HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE

Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: Steve Kloves
Based on the book by: J.K. Rowling
Producer: David Heyman/J.K. Rowling
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe/Rupert Grint/Emma Watson/Richard Harris/Robbie Coltrane/Maggie Smith/Alan Rickman
Year: 2001
Country: UK/US
BBFC Certification: PG
Duration: 152 minutes

Harry Potter has come a long way in both the literature world and the movie world. Alas, the Harry Potter movies are now coming to an end as there are only two movies left, one of which is released next week and so, to celebrate the release, I have decided to review every Harry Potter movie from the beginning. If you haven’t read the books or seen the movies or haven’t done either, what have you been doing? And if you’ve never heard the name Harry Potter, where have you been?! Harry Potter learns on his 11th birthday that he is the orphaned son of a powerful witch and wizard and possesses magical powers of his own. At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry embarks on the adventure of a lifetime, discovering a world of magic and fantasy where he is destined to live. The first thing I must mention about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone if you live in the United States) is that it stays very faithful to the book. Sure there’s a few parts missing from the book, I’ve yet to see one adaptation stay one-hundred percent faithful, but other than that, it stays true to the book. However, this can also be it’s downfall to some people as there’s little surprise if you have already read the book, however I doubt that many Potter fans will find that a problem. Another thing that’s so great about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is it’s casting. Every single character in the movie was perfect and you couldn’t fault them at all. If you have read the books like I have, they’re practically close as to how you imagined the characters to be like. The story is just as great as it is in the book and it’s just as gripping and magical too. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has many positive things about it and one of the most notable things is its acting. You couldn’t have chosen better actors to play the parts of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley than Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as their performances were fantastic as the three friends. The professors of Hogwarts, including Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman, were also brilliant and you could not fault their performances.

 

The books were fantastically written with a smart and gripping story that enchanted many children and adults alike and it’s brilliant to say that the movie does exactly the same thing. Director Chris Columbus has directed great family movies that are brilliant such as the first two Home Alones and Mrs. Doubtfire and knows exactly how to direct movies that people of all ages can enjoy and has done a near-perfect job in directing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as far as directing a family movie is concerned. Another thing that is quite beautiful in the movie is the locations and how colourful and breath-taking they are, it’s brilliant to watch and you would love to visit the locations. The greatest thing about the movie is the score by John Williams, which really fits the mood of the movie and makes it that bit more magical. Overall, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the most loyal adaptation out of the movie series and is definitely worth the watch for Potter fans and non-Potter fans, it’s a movie that shouldn’t disappoint many.

Even though this is definitely the most loyal out of the Harry Potter series, this isn’t my favourite one even if it is fantastic. The quality of the movies are great and you can see the hard work has paid off. From the direction to the CGI, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a success from start to finish and is definitely one of the most enchanting movies. Whether it be the characters, the story, the score or the magic, everybody can find at least one thing they like about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: Steve Kloves
Based on the book by: J.K. Rowling
Producer: David Heyman
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe/Rupert Grint/Emma Watson/Richard Harris/Robbie Coltrane/Jason Issacs/Alan Rickman
Year: 2002
Country: UK/US
BBFC Certification: PG
Duration: 161 minutes

It’s quite rare that a sequel actually betters itself from it’s predecessor, however Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets does that and more. Whilst Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a brilliant movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets takes it a step further in almost everything. So this time, Harry Potter and friends are prepared to go back to Hogwarts for another year of school, however he is warned by a house-elf called Dobby to stay away for his life is in danger if he returns. Ignoring the warning, Harry returns only to find mysterious attacks and a strange voice haunting him. Director Chris Columbus returns to direct the wizarding phenomenon that has enchanted the world and he did a great job with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone but he’s done even better in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This time, the story is much darker yet it still keeps the lightness of the first movie close to its chest in the form of the music which, again, John Williams has done a terrific job of. As I have said in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone review, the music in the movies is truly magnificent and really adds to the feel of the movie whether it’s a happy, sad or touching moment. Just like Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has some truly great performances in the form of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. They played their parts perfectly as well as Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy and Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid. I must also mention Richard Harris, who was a brilliant actor, had played the part of Albus Dumbledore magnificently.

