Ranking the Harry Potter Movies

person in black and white striped socks lying on bed
person in black and white striped socks lying on bed
Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Not strictly travel related, but this does line up with my Youtube channel. As I am in the process of restructuring my site, hopefully, this will suffice. I should make it clear that I loved all of the movies, but it’s a matter of how much I loved each Harry Potter movie in comparison to the others.

#8 Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

While this is probably my of the books, the movie pales in comparison, which is why it is rated so low. The book is the most emotive, and it takes us deep into Harry’s trauma. This movie is much lighter and almost pokes fun at the book. If you have read my review of Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, then you know that I am not a fan of that sort of thing.

AprilCoxTravel at Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, Curran Theatre, San Francisco, CA, Jan 15, 2022

Get tickets to Harry Potter & the Cursed Child

#7 Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

Some people may disagree with this, however, I stand by it. The book ranks a lot higher on my list, but I found the movie to be rather lackluster. Let me be clear about why the book ranks higher as I feel that will say a lot about the movie’s ranking as well. This book is where the series turns dark. It’s a direct lead in to Order of the Phoenix which is one of my favorites of the series (a bit of a toss up between that and Deathly Hallows, though I think Order beats it). In other words, it’s the ending that catapults this book up higher in the rankings.

Don’t get me wrong, they did a great job with the ending here, but I just liked the book’s version better.

#6 Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2

You might be able to predict my reasons here. Many Harry Potter fans were disappointed with the ending of this movie. They felt that it went too big and too epic, when the book ending was so simple and so powerful. It’s interesting to note though that those who had not read the books felt the ending was a bit underwhelming. I guess they decided to try to give everyone a bit of what they wanted, but fell short on both.

#5 Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 1

I almost ranked this a little higher until I realized that I was only doing so because of recency. Back then, I had watched the earlier movies so many times leading up to the final movies that I had grown tired of them. I do not watch the movies as much any more, but I have to say that many of the earlier movies simply have more magic in them than this one does for me.

Perhaps I am just not as much a fan of the darker stories (which is weird since Order of the Phoenix is my favorite book–though that deals with trauma and is something I relate to). The truth is that I’m not sure there is a rhyme or reason why this movie falls right in the middle of the rankings. It beats out Deathly Hallows Part 2 because it follows the book more closely, but beyond that, it’s just average in compared to the other movies.

#4 Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets

I have to say that some of these are really tough to determine a rank. There was one point in time that Chamber of Secrets would have beaten Sorcerer’s Stone on my list. However, then I get to thinking about how magical Sorcerer’s Stone was for me, and I bump it up on the list. I enjoyed Chamber of Secrets, but, like Deathly Hallows, it falls in the middle of my movie rankings.

#3 Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban

I think that a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this. Sometimes, even I disagree with me on this. Time travel can be a cop out. It complicates stories, and it can kill a series real quick if not done right. Think Heroes from the 2000s (2006-2010). They overdid time travel just a bit, to the point that most of the storyline revolved around it. Prisoner of Azkaban, however, does not make the same mistake.

They use just enough time travel to make the story interesting, but not enough that it overly complicates the story or unravels the entire plot.

#2 Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince

You would be surprised to find the book at the bottom of my list of book rankings, while the movie appears so close to the top. This was one of the few instances where I felt the movie was better than the book.

I didn’t really like the book very much. It felt rushed and the relationships were not believable. All of a sudden Harry just started to have feelings for Ginny (not that I don’t support Hinny, I definitely do), I just feel that it wasn’t done right. There was so much more that could be done here, and I was really disappointed in the build up to their relationship (the movies did a worse job of that since Ginny’s character in general got the short end of the stick, but I digress). So, why does this movie rank so high? Because it is funny.

I know that I criticized the humor in other Harry Potter performances, but here is one place where the humor works. Slughorn’s Slug Club is almost comical as is Radcliffe’s performance under the influence of Felix Felicias. The comedy works, and it works a lot better than the lackluster attempts in the book.

#1 Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone

I didn’t expect to rank this one so high. Normally, this one ranks pretty close to the bottom of the pile. The thing is that I would have made that ranking (have made that ranking) when books and/or movies were still coming out or shortly after those had come out. And, the newness of the later books propelled them to the top of the list, while leaving behind the first movie. But, the first movie was what started it all for me.

You see, I didn’t read the books until after I saw the first movie. Initially, I had never heard of the books, but then, people started bringing them up to me. I had no idea what they were talking about and just blew them off.

Then, when I came home from college on Christmas break, my family decided they were going to go to see the movie. Still, I wasn’t interested, but I didn’t want to stay home alone, so I decided to go. It changed everything.

I loved the movie and ended up borrowing all of my sister’s Harry Potter books and began reading them. And, I remember reading one of them on the plane to Disney that spring. I went to midnight releases to buy the new books. I didn’t dress up, not yet–just went out to buy the book. That didn’t start until later and is another story entirely.

When I look back on this Harry Potter movie, I get nostalgic. It’s about remembering that first discovery of the magic, and I don’t think any of the other movies will ever beat it again for me.

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