Saturday, July 16, 2011

Which is the best Harry Potter film? (300×300)
Now that the "Harry Potter" saga has come to a close, I present my personal ranking of each movie, from worst to first.
8. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" — Even at its low point the "Potter" films still have a certain charm, but this lightweight affair has little going for it other than a fun turn by Kenneth Branagh as narcissistic professor Gilderoy Lockhart.
7. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" — Gets points for being the first movie in the series, loses points for having an identical plot structure as "Star Wars" and for director Chris Columbus (who also directed "Chamber of Secrets"). When Columbus walked away from the series it turned out to be a blessing as his "gee-whiz" directorial style would have played poorly as the kids — and the themes — grew up.
6. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" — This fifth entry in the series was the book that translated the poorest to the screen and showed that while director David Yates (who helmed the last four films) was capable of presenting the material, he wasn't going to be pushing it to any higher levels of greatness.
5. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" — Basically a repeat of "Order of the Phoenix," except Dumbledore dies at the end. As far as advancing the plot is concerned, we probably could have just combined the two movies and called it "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Filler."
4. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" — A fitting final chapter with all the strengths and weaknesses of the series on display. Right at home in the middle of this list.
3. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" — Even though this counterpart to the grand finale doesn't really answer any questions, I actually preferred its moody and atmospheric tone to the flash and bang of "Part 2." This is the first time we realize that our trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione are all grown up; they are on their own, on the run and fighting their own battles.
2. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" — When director Alfonso Cuaron took over for Columbus he revolutionized the series. He pushed the boundaries of the material, introduced a new visual style and got the best, possible performances out of his young cast. This was the moment the series went from blockbuster distraction, to something with a lot more heart and depth. Plus it featured time travel and Gary Oldman to boot. What's not to love?
1. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" — In his only effort, director Mike Newell delivered the very best "Harry Potter" film by doing everything Curaon did, only with meatier material. With the Tri-Wizard Tournament as the film's backdrop we get a focused plot and the debut (finally!) of Ralph Fiennes vamping it up as the supremely evil Lord Voldemort. The movie climaxes with the series' first major casualty with the zapping of Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson, who would later awake to find himself playing a vampire in significantly worse movies). It is at this point that it becomes clear that the "Harry Potter" saga is playing for keeps and that our little wizards are going to have to grow up — and fast.


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