 

The CGI and special effects in the movie are great and the quality of the movie itself is brilliant. Just like the previous movie, the locations and the detail in the movie is just fantastic to watch and very colourful, you really feel like visiting the places where the movie was shot. The writing for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is well-written as, yet again, it’s quite a faithful adaptation to the book as it keeps the tone and mood, which is a little more darker than Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Although there’s a couple of things missing from the movie that was in the book, the movie does brilliantly by sticking to the story and the personality of the characters. Overall, I think that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is very loyal to the book and is in my top three favourite Potter movies at the moment (we’ll see if Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I will take over).

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is one of my favourite books from the series, along with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the movie does very well as an adaptation and Dobby has to be one of the most lovable characters in the entire series. A brilliant family movie that I would recommend to anybody with a family or anybody who likes magic and witchcraft movies.

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN

Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Writer: Steve Kloves
Based on the book by: J.K. Rowling
Producer: Chris Columbus/David Heyman/Mark Radcliffe
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe/Emma Watson/Rupert Grint/Michael Gambon/Alan Rickman/Gary Oldman/Emma Thompson/Timothy Spall
Year: 2004
Country: UK/US
BBFC Certification: PG
Duration: 142 minutes

With the quality of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, you’d have thought that the other movies surely couldn’t keep up but yet again, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban manages to out-do its predecessors. Harry goes back to Hogwarts when it is announced that serial killer, Sirius Black, has escaped from Azkaban, the wizard prison, and that everybody will be kept safe. However, Harry has a feeling something is following him. Yet again, the movie keeps the tone of the book, which is much darker and more grown-up than its previous years and more emotional too. The music by John Williams manages to capture the imagination of the book and set the mood and tone of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban just like it did with its previous years. Another brilliant thing about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the brilliant special effects. Buckbeak the Hippogriff looks very realistic and the creature has personality and character too. Also, the movie is very detailed from the magic to the Dementors and really adds that magical and imaginative touch to the movie. Even though Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is one of the darker Potter movies, it still manages to keep the strikingly beautiful scenery and make it a little more darker. Within the darkness of the movie, it keeps light through it’s humour and charm of the characters, creatures and magic.

 

Director Alphonso Cuaron takes over from Chris Columbus from directing the Potter movies and even though there’s a few things missing from the book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is still quite faithful to it’s source material so it was a welcoming change to see him make the movie more mature than the previous years. This movie is different to the last two because it really shows the more darker and sinister side to the wizarding world as it’s more grown-up and mature. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint give out a great performance yet again as our three young heroes Harry, Ron and Hermione and it’s great to see they step up their acting skills as they all play a more emotional role this time around. As ever, Alan Rickman does a great job in playing the part of the nasty Professor Snape and Gary Oldman is brilliant as Sirius Black. Many people believe that Michael Gambon doesn’t really make a great Albus Dumbledore and, while he is not Richard Harris, I thought that he did a great job nonetheless with his performance as the old and wise wizard. Yet again, a sequel improves from its last as you care for the characters and the creatures in the imaginative world and it’s striking locations. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban had a tough time of trying to be better than the previous years but I believe that it managed to do it brilliantly so I say well done to the cast and crew!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the favourite among Potter fans and, while I think it’s a great movie, it’s not my favourite movie from the series. I think that many people like this movie because we see Harry, Ron and Hermione mature and grow from children to young adults and the change is noticeable in this movie as we see more emotion from the characters. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets are brilliant family movies but I wouldn’t be too sure if Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban might be a little scarier for the younger audience. With a spell-binding story, fantastic performances all around and great direction and special effects, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a winner!

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE

Director: Mike Newell
Writer: Steve Kloves
Based on the book by: J.K. Rowling
Producer: David Heyman
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe/Emma Watson/Rupert Grint/Robert Pattinson/Michael Gambon/Alan Rickman/Ralph Fiennes/Timothy Spall/David Tennant
Year: 2005
Country: UK/US
BBFC Certification: 12
Duration: 157 minutes

