It has finally come to an end. One of the greatest fantasy tales of our time has been finished. For over a decade people across the globe have been following the adventures of the boy wizard known as Harry Potter. His story was the classic retelling of good versus evil, in a world that lies hidden from us.
The first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the UK) is literally the film that started it all. It tells of how Harry Potter, an orphan living with his cruel aunt and uncle, learns that he is a wizard and is admitted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn more about magic. Here, he makes friends and enemies, and has to stop a dark wizard from obtaining an item of great power. I just loved this movie when it came out. After reading the book, I felt like that the people who made the movie took what I saw in my mind and brought it to the big screen. The effects were so incredible that I believed they were real.
The second film in the series brings Harry back to school after a terrible summer back home. However, Hogwarts is not the same as Harry remembers. Someone has opened a place of legend within the school, and students are mysteriously being petrified. With accusations coming from everyone, Harry must uncover an ancient mystery of the castle and stop the evil that lurks within the Chamber of Secrets. This movie built up from the first film, adding more to the magic of the series. The creatures in this movie looked so real it was like they were going to come off the screen and into the theater. Again, I was captured by the magic.
The third film in the series was clearly a big success. This film reveals more about Harry's past as a criminal escapes from the most secure prison in the wizarding world, Azkaban. The wizard-in-training (or in this case, studying) is believed to be this man's target, as his parents were betrayed by him. However, unbeknown to everyone, there lies a traitor among the friends. This film completely changed the landscape of Hogwarts. Hagrid's hut is moved to the bottom of a hill, the Whomping Willow is not so close to the school, and we get a glimpse of the town of Hogsmeade. Harry's hair is more messed up than in previous films, and students don't stay in their school uniforms all the time. The director also added stuff in from Mexican culture, like the eagle versus snake statues and the candy skulls in Honeydukes. My impression with this film was that they made it more realistic. This movie starts to move more into the darkness of J.K. Rowling's world. At Hogwarts the students are joined by the schools of Durmstrang Institute of Magical Learning and Beauxbaxton's Academy of Magic for the Triwizard Tournament, which has not taken place for a century. Each school is represented by a champion chosen by the mystical Goblet of Fire, but things go wrong when Harry is chosen as the Fourth Champion even though he is underage. While competing in the tournament, Harry and his friends must find out who put his name into the Goblet of Fire, and why. It was cool to see other magical schools in this world and the characters continue to feel like their literary sources. However, I was disappointed when they took the magical creatures out of the maze and just made it a bunch of creepy hedges. I was really looking forward to seeing the Sphinx. Still, I enjoyed the movie's story and how they brought the Triwizard tournament to life.
The fifth film in this series takes a more darker turn as it shows the imperfections of the Ministry of Magic. Harry is put at odds with the rest of the Wizarding World because Cornelius Fudge has been running a propaganda against Harry and Dumbledore because they claim that Voldemort has returned. What's more, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher refuses to teach them magic because she works for Fudge, and she tortures Harry and his friends for telling the truth. Harry and his friends band together with the other students of Hogwarts to teach themselves how to defend themselves and uncover the truth of why Voldemort tried to kill Harry all those years ago. This movie was kind of disappointing to me. It seemed to be more focused on the newspaper headlines than the actual story. The film doesn't really show the effect of the undermining Education Decrees, but it makes it perfectly clear that they usurp the school's power and authority to Umbridge. Harry's hair was also too short in this movie. Nevertheless, this movie is important to the series because it shows the true strength of Harry and his friends.
Quite literally the beginning of the end. This movie shows Harry and his friends continuing their education while Voldemort and his Death Eaters terrorize the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. While Harry's friends experience complications with their feelings to one another, Harry is determined to prove that his rival Draco Malfoy has become a Death Eater and is planning something terrible. Dumbledore shows Harry memories of a boy known as Tom Riddle, who eventually became Voldemort. Dumbledore is determined to get all memories pertaining to him as they could hold the key to the downfall of Voldemort. I can see that they really tried in this movie to have a perfect equilibrium of romance and action in this movie, but they didn't quite make it. The movie felt like it leaned more towards the romance than the action. Still, they should get an A for effort (or A for Acceptable, as grades at Hogwarts go).
One of the most eagerly awaited movies yet. This movie was the part of the finale to the epic tale. In this film, Harry, Ron, and Hermoine have to leave their families behind to find the horcruxes, which are keeping Voldemort alive. Unfortunately they have no idea what these items are, because they could be anything. Another complication arrives when they realize that they have no way to destroy the horcruxes because every spell they cast does nothing. Meanwhile Voldemort has taken over the Wizarding World, and has made Harry the Number 1 Undersirable (basically the World's Most Wanted). Old faces return in this movie and the race for the fate of the world does not look good. I was glad when they split the movie up into two parts because that meant that they weren't going to try to cram everything into one movie. They did a good job in this movie with bringing the book to life. The Anti-Muggle move felt depressing like it should've and the acting felt real. I was pleased with the results of this film.
We have come to the end of this tale. This film is the conclusion to one of the greatest series ever told. Harry and his friends are continuing their quest for the horcruxes, but have to return to Hogwarts as Voldemort is on his way there. One of the biggest battles of the millennium begins as Death Eaters and the people of Hogwarts clash to decide the fate of the world. I don't want to reveal too much because the movie only came out today, but I will say that the battle is epic and not one you want to miss.
I went to the midnight premiere of this movie, and the lines were extremely long. There were crowds outside just waiting to get inside, and the inside was packed tighter than a can of sardines! I saw that several people had dressed up as characters from the movies. I saw several Bellatrixes, a couple of Fawkes (through they looked more like yellow chickens), a Hedwig, a Dobby, Hermoine, Harry, Draco, Umbridge, Mad-Eye, even Voldemort! It was incredible at how much of a fandom the series had. I probably would've dressed up as Harry if I had time, but I didn't. I just had to grab a stick to use as a wand. It was so good to be able to be there as soon as the movie came into theaters. Now I doubt anyone knows what's going to happen. I think it is clear that the world will always love Harry Potter.
My overall impression with this series is amazing. This was one of the biggest projects I think any movie company has ever taken. They managed to adapt every book in a series and turn them into films which have done incredible at theaters. Most companies wouldn't have gone the lengths Warner Bros. did to bring every book to life. They succeeded to create an epic series that many people across the world have grown up on. I don't think any movie collection would be complete without the Harry Potter series. Of course, it's sad to know that there won't be any more films in this series. Oh well. That means that now we can look for the next epic series to follow. I'm sure that many people will be content with this series, but should someone attempt to do a reboot, they have their work cut out for them. I don't think that such a project will ever happen, but only time will tell.