Harry Potter: Years 1-5

Izzy says:

It’s about time that someone reviewed the Harry Potter series. It makes sense to combine all of the films into one major entry and talk about each film individually instead of doing separate reviews for each. Make sense to everyone, yes? Okay then.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Having watched a lot of Full Metal Alchemist lately, it’s hard for me to say “Sorcerer’s Stone” and notsorcerers.jpg “Philosopher’s Stone”, but that’s neither here nor there. This movie is definitely not the best Harry Potter film, but it does have its benefits. One of these benefits is the fact that you get to see little Harry, Ron and Hermione in their pre-pubescent years (you know, before Daniel Radcliffe decided to do donkey shows…I mean, horse shows…I mean, shows where he’s doing horses…I mean, artsy plays). I especially like the part when Hagrid bursts through the door, gives Harry’s obnoxiously chunky cousin Dudley a pig’s tail and informs Harry that he’s a wizard. And Harry’s just like “I AM?!” and he’s so surprised and elated and thrilled he gets to escape his shitty life. It’s really heart-warming. Because the first book isn’t that long, the movie actually manages to stay true to most of it…although when I first saw the film, I was kind of disappointed to see how the Sorting Hat was portrayed. It’s kind of annoying that it has a face and it talks out loud, because in the book it only talks in Harry’s (or the respective student’s) head. And I mean, COME ON. How hard would that have been to show? All you have to do to represent a voice in someone’s head is make the voice sound all echo-y and zoom in on the character’s head. It’s simpler than making a talking hat, but I guess less “magical” and I suppose that could be interpreted as Harry “imagining” the hat talking to him. But whatever, it’s not that big of a deal.

Another good aspect of this film is Dumbledore. Dumbledore is at his prime in this flick because he’s noble and wise but yet funny at the same time. He’s charismatic and he wins you over right away, even if you hadn’t read the book. He just has all these quippy lines, like when Harry asks him what he sees when he looks into the Mirror of Erised, and he’s all like “socks”. It’s pretty funny, I guess you had to be there.

The ending of the film is also quite enjoyable. Having the three of them go through all those tasks like getting past the three-headed dog and battling magic plants, life-size chess pieces, and living keys…well, it’s pretty nicely realized. And then finally seeing Voldemort as part of Quirrell’s head…pretty fucking eerie if you ask me. It’s also scary when you think about how LITTLE Harry is when he’s going through all this. I mean, this kid is only 11 fucking years old, he’s JUST learned that he’s a wizard and possesses magical powers, yet he was able to escape some of the wittiest magicians with just common sense and a little help from his friends (cue “Wonder Years” theme song).

Things I did not like about The Sorcerer’s Stone: it tried too hard to be an introductory film. Those who made this film did not operate under the assumption that people will have read the book before seeing the movie, therefore they felt the need to say things that weren’t in the book to prove a point. I guess that’s helpful if you haven’t read the book, but most kids have, so it’s kind of pointless. I don’t know, I guess that’s just my opinion. For example, when first introduced to Hermione on the train, she came across as a bratty know-it-all that no one wanted to be friends with because she was so obnoxious. Harry and Ron didn’t like her at all…in fact they didn’t warm up to her until they rescued her from the troll in the girl’s bathroom. They represented Hermione this way in the movie to show her personality from the very beginning, but they didn’t have to be so stark about it. Harry and Ron thought she was kind of annoying, but very friendly and not necessarily stand-offish.

Generally speaking though, I think this film was a pretty good intro to the HP Series.

Grade: 88

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Yeah, no. Didn’t like the Chamber of Secrets very much. I think Dobby kind of ruined it for me. He appears as this REALLY freakingchamber.jpg annoying thing in the first 15 minutes of the movie and you’re doomed to hate him from the start (see: JarJar Binks). While he does behave like a little turd in the book as well, you don’t see his actions to be as malicious as they appear. The look on Dobby’s face when he drops the cake on the Dursley’s relatives is purely mischievous. He looks like he’s doing it on purpose to piss off Harry and quite frankly, the viewer is gonna hate anyone that pisses Harry off. You’re not supposed to HATE Dobby, you’re supposed to be confused by him. Like…”what’s this elf’s deal? Does he want to help Harry? Does he want to hurt Harry? Is he maybe one of Voldemort’s drones?” From the interaction with Harry in the beginning, you’re bound to say “I hate this house elf. He’s so incredibly annoying” and continue feeling that way during the whole film up to the point in the end where Harry’s all like, buddybuddy with him. The book does a better job explaining the relationship between Harry and Dobby, and it wouldn’t have been THAT HARD to explain that.