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth installment in the Harry Potter movie and book series and Mike Newell sits in the director’s chair this time around. A tri-wizard tournament, a game where three students from wizarding schools around the globe must each face three deadly events, is taking place in Hogwarts. All seems good and well after three champions are chosen until Harry is mentioned as a fourth champion, who is underage to participate in the tournament, and must represent Hogwarts alongside Cedric Diggory while trying to find out who entered him in the tournament. Yet again, like the other Harry Potter movies, John Williams makes a fantastic contribution to the movie with his brilliant music along with the help of Patrick Doyle. The music really fits the mood of each scene and does a brilliant job of making each scene more emotional than it already is. One of the greatest things about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the performances as we see Harry, Ron and Hermione grow up and mature as the movies go on. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson improve their performances as each movie goes on and Twilight fans may be happy to see Robert Pattinson play Cedric Diggory, another Hogwarts champion. The performances from the cast were solid throughout, there’s not one bad thing I could say about any of the actors or actresses as they all depicted their characters perfectly. The characters in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire are brilliant and the movie really captures the personality of the characters in the book very well. As well as this being the start of when the Harry Potter franchise turns very dark and the characters start to grow up from children to teenagers, children will still like this for the magic and the humour, which once again lights up a little from the darkness of the movie.

 

The cinematography and camerawork involved in making Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is absolutely phenomenal as it’s beautifully shot involving fantastic special effects and breath-taking locations. The creatures involved in the movie are great to look at and look very realistic, which adds to the wonder and imagination of this magical world. Chris Columbus had directed the first two Harry Potter years and Alfonso Cuaron directed the third (which is considered to be a favourite among Potter fans) but I think that Mike Newell did a magnificent job in directing this movie and from making a book adaptation stand out so well as a movie and an adaptation of the book. Although there is three things I am disappointed about and that is that Winky (a house-elf from the book) is not in the movie at all and Hermione doesn’t do her campaign, S.P.E.W, which was a movement to gain basic rights for house-elves and I thought it was an important part of her character. I also thought that Albus Dumbledore didn’t behave correctly like he did in the books, he was wise, calm and rational but in the movie, he was more angry. Except for those minor details, I believe that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was a great movie and is definitely a very welcome addition to the movie series.

Even though there’s a few things missing from the book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a great adaptation and really captures the feeling and the mood of the book. It’s unfortunate that there’s sub-plots missing because, as a price, the character development and parts of the story were missing too. For me, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix are my favourite books and I think that the cast and crew have done a terrific job in making Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As the books go darker and more mature, so do the movies, however this could mean that some of the scenes in the movie might be too scary for a younger audience. If you want an adaptation that is one-hundred percent faithful to the book, then you will be disappointed as even though this is quite faithful, there’s a few things missing. However, if you’re a Potter fan and you like the movies for what they are, then this is for you.

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX

Director: David Yates
Writer: Michael Goldenberg
Based on the book by: J.K. Rowling
Producer: David Heyman/David Barron
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe/Emma Watson/Rupert Grint/Michael Gambon/Alan Rickman/Ralph Fiennes/Helena Bonham Carter/Imelda Staunton
Year: 2007
Country: UK/US
BBFC Certification: 12
Duration: 138 minutes

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth installment in the Harry Potter series and holds the title for the shortest Potter movie, while the book holds the title for the longest Potter book. With seven-hundred and sixty six pages of magical and enchanting adventures with Harry and friends, director David Yates had a job on his hands to make the longest Harry Potter book into a two and a half hour movie. However, Yates has done a great job in making a faithful and honest adaptation, even if there is some things missing. With the rumours of Lord Voldemort’s return laughed at, Harry and Dumbledore become targets by the Ministry of Magic, who are slowly but surely taking the reigns from Dumbledore as being Headmaster of Hogwarts. So the story follows the book quite closely although there’s a couple of sub-plots missing and a couple of scenes which are inaccurate to how they were portrayed in the book but if you excuse that, it’s brilliant to see the literature some of you may have grown up with on the screen. As I have previously just said in that sentence, there were things cut from the story but I believe that the important parts of the story was left in. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has fantastic performances all around from the cast and I couldn’t fault any of them as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint improve more and more each Potter movie. Each of their performances were very emotional and they really captured the personality of their characters very well. The greatest performances not only come from our favourite trio but also from Imelda Staunton and Helena Bonham Carter, who play Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange respectively. I thought Staunton’s portrayal as the vicious Dolores Umbridge was simply perfect as I felt exactly the same hatred for her character as I did in the book and Helena Bonham Carter plays Bellatrix fantastically, showing the evil, faithful and scared sides to her character.

