Boxset Review: The Harry Potter Story


The Harry Potter Story (2001-2011)

GENRE: Fantasy, Adventure, Thriller

DIRECTORS: Chris Columbus (12), Alfonso Cuarón (3), Mike Newell (4), David Yates (58)

WRITERS:  Screenplay by Steve Kloves (1–4, 6–8), Michael Goldenberg (5). Based on the books by J.K. Rowling

STARS: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane

COUNTRY: UK/USA

ABOUT: In 1998, J. K. Rowling sold the film rights of the first four of her Harry Potter books to Warner Bros. for a reported £1 million. Due to the films overwhelming popularity, the final three books were turned into a further four films (the final instalment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was split into two films).

This series of fantasy films chronicle the lives of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 


 FILMS

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)

REVIEWS

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) 2h 32min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy | 16 November 2001 (USA) Summary: An orphaned boy enrolls in a school of wizardry, where he learns the truth about himself, his family and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world.
Countries: UK, USALanguages: English
PosterMovieCommentsRating
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Way too long for a kids' fantasy film, with some occasionally dreadful acting and a damp squib of an ending. That said, it's still a decent introduction to the cinematic world of Harry Potter. 3

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) 2h 41min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy | 15 November 2002 (USA) Summary: An ancient prophecy seems to be coming true when a mysterious presence begins stalking the corridors of a school of magic and leaving its victims paralyzed.
Countries: UK, USA, GermanyLanguages: English
PosterMovieCommentsRating
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Even longer than its predecessor, and unnecessarily so, but generally the children’s' acting has improved and this is probably the funniest of the series thanks to great performances from Kenneth Branagh and Rupert Grint. 3

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 2h 22min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy | 4 June 2004 (USA) Summary: Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for their third year of study, where they delve into the mystery surrounding an escaped prisoner who poses a dangerous threat to the young wizard.
Countries: UK, USALanguages: English
PosterMovieCommentsRating
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban A change of director brings a darker tone and production design to match, with sharp, witty storytelling and some gorgeous effects. A fantastic time-travelling finale and the best acting so far make this the pinnacle of the series. 4

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) 2h 37min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy | 18 November 2005 (USA) Summary: Harry Potter finds himself competing in a hazardous tournament between rival schools of magic, but he is distracted by recurring nightmares.
Countries: UK, USALanguages: English, French
PosterMovieCommentsRating
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire The story is a bit boring at times despite all the action, and once again it is too long, but the Yule Ball scenes are simply brilliant and the finale shakes off any vestiges of the series' kid-friendly image in the most horrifying way possible. 3.5

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) 2h 18min | Action, Adventure, Family | 11 July 2007 (USA) Summary: With their warning about Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes') return scoffed at, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Dumbledore (Sir Michael Gambon) are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.
Countries: UK, USALanguages: English
PosterMovieCommentsRating
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Daniel Radcliffe is superb as the traumatised Potter and it's great to see elements of the wizarding world beyond Hogwarts, but overall there's not a lot going on in this film until the last 20 minutes. 3

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) 2h 33min | Action, Adventure, Family | 15 July 2009 (USA) Summary: As Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) begins his sixth year at Hogwarts, he discovers an old book marked as "the property of the Half-Blood Prince" and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes') dark past.
Countries: UK, USALanguages: English
PosterMovieCommentsRating
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince The bleak cinematography is stunning and matches the film's grim mood perfectly. Not really any fun at all aside from a few moments with our heroes, but gives plenty of back-story and sets up the final films brilliantly. 3.5

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) 2h 26min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy | 19 November 2010 (USA) Summary: As Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) race against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, they uncover the existence of the three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows.
Countries: UK, USALanguages: English
PosterMovieCommentsRating
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 The desire to adapt the final book as closely as possible results in a film that tells half a story and lurches from captivating to interminably boring in almost equal measure, though the acting is generally great. 3

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) 2h 10min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy | 15 July 2011 (USA) Summary: Harry, Ron, and Hermione search for Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes in their effort to destroy the Dark Lord as the final battle rages on at Hogwarts.
Countries: UK, USALanguages: English
PosterMovieCommentsRating
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 The epic story is brought to an end in style with a film that features superb battle scenes and more great performances from the young cast. A few moments probably should've been left in the book but otherwise this is a thrilling conclusion to the tale. 4

THE VERDICT

  • Philosopher’s Stone
  • Chamber of Secrets
  • Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Goblet of Fire
  • Order of the Phoenix
  • Half-Blood Prince
  • Deathly Hallows – Part 1
  • Deathly Hallows – Part 1
3.4

Summary

Having never read the books, this review looks at the films as a standalone piece of work without comparing them to the source material. The epic fantasy story doesn’t really do anything that the likes of Tolkien hadn’t covered before, but what sets this series apart from others is the development of the main characters from one instalment to the next, as they grow from children to adults whilst having to deal with the increasingly deadly threat of Voldemort. As the characters mature, so does the story and by the end it is very far from the light-hearted kids tale that it began as. With a variety of directors and screenwriters involved the films do have their ups and downs and some would have benefitted from tighter editing, but overall the Harry Potter story is engaging, thrilling and generally well-acted. It may not be my favourite franchise but it is still good entertainment and worthy of its place in the upper echelons of pop culture fandom.

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Boxset review by Mat Corne

 

 

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