As for the whole “Chamber of Secrets” part…well, I guess that was alright. The end fighting scene was pretty cool where he’s running through tunnels hiding from the Basilisk. Young Tom Riddle was represented well. Part of the reason I didn’t like the second movie as much is that I didn’t like the second BOOK that much. It was kind of a lame premise. The first one was much more exciting. Harry doesn’t even really battle Voldemort in this one; he battles 1/7 of Voldemort’s soul, which I guess is SORT OF a big deal, but not really. A lot of the film/book is a “mystery” as to what the monster living inside the chamber really is. That wasn’t too original. JK Rowling could’ve thought of something more interesting. The characters didn’t develop too much – Ginny is still a shy, timid little girl who has an infatuation with Harry, Malfoy is still a mean little bugger, Ron is still a pussy (who we learn is also really scared of spiders), etc. The only character development we see is with Dobby, and I didn’t like how that was done. SO THERE.

One cool thing though – we get to meet Fawkes, which is probably the coolest bird ever, and I don’t really like birds that much…at all. But Fawkes, man…he spontaneously combusts every once in awhile and then is reborn from his own ashes! That’s pretty sweet. I’d like to own a bird like him. His tears also cure wounds (like Chuck Norris’ tears. They cure cancer..but then again, Chuck Norris never cries). That would come in handy: “Oh shit, I got a paper cut. Get the bird over here.” “Bird, cry on me. Right now…cry on me or I’ll give you something to cry about!” Hahah. That made ME laugh.

Oh, yeah and about that. When Fawkes cries on Harry’s basilisk wound in the book, Tom Riddle’s all like “Ha ha Harry, even your own bird pities you now! Look he’s crying on you!” and doesn’t realize that the bird is actually curing Harry’s wound. In the movie, Tom doesn’t say this. I think that line should’ve been put in the movie because it just shows how completely ignorant Voldemort is. He thinks he’s so smart, but really there’s so much he doesn’t know.

In summation: Dobby – thumbs down. Fight between Harry and the Basilisk – thumbs up. General development of the story – thumbs down. Fawkes – thumbs up.

Grade: 75

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Two words: Sirius Black. Sirius Black kicks so much ass. I love this character so much. And I love the way that he’s represented in the film. He’s all scraggly and rugged and mean and it looks like he’s had the shit kicked out of him by dementors every day in Azkaban. Yet, he’s still a good guy and the only family Harry has left. I’ll try not to let my obsession with Sirius become the focus of this review, though,prisonerofaz.jpg because that’s not fair. And I am SO fair. With movie reviews.

All siriusness aside (I’m so witty with my words!) I still think this was a good film. And a good book! Since I’m tired of writing paragraphs (because I’m writing all five movie reviews at once on a diet of apple juice and Nerds) I’m going to do this in number form.

1. The time-turner is awesome. It was represented really well and is fun to see the way everything pans out.

2. Hermione punches Malfoy. Although the punch was pretty fucking girly (even for a girl), it was still nice to see some GIRL POWER! And come on, that little turd had it coming to him. [Editor’s note: Izzy wants to be Ginger Spice. Barf.]

3. Remus Lupin. Yay for Remus Lupin! He was exactly what I imagined him to be. And his character is just so genuine. It’s a shame he has to become a killing creature of the night.

4. The battle between Lupin and Sirius! Talk about fucking SWEEET! Man-dog battles Werewolf! [Editor’s note: sounds like Hilary and Bill Clinton conceiving Chelsea] I only wish it lasted longer! [Editor’s note: sounds like Hilary and Bill Clinton conceiving Chelsea] And I really wish the DVD had some sort of feature where you could play that scene like a video game where you got to be either Lupin or Sirius and just battle it out Mortal Kombat style. Beastiality! [Editor’s note: Friendship!]

5. The boggart lesson. Watching everyone call their fears ridiculous. Oh yeah, and Alan Rickman, the infamous Snape (which I am SO surprised I haven’t talked about yet, because Snape is such an intriguing character and I basically love every film Alan Rickman is in and if I don’t like the film he’s in then I at least appreciate his role in the film) dressing up like Neville’s grandmother…hilarious. Although the boggart isn’t REALLY Snape, Alan Rickman still had to dress up like that for the movie. That must’ve been a proud moment for him. Gosh, I wish I had an Alan Rickman paper doll. That would be so funny – take Alan Rickman to the beach! Oh, what sort of bathing suit will he wear? Time for Alan Rickman to go to sleep! Shall I make him wear footie pajamas? It’s raining outside! Better put on that yellow rain slicker or you’ll get wet Mr. Rickman! On second thought, no, it’s a silly idea. [Editor’s note: yes, silly. LET Alan Rickman get wet…BETTER IDEA!]
6. Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney. She’s such a good actress, and Prof. Trelawney is such a zany character that she pulls off wonderfully. It’s also nice to see Emma and Alan in another movie together. Isn’t it cute that they were married in Love, Actually? (Well, until he falls for that despicable ugly slutty bitch girl and breaks his wife’s heart by getting bitch girl a gold necklace and his wife a fucking Joni Mitchell CD and she goes in her room and cries for a few minutes but then composes herself…okay I’m done being sidetracked but I really FELT for her character, you know? Stupid Alan Rickman! Go put on your rain slicker!) It would’ve been cute if Snape got together with Trelawney. Sure they might fight at first, but I could see them getting along…

