Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter comes of age

A decade, that's how long its been since Harry Potter first found his way onto the big screen. With the eighth (and final) movie ready to hit theaters this Friday let's take a look back at Harry Potter and the Multi-Billion Dollar Franchise.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

harry potter stone

We're introduced to young Harry Potter, and through his eyes a magical hidden world. Harry travels to Hogwarts, meets his best buds Hermoine and Ron, solves his first mystery, meets Hagrid, plays his first game of Quiddich, kills one of his teachers, and learns the truth about the death of his parents and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. As adaptations go the first entry is filled with moments from the book, some of which could have been cut, but does a good job with recreating the world from the novels and starting the franchise off on the right foot.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

harry potter chamber

Harry returns to Hogwarts, discovers he has a talent in common with Voldemort, is creeped out by some monster-sized spiders, learns why his true home is Griffyndor, drives around in a flying car, permanently damages the memory of another teacher (damn, he's hard on them), and kills a freakin' huge snake that no one else ever sees (Sure you did Harry. No, we believe you. Giant invisible snake. Crawling through the sewers. Riiiight!). Director Chris Columbus, on his second and last film of the series, does a good job in turning the weakest book of the franchise into a passable film.

Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban

harry potter prisoner

Harry blows up his aunt, befriends his crazy godfather (well, after trying to kill him) who has recently broken out of a high security prison, is taught by a werewolf, faces his darkest fears, travels back in time, is given a very special map, forces another teacher to resign, and gets a new broom. Generally regarded as the best of the franchise, the third film, and the only one directed by Alfonso CuarĂ³n, sees the characters begin to deal with adolescence, as well as, you know, save the world.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

harry potter goblet

Harry spends the fourth film taking part in the Twiwizard Tournament, solving riddles, gets another teacher fired (okay, he was trying to kill Harry), battles a dragon, gets his first crush, gets his friend killed, and is responsible for allowing the most powerful evil wizard ever to be reborn and terrorize the world once more (nice job!). Although it's definitely not the best of the franchise this entry, directed by Mike Newell, does have its moments (and the dragons are pretty cool).

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

harry potter order phoenix

Harry joins a secret society, attends the Qwiddich Cup, gets another teacher fired (okay, she was a real bitch), learns the prophecy of his destiny, starts training other students as part of Dumbledore's Army, gets his godfather killed, and stops Voldemont's latest plot. One of the series weaker novels becomes one of the franchise's weaker films, but it does set a few more pieces in motion for the series conclusion and provides some memorable moments.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

harry potter halfblood

Harry becomes the teacher's pet, watches Ron and Hermoine refuse to admit their feelings to each other, gets touchy-feely with Ron's sister, watches Draco brood, gets someone else killed, says farewell to Hogwarts, and embraces his destiny. It has a few nagging issues, but all in all this is one of the best of the franchise so far. Director David Yates second Potter film moves much smoother than his first and manages to cram a quite a bit into a quick moving 153-minute running time.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

The first half of the final Harry Potter book centers around Harry's coming of age and his quest to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes that contain pieces of Voldemort. Dumbledore may be gone (and he won't be the only one before the film ends), but Hermione and Ron prove to be up to the challenges (despite some fallout along the way). It may be a tad long (especially for only half of the book) but it's one of the strongest of the series leading to...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

The end. This is it. This is what you've been waiting a decade for. Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldemort. Thunderdome. (Okay, maybe not Thunderdome, but you get the general idea). All the familiar faces return for one last go-around. The franchise wraps up the tale of Harry Potter and his friends 3D with battles, dragons, goblins, snakes, curses, reunions, loss, and the revelation of more than of few secrets.

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