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Harry Potter Movies Ranked in Descending Order

Harry Potter is one of the most successful book franchises of all time, so it was pretty much a given that Hollywood would turn them into movies, and that’s what Warner Bros. did. I’ve watched them (multiple times), and now I’ve ranked them in descending order.

#8: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The sixth book became the worst movie for a variety of reasons, but the biggest problem is that it’s boring as fuck. The book was mostly exposition and setup for the final installment, and nothing that exciting happens. And as a result, nothing that exciting happens in the movie.  It loses all the momentum that the series was building up. You go from Goblet of Fire to Order of the Phoenix and suddenly everything slows down. It’s huge step backwards.

            #7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. The final book was split into a two-part movie because there would be no satisfactory way to wrap up the series in a 2-hour movie. And because they would make a shitload more money. You don’t really need to see this movie; it’s mostly just Harry, Hermione, and Ron hiding in the woods for the duration of the running time. You might like it if you’re a fan of wizard camping. It’s slightly less boring than Half-Blood Prince, which is why it’s slightly higher up on the list. But not by much. I actually own all the Harry Potter movies, except for this one. It’s not essential viewing.

#6: Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone. The first Harry Potter movie deserves a lot of credit for introducing the Boy Who Lived to the big screen. But it’s too much of a kid’s movie. It’s too light, too family friendly, and it has the worst acting and special effects in the whole series. Some parts are truly painful to watch.

#5: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This is one of the most loyal adaptations in the series, and it’s almost a direct translation of the book. The special effects and acting have only slightly approved over the first movie, and it’s still a children’s movie. The basilisk scene is one of the highlights of the first two movies, but I really hate the flying car scene (especially when Harry falls out of the car for no fucking reason other than to add unnecessary tension).

            #4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. There was a lot of internal debate from the studio about breaking up Goblet of Fire into two movies because the book was so long. They decided not to, and the movie suffers as a result. It’s too incomplete and leaves too much stuff out. It’s really annoying when they go to the Quidditch World Cup but they don’t show any fucking Quidditch. Or omitting most of the cool shit that happens during the final task in the maze. And they eliminate the mystery by practically telling you that Mad-Eye Moody is really Barty Crouch, Jr. The biggest redeeming qualities of this flick are the scenes with the Hungarian Horntail and the graveyard return of Voldemort.

#3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. This is the epic conclusion to the HP saga and they do it right. Everything comes down to this, and the bulk of the film happens during one long day. The special effects, the acting, the action sequences are all amazing. It’s a roller coaster ride, and you don’t want it to end and then it does, and then you realize you have nothing else to look forward to. There are no more books to read, no more movies to watch, and a part of your life is over when the movie is over.

#2: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This was the longest book and it became one of the shortest movies in the series. They leave a lot out. But they capture the tone and feel of the book. Whenever they leave something out, they still allude to it. The movie flows and it works. Gary Oldman doesn’t get much screen time as Sirius Black, but makes his presence known with a few key scenes and subtle dialog with Harry. The battle at the Ministry of Magic was everything you hoped it would be. And the epic fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort is one of the best moments of the entire series. I will put on the movie just to watch that part.

            #1: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This was the movie that inspired me to finally read the books. It’s not perfect, but I still think it’s better than its bookly counterpart. I don’t like the whole time travelling subplot, but the film handles it better than the book. And it’s not the movie’s fault that the book had a stupid time travelling shtick. Alfonso Cuarón is responsible for the best movie in the franchise. He successfully turned a kid’s book into an art house blockbuster. He was able to take Chris Columbus’ foundation and J.K. Rowling’s book and delivered a faithful translation to the source material, but he still able to make it his own. You can enjoy the film even if you aren’t a Potter fan.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Harry Potter Books Ranked in Descending Order

Harry Potter is awesome, but some of the books are better than others. Here is my Critically Rated Harry Potter countdown.

#7: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This is the second book and it’s a little bit darker than the first one, but it’s still a kid’s book at this point. Voldemort is in it, but it’s just a teenaged version of him that was trapped in a diary. He’s not that formidable, and he hasn’t returned to power yet. It might not deserve to be the worst one, but I’ve got to start somewhere.

            #6: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone. This is the book that started it all. First time readers might be amazed by how innocent Harry Potter is. He doesn’t know anything about being a wizard and he gets introduced to a magical world and we get to explore it with him. It sets everything up, it introduces a lot of the main characters in the HP universe. It transcends being a mere kid’s book, but it’s still a kid’s book.

#5: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is a dark story, but it’s still a kid’s book. You start to see the potential of Harry Potter. You have the Dementors and the main introduction of Sirius Black. Voldemort is not the main threat, and they have a ridiculous time traveling subplot that takes away from the overall quality of the third installment.

#4: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The sixth book is just a set-up for the seventh book, and it’s pretty apparent upon reading it. Nothing much happens, except for a lot of backstory about Voldemort and the fact that Dumbledore dies. It seems like a step back in the series and it is.

            #3: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is the book where you learn how vast and expansive the Wizarding World is. You catch a glimpse of the Quidditch World Cup, you get to meet students from other wizard schools, and you start to see how Harry is different from his peers. Plus Voldemort returns to power and the series shifts into a darker gear.