Things I didn’t really like about the movie:

1) The Firebolt Inaccuracy. Anyone who has watched this movie with me has heard me complain about this, so if you are one of those people, kindly just…skip this bit because it’s just gonna be the same old complaint. So in the book, Harry gets a Firebolt for Christmas and McGonagall confiscates it because no one knows who its from and it could be bewitched blahblah. Turns out it’s from Sirius, but no one knows that until later. In the movie, he gets the Firebolt at the end of the school year obviously from Sirius because it comes with a feather from Buckbeak. Laaaaame. Why did they have to change that? They didn’t.

2) The Dumble-Switch! Yeah, yeah, I know – the old Dumbledore died so they had to get a new one, but despite what everyone tells me, I still think the old Dumbledore was better. The new one is more quirky and less intelligent. He’s a bit too hyper for my liking. He seems like an angrier Dumbledore. The other one was more sagely. Maybe I’m just too picky, but it’s my review dammit!
Yeah, that’s about it. This was a good film, definitely worth watching. And it was made for people who have seen the previous two films and read the book, so it’s okay. Happy ending and all…well, as happy as Harry Potter endings get.

Grade: 89

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This was a really long book, therefore there was no way the movie could incorporate everything. As a result, the film was sort of sub-par and rushed. The best part of the film was the ending. The worst part of the film was the Yule Ball. Everything else was kind of in the middle.

The drama at the end was pretty damn cool. Cederic Diggory dies dramatically. Voldemort comes back to life in a body of his own that isgoblet.jpg ultimately very, very scary. Now, Ralph Fiennes is not a scary actor. I kind of want to see him in “In Bruges” because it sounds like a pretty decent film. BUT he will ALWAYS be Lord Voldemort to me. I think he’ll probably be Lord Voldemort to his kids, too. Does he have kids? *checks IMDB* Nope, not that I see but I could be wrong. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that he’s horrifying! He’s just like…so frightening because he’s not even really human. He’s like, part human. And seeing that for the first time, and seeing Harry actually duel with him at the tender age of fourteen is so scary. Imagine where YOU were intellectually/mentally at fourteen. I know I was a confused little girl, giggling over boys and doing algebra homework…definitely NOT at the level of beating advanced wizards. It is such a powerful ending once he lets go of the wand connection with Voldemort. He grabs Cederic’s lifeless body and dives for the Goblet of Fire and transports himself to the beginning of the third task. Everyone is cheering because they think he has won and they do not realize that Cederic is dead in Harry’s arms. It was quite the scene.

As for the rest of the film…watching the Weasley twins try and put their names into the Goblet was funny. Watching Mad-Eye Moody[‘s proxy] turn Malfoy into a ferret was amusing. The dragon task was kinda cool. Schuyler bought the video game for this movie and it took forever to beat the task because he had to fly through a bunch of rings and avoid the dragon’s fire all while staying within a certain time frame. It was entertaining to watch for awhile, though. Then it got boring. Kind of like the movie’s version. I didn’t like watching all the drama between Harry and Ron, either. Yes, it was in the book, but it was less annoying in the book.

So I’m itching to talk about the stupidity of the Yule Ball. First of all, what the FUCK was with the music? Excuse me. EXCUSE ME. JUST because it’s the wizarding world doesn’t mean that the ONLY music witches and wizards listen to is music that has to do with what they’re learning in school…it doesn’t have to be “dance like a hippogriff, eat like a troll, fly on a broom” music. It can be regular rock ‘n roll. I mean, these kids wear hoodies and blue jeans when they’re not in class. Why should they listen to witch ‘n wizard music? There was no mention of this in the book! And I just didn’t care for the drama of the ball either. The Patil twins were so annoying. Even at the beginning before Harry and Ron refused to dance, they were all like “ew, we really don’t want to be here with these losers”. Ahem. Harry is a fucking celebrity. You should kiss the ground he walks on, you ungrateful bitch. You deserve to sit in the corner. Yeah, sit in the corner and cry about it. [Editor’s note: Just like wet Alan Rickman. What a pair they would be at prom.] It’s kind of ridiculous that Harry couldn’t have gotten a better date. Come on Rowling. You can do better than that. I know kids hated Harry for awhile, but they regained faith in him after the first task, so it should’ve been easy. Go figure. But I’m not here to critique things that happened in the book. My main complaint was how the ball itself was represented.

