What are the best films in the Harry Potter saga? Our ruthless cinemaniac puts them in order, without discounting.
After revealing 5 trivia facts about the Harry Potter saga, we return to the world of the film saga born from JK Rowling ‘s novels to prepare for the big date with the new Hogwarts Legacy video game: this time, however, we go into more detail, tackling head-on the top 5 Harry Potter films.
But don’t expect the usual cheesy, tearful ode: those who speak certainly Can’t call himself a die-hard fan of the Harry Potter film saga, and will certainly not be blinded by the spell of nostalgia: Severus Snape’s severity will guide his hand in the writing of this article, so you are warned, Mr. and Mrs. Potter.
5) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two by David Yates
I would not like to comment on David Yates, which I personally consider to be the true great origin of my Aversion to the Harry Potter film saga: worthy ‘shooter’ and ’employee’ of the cinema, production man maybe just to be put there at the head of the set but almost Unable to create images that survive to the plot of his films, that they go further, that they stay-he has had no less than 7 chances to make us rethink, plus two more films outside the Harry Potter franchise, and already after the first one (The Order of the Phoenix) we could guess that his cinema has no ideas to put forward, only scenes to be filmed.
And it is indeed why we ‘save’ The Deathly Hallows: Part Two: even with its weaknesses, and through its ‘invisible’ direction (which would not in itself be a flaw, as all of Classical Hollywood teaches us, at least when, as in Yates’s case, it is not accompanied by flatness) the film comes on strong with its script and its actors, and especially because of that screen-viewer mechanism that every good ‘final chapter’ should elicit.
That succeeds in eliciting it, that mechanism, it’s a worthy grand finale that stands on the shoulders of the previous chapter (which on the contrary is a huge set-up) and the best compliment that can be paid to him is probably that, in this case, David Yates manages to avoid all the many ways Harry Potter 8 could have failed, closing the saga on a satisfactory note.
4) Mike Newell’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Goblet of Fire has always been a transitional chapter for the saga, a crossroads, an unfortunate heir to the previous progenitor (chart spoilers) and also a necessary viaticum for continuing the journey of the franchise and its protagonists into adulthood.
A challenge for director Mike Newell (who is still not quite clear what he was looking for in the world of Harry Potter, he who had produced Traffic and directed Donnie Brasco, and who after the Richter-scale flop of the film adaptation of Prince of Persia, released a few years after The Goblet of Fire, would inexorably disappear from circulation) who nonetheless convinces by the many gimmicks with which he chooses to ‘expanding’ the wizarding world of Harry Potter beyond the gates of Hogwarts. It is the film that brings Harry Potter into adulthood, amid love and death, and in addition to the fun challenges of the Three Wizards tournament and the pre-Twilight Robert Pattinson is remembered by all for the first, iconic and masterful appearance of Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemort.
But I never found the ‘duel of chopsticks’ too ‘cinematically filmable’-not everything that works on the page works translated into images, and every time I see those two beams of light against each other as the actors try to simulate the force needed to control the energy clash I kind of die inside-and unfortunately for me the arrival of Voldemort coincides with that of David Yates: it would be he, in fact, who would sign off on all the subsequent episodes of the saga, contributing to the waning of the ‘magic’ of ideas and staging insights that instead distinguished the earlier chapters.
3) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by Chris Columbus.
At 161 minutes, The Chamber of Secrets is the longest film in the franchise, and in its ambition it is also the one that tried to adapt almost everything from the book that inspired it.
Clearly it is impossible – cinema is a funnel, you throw in everything but then you reduce and reduce and reduce until you are left with the essence of the idea that you want to translate into images-but Chris Columbus is an experienced director who knows more about youth and adventure and fantasy than most (certainly more than David Yates), and here essentially remakes his greatest hits (not just Mom I missed the plane, but also the scripts of Gremlins, The Goonies and Pyramid of Fear., another super-natural investigation within the confines of a school), bringing them into the world of Harry Potter, which he had helped shape in the previous film.
Sometimes ambition pays off.
2) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by Chris Columbus.
Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone is told through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy, and Columbus is at home here: the director, who should be given not only the most obvious credit (the casting choice of the lead actors, who would become the iconic faces of the saga), was above all able to bring to the big screen literary imagery that seemed impossible to replicate in live-action, succeeding in the feat of creating something totally new, something that cinema had never seen before.
There is no doubt that the Harry Potter saga has always had something less than the coeval The Lord of the Rings (although both came from Warner Bros., the two adaptations were born under huge production differences-one most strikingly, the fact that the trilogy from Tolkien’s books was conceived by a single author, Peter Jackson) but in the same year that The Fellowship of the Rings stunned the whole world by revolutionizing feudal fantasy (2001), The Philosopher’s Stone brought fantasy into the contemporary era, into the living rooms of home, to the streets of today’s London, for a story of discovery and friendship (and magic).
The lightest of the saga, and the most delicious.
1) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by Alfonso Cuarón.
The importance of The Prisoner of Azkaban to the Harry Potter film saga has never been underestimated, and has only grown over time, but it might as well be reiterated once again.
That of Alfonso Cuarón is the film that set the creative direction and formula for subsequent chapters, and Still today it is of unmatched power compared to everyone else: it improves on what had come before and inserts in everything that would come after, but ten times better than how others would have done it.
The film significantly changes the look and feel of Harry Potter and his world (but without completely removing what Chris Columbus had built in the previous two films), making Hogwarts as tactile as ever (there would be a whole parenthesis to open, about how much Mexican cinema contributed to the ‘tactile’ nature of fantasy with Guillermo Del Toro, but let’s leave it at that). Cuarón’s vision makes almost every frame of the film a painting, from the smoky Dementors that look like something out of a William Blake engraving to the Platano Picchiatore that marks the changing seasons: ,
The Prisoner of Azkaban is the most cinematic of the Harry Potters, here the cinema of images and of the gaze lives and pulses with a creative spirit that is pure magic.