by Aaron Peck
I can hear it now. The gasps of 'Potter' fans worldwide as they read through this list and find out that it's not exactly the list they would have made. Ranking your favorite 'Harry Potter' films in order from worst to best is a completely personal experience. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes about each one of the movies that have been released. People who have read the books feel differently about some movies leaving out key details of the story, while others who haven't read the books may judge the movies purely on which one was more entertaining.
Personally, I'm only halfway through the books (somewhere in the middle of the fourth book). I've never been in a big hurry to get through them, and have watched every movie before I read the book. So, take that for what it's worth.
I remember walking out of 'Order of the Phoenix' thinking, did anything happen in that movie, at all? My wife assured me that the formation of Dumbledore's Army made a bit more sense in the books, but in the movie it seemed utterly useless, especially since it hasn't been talked about since. Sure, Sirius dies, but other than that, 'Order of the Phoenix' accomplished next to nothing in actually moving the plot along. By far this is the most frustrating of the movies if you haven't read the books.
Some people really enjoy Chris Columbus' first films in the series. They enjoy the sense of whimsy and wonder, but to me they're far too kid-tastic for their own good. 'Sorcerer's Stone' was hampered by the fact that Columbus and crew seemed more invested in showing how cool Quidditch could look on the big screen rather than in creating the magical story that the first book contained.
This one suffers from the same problems as the first movie. Too much time spent on the things that are oh-so-cool about the wizarding world, like talking paintings and owls that bring parcels. You can't really fault the movie for following the book, but the ending of the 'Chamber of Secrets' is perhaps the worst case of Deus ex Machina in the entire series.
The more I think about 'Half-Blood Prince' the more it falls down the ladder of 'Potter' films. Why? Because the movie is far too obsessed with portraying the lovey-dovey relationships going on in Hogwarts, and misses out on some high-flying action which is in the book. 'Half-Blood Prince' is also a movie for that takes that you've read the books for granted. I found myself lost more times in 'Half-Blood Prince' than any other movie. Watching 'Half-Blood Prince' is almost like watching a '90210' episode, but with wands. This movie also misses out on the fundamental ideas about Voldemort, horcruxes, and just about everything else that makes the last entries worth reading. There's so much more backstory to Tom Riddle that really should have been covered here, and would have more entertaining than watching the fully-formed libidos of the Hogwarts crew run rampant.
I know a lot of people dislike 'Goblet of Fire', but from someone who hasn't read the books, this was one of the movies that I found the most enjoyable. I was able to follow what was happening with the characters, and there weren't too many times when a random item or character appears that has never been explained before. It had a nice energy to it, and action scenes that, up until now, the 'Potter' series hadn't seen.
The third movie in the franchise kicked off Chris Columbus' kid-tastic fluff and delved into the darker aspects of the 'Potter' franchise. They were no longer "kid movies," and that's what really intrigues me about this film. Alfonso Cuarón's bleak landscape and direction finally added a bit of foreboding atmosphere to the series. The movies felt like they were growing up a bit.
For me, nothing tops the latest installment. The newest 'Potter' film is exciting, fun, and delves into the characters like never before. Truthfully, the camping scenes were handled very well. We were able to get more of an insight into Harry's relationship with Hermione. 'Deathly Hallows' does fall into the same plight of earlier films, as it takes for granted that you actually read the books. As Harry stares into a piece of broken glass, a person like me sits there wondering, "Why is that important?" People who have read the books know the importance of such an item, while I'm completely clueless. Still, 'Deathly Hallows' is the most engaging of all the films in my opinion. Its action and suspense don't quit. It's just a fun ride.
I know that you're dying to tell me how wrong I could possibly be, and how 'Deathly Hallows' is actually the worst film in the entire series. I would like to hear what you guys think so make full use of the forums. With any luck we'll start an all out war. Then again we're only Muggles so what do we know?