Harry Potter was a staple for many of us in our childhood. While all of the movies and books have something to enjoy in them, some of the movies left something to be desired. As a fan of both the books and films, here are what I believe are the worst, and best, of the movie franchise.
8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Not only from a book perspective but also from a movie going perspective, this film is the worst of the Harry Potter franchise. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions, while adding a lot of unnecessary items such as the shrunken heads. They never explained who the Marauders actually were, which perhaps in the long run wouldn't have been the worst possible thing except that they called each other by their nicknames in the following movies. Why were they able to turn into animals? Why was Harry's patronis a stag? Why did he call it "Prongs" in subsequent films? It left many people confused and is one of the movies where you really do have to say "read the book".
7. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince
Another movie that falls under the "left a lot of the story out" category, this movie was really the one in the franchise that should have been split into two parts. Much of the story is based around how and why Voldemort became the way that he is today, however much of his back story is cut out. Many aspects were important, but the most important was the discussion of his parents. The reason why this is important is because this is where he gets his prejudice from as well as why he is orphaned, yet this is not even touched upon. The book explains each of the Horcruxes and why they were important, while only two were actually mentioned in the movie. And how were the Weasley twins able to build their joke shop when their family was poor? Why did Ginny and Harry kiss when they hadn't really had any relationship in any of the movies until then? Why did they burn down the Burrow? Again, if I hadn't read the books I would have felt as though I were missing something and a few of my friends did ask me to explain it afterwards.
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The movie felt a bit rushed at times, and while a lot of details did remain from the book, there were some confusing moments. Many things were brought up but randomly dropped with little to no explanation, such as Neville's parents or Harry's relationship with Cho Chang. Even considering all of this, it was a little more slow paced up until the end where Harry and his friends battle in the ministry, which I'll admit was nicely executed.
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This movie wasn't terribly executed. One of the longest books in the series, a lot of the movie was done well, bringing in all of the key elements in the book. While they did cut out one character, he wasn't needed to move the story along. The changes made from book to film made sense and kept the movie moving at steady pace, without having to remove anything that was detrimental to the movie or series as a whole.In that respect, it is one of the best films out of the series that accomplishes that. Also David Tennant is in it, which is awesome.
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One
While it was nice that we finally got a movie that was split into two parts, this was not neccesarily the one to do that with. A lot of the scenes dragged on longer than they needed to, and there were scenes added that just weren't necessary at all i.e. Harry and Hermione dancing in the tent. It was well shot though, and kept all of the gory scenes in, which was a welcome surprise. You see all the darkness with Voldemort making his presence known to Muggles, as well as Hermione and Harry constantly under attack. The snake scene at Godric's Hallow was the stuff of nightmares. It did drag on a bit, however, with it being mostly a camping movie. The scene with the telling of the three brothers was creative, though, and the action was memorable. However, the ending was jarring as they had made their way through 3/4 of the book to the point where I thought the "Part One" was just a joke. It was random, and was just an odd way to end the film.
3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
This movie was beautifully shot and well paced, with all the right elements of the book included and very little left out. One of Richard Harris' final films, we are given a soft spoken Dumbledore again who is looking out for Harry's best interest. The effects are simple and well done, from the Whomping Willow to the ghosts who make their final appearance until the final film. Bragnagh is hilarious as Professor Lockhart, with his cheesy grin and over-the-top demeanor, and the basilisk is just the right amount of scary. It also gives us one of the most memorable improvisations, with Lucius Malfoy turning to Harry and saying "Let us hope that Mister Potter will always be around to save the day" and Harry replying "Don't worry... I will be."
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two
While part one was dragged out with extra scenes and a lot of camping, part two was a good alternative. Though the Voldemort's dissolvement was an odd choice, the movie was amazingly shot and had all the best parts of the book. From Molly Wesley defeating Bellatrix, to Neville getting to chop off Nagini's head, to Harry getting carried back to Hogwarts in Hagrid's arms, this movie had all the right elements. It had you laughing and crying all at once. it was amazing to see it all come to life, with visuals that took your breath away and instances of humor that broke the tension. It was the final 1/4 of the book but it was treated well and not stilted like it's first half.
1. Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone
This movie is what finally brought us into the visual world of Harry Potter; that finally told us how to pronounce Hermione's name correctly and finally allowed us to see our favorite characters on screen. It opened the doors to Hogwarts and gave us bright eyed kids a new world in which we could witness both light and darkness. With perfect casting, amazing effects and a great directing choice in Chris Columbus, we felt as welcomed as Harry into this magical land. The film had a glow about it, with fires and lights everywhere so that we could feel comfortable and at home, a warmth that was missing in later films where they turned Hogwarts into a dark castle. It eased us into the darkness, and made us feel safe, even when faced with the most evil wizard of all time. It never left an important detail out, and gave us characters that we would grow up with. We left the theater feeling like Harry, in the sense that we "weren't going home. Not really."
We had discovered Hogwarts, and it was every bit as magical as we had dreamed it would be.
No matter what film or book you love, as J. K. Rowling said:
Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.