Some funny points + crappy ball + rockin ending = okay film. Something I’d watch if I were bored and had no other entertaining films around. It was slightly better than the Chamber of Secrets only because there was more action and the ending was more exciting. I mean, Voldemort coming back is a big plus already. I can’t say that enough.

Grade: 82

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Excellent! Definitely the best Potter film so far. This is probably because the 5th book is when the action gets to be a lot more dark. And we’re introduced to a character that we absolutely love to hate: Dolores Umbridge. Her name alone is detestable. She’s just as terrible of a human being and she’s depicted excellently. Her and her silly pink outfits and the cat dishes she has in her office: it’s ridiculous! Everyoneorder.jpg hates her, yet she’s still in power. The best part of the film is when Fred and George scare the shit out of her and then leave Hogwarts forever to open up their own joke shop. Or wait, maybe the best part is when she gets taken away by the centaurs whom she has so much disdain for. I don’t know, but I hate her. She’s suuuch a bitch. Everyone knows someone like Umbridge in their lives. Her actions are like a dictatorship. I’d compare her to Stalin, Hitler, Ceaucescu [Editor’s note: Some Romanian dictator, whoopydoo Izzy. We all took Romanian History 101. Oh wait…] and the other communists of our time [Editor’s note: Hitler was a communist?]. She puts up all these ridiculous rules and regulations that she claims are for the safety of the students at Hogwarts when they’re really just infringing on their basic human rights. And the fact that she insists that Voldemort isn’t back just pisses me off even more. What a stupid cunt! I mean, COME ON. It’s so obvious. It’s just like when Ceaucescu [Editor’s note: pronounced “Choochoo?”] would make these grandiose speeches in the 1980s about how Romania was thriving and how everyone was so happy when people were starving and aborting babies with hangers. JUST like that. Doesn’t it just break your heart when she attempts to throw Trelawney out? Poor Emma Thompson! Don’t you just wanna ask her to live with you? Sure she may be a little annoying at times, but she makes a damn good cuppa tea. Maybe she can live with Alan Rickman. [Editor’s note: Who is just sopping, let me say.]

You know what other character was very well done? [Editor’s note: the STEAK character!!!!] Bellatrix Lestrange. I can’t think of anyone more creepy or sinister to play that role other than the famous Helena Bonham Carter. Oh Mz. Carter. You’re so weird. You and Tim Burton are going to have either the weirdest gothy-est kids in the world, or you’re going to have star football player sons and cheerleader daughters who are only like that because they want to rebel against their parents. This would be a great conversation:

Carter-Burton Daughter: But MOM! Why can’t I go to the cheerleader’s carwash fundraiser! It’s for a good cause!

Carter: No. Go write dark poetry and smoke clove cigarettes with the goth kids.

Carter-Burton Daughter: Stop trying to turn me into something I’m not! I hate you! I hate you mom!

*snicker* Is that only funny to me? Anyway, yes. Bellatrix Lestrange is just such an absolutely ridiculously crazy person. I think HBC can only play weird pasty goth girls, and Lestrange is no exception. The only issue I have with her in this film is that she kills Sirius. Well, okay, I hate her for other reasons too, but the fact that she kills Sirius is heartbreaking for me because Sirius is my favorite character and Harry’s only true relative left. Sigh. Poor Harry is left to fend for himself.

But! Not all is lost! The building of Dumbledore’s Army in the film makes the viewer feel a little more at ease because at least Harry has SOME allies at Hogwarts even though there are so many others against him. Like Luna Lovegood. Although she’s a bit…out there and kooky, I kinda like her. And she wears Converse sneakers (when she can actually FIND her shoes) which automatically gives her points. It’s adorable how they all help out in whatever way they can in the Department of Mysteries. I liked it when all the different prophesies fell off the shelves and broke. Something about glass breaking is just fun for the whole family.

Just like the end of the 4th film, the fighting sequence at the end of the Order of the Phoenix is MOST impressive!! Dumbledore vs. Voldemort – another thing I’d like to see Mortal Kombat style. Ralphie is just as scary as ever. Dumbledore, although not as great as the original one, is still pretty awesome when he fights. So…yay for fight scenes! I don’t want to describe what happens because if you haven’t seen it already, you should see for yourself. If you only see one Harry Potter film ever, see this one…although I don’t know what’s in store for the 6th and 7th films so I may take that back eventually.

Grade: 90


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