#2: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This is the fifth book and the longest one of the series. J.K. Rowling goes into great depth and Harry accomplishes a lot in this book. He steps up, he’s actively trying to defeat Voldemort. He’s pretty much accepted his fate at this point. He realizes that he’s done more than most, and he starts to pass off what he’s learned to his fellow students. He becomes a force to be reckoned with, as evidenced by the battle at the Ministry of Magic. The book is highlighted by the epic battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort.

            #1: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This is the final installment of the HP series and a beyond-satisfying conclusion to the saga. It goes back to the beginning and reminds you about everything you love about Harry Potter. It answers all the questions and wraps everything up in a pretty little package. The last book provides the most answers, and when you finish reading it, you don’t regret anything about sacrificing a good portion of your life following the exploits of a fictional character.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)

David Yates returns to direct his second film in the Potter Franchise, the second director to do so. This is the final film where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are students at Hogwarts, and they spend a lot of time doing school activities. A much slower film than the other ones, this is setting the foundation for the Deathly Hallows adaptation.

Warner Bros. really dropped the ball with this installment. They pushed back its release date from November 2008 to July 2009, because the Dark Knight made a billion dollars and they didn’t need any more revenue in 2008. Not only did Potter fans have to wait an extra 8 months, but the studio heavily promoted Half-Blood Prince as being in IMAX 3D. The first twenty minutes were in 3D. The first twenty minutes only. You don’t even see Hogwarts in 3D. Lame, lame, lame…. Especially since Order of the Phoenix had such an amazing 3D climax. How can you do 3D so perfectly and than butcher it so drastically in the very next film?

There is a lot of emphasis of student life in this movie. There are the usual bits with Harry riding the Hogwarts Express with Ron and Hermione and stuff, but they also show the students lounging around in the dorm. They do more homework and classwork than in the last few films. Quidditch makes a glorious return. Hogwarts itself feels like another character.

This movie is more character driven than Potter 4 and 5. It feels more like Azkaban, but with less action. It is a dark story, but is lighter than the book. There are a few nitpicky criticisms that I have. Like why do they cut so much out but add totally made up events that have no impact on the story? There was no reason to have the Burrow attacked and burned down by the Death Eaters. There was no mention of it later on in the Deathly Hallows; it was just completely unnecessary. Even worse than adding unimportant events is adding unimportant characters. Sorry cute black Muggle coffee shop chick, but you suck and we could have used some Dobby time instead of you. How come Harry and Ginny barely kissed but Harry and Cho made out for about 35 minutes in Order of the Phoenix?

The whole movie is kind of a step in the wrong direction. It is really slow and some parts are down right boring. The book was kind of like that too, but they could have found some momentum in the story. Michael Gambon’s final few scenes as Dumbledore were performed well. Dumbledore looks so tired and weakened after the cave and inferi sequence, it is almost a relief to see him pass on. One of the weakest films in the franchise, but you are still going to watch it multiple times. A bad Harry Potter film is like a bad beer… it’s not really bad, its just there are way better ones out there.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (book)

Harry, Ron, and Hermione are back at Hogwarts for their sixth year, and the sixth book is the darkest one yet. Voldemort is steadily gaining power, and even the Muggle world is starting to be effected by him. The war is coming, and Dumbledore knows isn’t going to be around much longer, so he starts to prepare Harry for what lies ahead.

Voldemort is still the main antagonist, but he isn’t physically present in this installment, he only appears in flashbacks in the Pensieve. Dumbledore and Harry explore memories that people have of Voldemort in order to gain insight as to defeat him. Dumbledore’s theory is that Voldemort has been creating Horcruxes to cheat death. Harry must figure out what items Voldy used to create the Horcruxes and he must find a way to destroy them.

Professor Horace Slughorn is a fun new character. Dumbledore convinces him to come out of retirement and resume his old position as the Potions teacher. Slughorn is the Head of Slytherin House. He has all the attributes of a typical Slytherin: he is a cunning, ambitious leader who enjoys power. He collects students that have potential, and uses his contacts from the “Slug Club” to improve his own status in life. He is a little bigoted, but he still can see past one’s blood status. Most Slug Club members are pure blood, but Lily and Hermione were still recruited, and Lily was his favorite student.

There isn’t as much of a mystery plot in this story. They spend some time trying to figure out what Malfoy is up to, and they also try to discover who the Half-Blood Prince is. A lot of time is dedicated to showing student life at Hogwarts. Ron gets a girlfriend and Hermione gets jealous and they have stop hanging out for a while. Harry develops feeling for Ginny and is torn between his heart and loyalty to his best friend. It seems like J.K. Rowling is setting everything up for the final book.

SPOILER ALERT: So Dumbledore dies at the end of this one. And now Harry is in control of his fate, he doesn’t have anyone to guide him anymore.  He doesn’t have Sirius or Dumbledore to ask advice. He’s not alone, he still has Ron and Hermione, but he knows that it is time to face Voldemort.

You find out at the end that Snape is the Half-Blood Prince. The book is basically called Harry Potter and Snape. J.K. does a tremendous job handling Snape’s moral ambiguity. You can never tell if he is good or evil, or which side he is on. The final reveal of his character in the Deathly Hallows would not have worked without his depiction in this book.

This book is much slower than the previous entries to the series. It’s more reflective and a character study than an exciting book about a wizard war. It’s the calm before the storm. A very important step before all Hell breaks loose.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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