I would read that. God, she's weird.

Best Scene

Harry and Dumbledore's secret mission in the dark cave, from Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

When you're playing with magic, when people can transform, disappear, rise from the dead, it's difficult to get a sense of danger. This scene is different. This scene chills me to the bone. And I genuinely feared for Harry and Dumbledore.


Well, that's it for the Potter-ness. Almost. Believe it or not, I'll be milking this project for one final Potter-ish blog (sort of), stay tuned for that one. I also think it could be fun to do this again with another series of film. Any suggestions? Post them below!

The future of the Potter franchise will bring us a massive two-part adaptation of the seventh and final novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'm actually going to try to catch that at the cinema. That's the plan.

Until then... I'm officially Potter'ed out.


Special thanks to Dennis Rosenfeld and Anne Petersen for their assistance during these trying times.


  1. Thanks for a great series of blogs. Funny and interesting.

    As per your request, I will now present you with a series of movie franchises which you could use for further blogs.

    Jaws: 1, 2, 3D, and IV
    Oh, yeah baby. That should be fun. Especially number 4 could make for an awesome blog post. In a very awful way of course.

    Die Hard: 1, 2, 3 and 4.0
    Now that's something you probably do once in a while anyway. Why not turn it into a blog.

    Trilogy of the Dead: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead
    This could be pretty sweet. If I recall correctly you haven't seen them, or at least not for a long time. Three very different films, but with a similar theme. What's not to like? Brilliant make-up effects to boot, btw.

    Star Wars: I, II, III, IV,V, and VI
    Muahahahaha. If you watch the three prequels in the same interval as you did the Potter films, there will be a prize for you my friend. An epic prize.

    That's it! For now anyway.
    Looking forward to your next blog.

  2. @Dennis J. Rosenfeld
    Sir, you are a friend... No, fiend! That's the word I was looking for! I accept your challenge! Jaws seems like the most inviting possibility right now!

  3. @David Bjerre
    Looking forward to that then. I will gladly watch the first three films with you. But the fourth one I picture you alone, hugging a pillow, weeping and begging for the pain to stop.

  4. @Dennis J. Rosenfeld
    It's a stuffed penguin I'll be hugging!

  5. @bitkid
    So good! That's a great idea!

  6. good wrap-up and to your question here's some franchises i think would be cool to do a blogathon about:
    Infernal Affairs (end with The Departed)
    Evil Dead
    The Man with No Name
    Ginger Snaps
    and yes, The Dead trilogy (or both of them new and old)

    if it's not locked by a franchise, marathons of ex. Guillermo Del Toro or Studio Gibli could also be awesome.

  7. "I hate, I hate, I hate ... Harry Potter."

    Dave, you are a stellar guy. Awesomeness wrapped in athletic youth.

    I agree to "Prisoner of Azkaban" being the best film, if a word such as "best" is indeed fitting when talking about Harry Potter.

    And as for Gary Oldman, he is always the best. I thought he should have been Oscar nominated for that H&M poster add he did 10 years ago. That sweater just looked ... mystical and enticing. I bought it. I had to have it. I couldn't live without it. For some reason, it just look like a gray lump of wool on me.

    Sadly, I do not care for Harry Potter but you are so thorough that one cannot help but being entertained and amazed.

    To quote Statler: "More! more!"

    Do James Bond, the whole nine yards. I dare you.

  8. @gagathemovies
    Great ideas! As for Infernal Affairs, I have actually reviewed those already! They can be found on my Asian Cinema website: http://www.shuqi.org/asiancinema/review-index.shtml

    That's funny dude!
    James Bond? That is one nasty challenge! I'll have to think long and hard about this.