Last week, Aaron wrote an article for the site’s front page in which he ranked the ‘Harry Potter’ movies in his order of preference. He was very upfront that not every reader or Potter fan would agree. With the most recent entry, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1‘, now available on Blu-ray, here’s your chance to tell us which of the seven films in the series so far you like best. Vote after the break.
For my part, I’ve never read any of the J.K. Rowling novels and have no concern for how faithful the movie versions are to the author’s labyrinthine text. I just want each movie to work the best it can as a movie. To that end, I find the first two entries by Chris Columbus, which sacrifice momentum or narrative drive for reverence to the text, to be borderline unwatchable. The third movie, Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban‘, is a quantum leap improvement in all respects. Although Rowling fans may quibble that it deletes or re-arranges their favorite paragraphs from the book, this is the first ‘Potter’ film that actually moves with purpose and brings the characters to life as characters, not just as chess pieces to shuffle around in service of the plot. ‘Azkaban’ is by far my favorite of the film entries so far.
The next follow-up, Mike Newell’s ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire‘, is an unfortunate regression. Although not nearly as bad as the Columbus movies, ‘Goblet of Fire’ suffers greatly from trying to cram in too many storylines from the book. As a result, the film plods along from plot-point to plot-point. For as much as happens on screen, nothing is fleshed out and nothing gets resolved. It feels like little more than a set-up for the next few movies.
I’ve liked all of the movies since David Yates took over the franchise about equally. Yes, that includes the much-maligned ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix‘. Yates’s films strike a nice balance between plot, exposition, and character development without getting too weighed down by the burden of Rowling’s prose.
Still, for me, ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ remains my favorite. Where do you stand on this?
I imagine that we’ll have to try this again after ‘Deathly Hallows, Part 2’ finishes off the series.