The best of the middle Harry Potter films, in descending order.
Sometimes, the humour just doesn’t work and sometimes it’s borderline. And then, maybe once or twice, hits the spot. More than that, I was expecting what may happen between Harry Potter and the sinister Draco Malfoy, a nasty piece of work (he may push your buttons). Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) didn’t nail it for me when it went off into other directions I wasn’t expecting. However, Half-Blood Prince has a strange way of drawing one in, as subtle as it is. 7.0/10.0
As I see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) it’s about the choices one must make between good and evil. It’s a good theme in a film that isn’t stunning but is still good enough. Harry is warned by an elf not to go back to the Hogwarts School of Wizards and Witchcraft because of strange disturbances there. However, Harry goes, and along with his two friends, Ron and Hermione, attempt to find out what lies in the chamber of secrets, which was opened 50 years earlier to chaos. Despite a maze-like story, there is a spectacular finale, which is ultimately satisfying and uplifting. The visual effects are believable fantasy pictorials in which the first half is punctuated with some spectacle – flying cars, agile trees, and situations of danger. 8.0/10.0
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) is the best because it is focused. The screenwriter is the same one who wrote previous episodes, which were quite fuzzy, but it sticks to the story this time. The ballroom scenes and other “romantic” moments flex light humour into adolescent and adult courting (Hagrid anyone?). Harry is chosen by the goblet of fire to compete with three older children for eternal glory. I was wondering if getting eternal glory would somehow finish with less exertion, rather than trying to work for it, alas not. Rather than accomplish eternal glory, one can ask how does one receive eternal life? Otherwise: 8.0/10.0
The worst of the middle Harry Potter films, in descending order
More serious than other Harry Potter stories before it, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) involves Harry’s dreams, conflict with the establishment (the ‘Ministry of Magic’) and challenging his classmates to join forces against the Ralph Fiennes villain, which leads to an awe-inspiring visual effects finale not to be beat. They could have made the story involving when there is an internal battle in Harry between “good and evil”. While Harry’s trouble comes to the surface, Hogwarts is under threat, and Harry is set to grow in future Potter films. He is still emotionally immature. And he must grow despite the darkness. I like what Harry says. It looks to the future in a positive vein: At least we (the good guys) have something to fight for. (Evil) Voldemort doesn’t. However, a weak entry otherwise. 4.0/10.0
Harry is in another spot of bother in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), the boy wizard is under pressure from murderer Sirius Black. Black is on the loose from Azkaban prison supposedly hunting for Harry. In this one, Harry’s learning to face his fears and conquer them. However, something more needs to happen next time around. Is that all I asked? More story development would do nicely. Something more interesting needs to happen to Harry, his friends, and the story. Live animated paintings on walls, invisible horsemen, a half-breed bird/horse which carries Harry across a lake in a magnificently picturesque scene, and transformations of humans into creatures, are not enough. 4.0/10.0
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows could have been easily condensed into one movie. Combining Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1’s last half hour to what will follow would have made for more entertainment through a single film. The deft special visual effects of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (2010) and a touch of action are the best bits early on, but it’s a long stretch when Harry, Ron and Hermione break from searching for Voldemort’s horcruxes (in a quest to weaken him). It may keep die-hard fans interested in the developing relationships between the three friends, especially when Ron Weasley’s usually cool temper takes a turn for the worse. In the end, it could have been all done and dusted in this film rather than waiting for the second part (which otherwise was quite good in itself). 1.0/10.0