“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone” turns twenty later this year in November and as a way to celebrate the unforgettable story of Boy Who Lived, here’s my personal raking of every single one of the movies in the saga.
8 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: D-
The Bad: Lacks originality and was it terribly rushed. Gone is the Quidditch Cup match between the Irish and the Bulgarians, for example, and characters like Dumbledore felt completely different from their book counterpart. Alfonso Cuaron’s departure from the franchise was a great loss.
The Good: Most of the visual effects, from the dragons to the underwater scene felt very real. The entire third act was very strong and emotional.
7 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: D
The Bad: Unnecessarily simple, childish and doesn’t expend on the marvelous work Chris Columbus himself did in the first movie. Additionally, the visual effects are awful.
The Good: Rupert Grint performance as Ron Weasley makes the whole difference. Grint is a comedic genius and singlehanded saves the movie from becoming unmemorable.
6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: C-
The Bad: Extremely disappointing, as it leaves out some of the most exciting and emotional parts of the story as told by the book. Sometimes rushed and disconnected, the script does a bad job helping viewers the importance of the events.
The Good: Some of the risks taken paid off. The much darker tone, the depiction of Draco’s arc and the battle between Harry and Ginny vs. Bellatrix enriched the story and made it very interesting to watch.
5 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: C
The Bad: It overlooks the final Battle of Hogwarts, giving viewers just glimpses into casualties and the combat itself. It also lacks memorable shots, and even the death of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange felt greatly downplayed.
The Good: The final movie packs everything it can into a dynamic 130-minute conclusion to the franchise. David Yates shows once again why he was just the right filmmaker to command the final four movies and that he understood the world of Harry Potter almost as well as its creator.
4 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: B-
The Bad: There’s something odd about this movie that just doesn’t seem like part of the saga. However, that’s mostly a problem with the book that got translated into the movie.
The Good: Great action scenes and the cinematography is simply beautiful. Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint give their best performance in the entire franchise, as their characters are pushed into new emotional heights.
3 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: B
The Bad: Very weak visual effects. Hagrid’s brother, Grawp, and the centaurs don’t look real or believable at all.
The Good: Imelda Staunton. No extra explanation needed.
2- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: A-
The Bad: Maybe just too simple and silly for its own good. No diversity.
The Good: Every single member of the cast seemed to have come straight out of the book. Chris Columbus does a fantastic work illustrating what would be like if Hogwarts and the world of Harry Potter was a reality. However, perhaps its greatest accomplishment was to make a memorable and timeless movie.
1 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: A
The Bad: <crickets>
The Good: The best movie in the entire saga, and a real masterpiece (yes, I said it). Alfonso Cuaron did the unimaginable and reinvented the Harry Potter franchise, setting the tone for every single movie that came after it, which is not easy feat. Cuaron’s audacious leadership and creativity made it possible for the remaining movies to be successful.