 

There’s a few scenes in the movie which were done spectacularly and this is thanks to the special effects. The special effects used in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were quite impressive and nice to look at. Yet again, just like in the other Potter movies, the locations are very nice to the eye and the detail in the movie is great, but I can’t help but be disappointed about one sub-plot, which is missing and I think it was one of the important parts of the story simply because we got to learn more about Neville and his past. However, except for the missing sub-plots, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix focuses on the important story and sub-plots and Yates directs it very well as it must have been a tough job to make the longest Harry Potter book into a two and a half hour movie.

As always with the Harry Potter movies, everything improves just that little bit more and as each sequel goes on, they get a little better. As Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is my favourite book, I’m quite pleased as to how the movie has turned out. I was hoping everything from the book would be involved in the movie but I haven’t seen a book adaptation that has been one-hundred percent faithful to its source material so I knew it most likely wouldn’t have happened. For me, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix are my favourite books and are also my favourite movies too. If Potter fans out there can dismiss the fact that there’s some sub-plots missing from the book, they will not be disappointed at all.

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE

Directors: David Yates
Writers: Steve Kloves
Based on a novel by: J.K. Rowling
Producers: David Heyman/David Barron
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe/Rupert Grint/Emma Watson/Michael Gambon/Alan Rickman/Helena Bonham Carter
Year: 2009
Country: UK/US
BBFC Certification:
12
Duration: 153 minutes

Harry Potter returns for his sixth year at Hogwarts along with his best friends Ron and Hermione. This year, a new Potions Master, Professor Slughorn, teaches at Hogwarts. When Harry goes to one of Slughorn’s classes, he finds an old battered Potions textbook with scribbles all over it which, in the end, turns out useful to him. This book belongs to, drumroll please, the Half-Blood Prince. While Harry is fixated with the book, he must find out who the Half-Blood Prince is. The Half-Blood Prince has been much anticipated since November (it’s real release date before it was cancelled for July). So Harry Potter fans, like me, have been waiting for eight months for the release of this movie, watching the brilliant trailers, hoping the movie was going to be the same quality. Ladies and Gentlemen, I can tell you that the movie is just brilliant. OK, I promised myself I wouldn’t be one-sided in this review because I am a massive Harry Potter fan and I won’t. But even so, no-one can deny that this movie was just great.

The special effects were jaw-droppingly realistic and you could tell so much detail went into it. The best part to prove this was Quidditch and the cave Dumbledore and Harry went in. I've seen behind-the-scenes of this movie and saw that every little bit of that cave wasn't real, it was all entirely special effects and to me, that scene was amazingly real so good work to all the people who done the special effects. The story itself followed the book but it also went in it’s own direction which worked very well such as the Burrow being attacked. Daniel Radcliffe gave a very good performance but the actresses that outshined everyone, to me, was Helena Bonham Carter and Emma Watson. In my opinion, she played the jealous Hermione Granger fantastically. Her performance made me believe her jealousy and bitterness toward the person she loves. Rupert Grint, who plays the zero-to-hero Ron Weasley, made me laugh in some places of the movie and Michael Gambon who plays the greatest wizard of all-time, Albus Dumbledore, gave a terrific performance. Helena Bonham Carter, who plays baddie Bellatrix Lestrange, was just brilliant in the movie. I couldn't fault anyone's acting really (except for Daniel Radcliffe when he took the Felix Felicis).

Non-Potter fans will be asking questions about some parts of the movie that only fans will know but even so, the questions are obvious and will either be answered in this movie or the next. I can’t really pick a fault with this movie. However, I will say that, in my opinion, I thought that the ending was a little rushed and it felt like it was over in a split second. In the books, there was more to the ending but there wasn’t a lot in the movie but even so, the rushed ending would not spoil this marvellous movie for you.

I must say bravo to Director David Yates and all of the cast and crew for making a movie that was fantastically dark which was the mood of the book. I can guarantee you that this beats any movie that’s out now and is the best summer blockbuster of 2009! Potter fans and non-Potter fans will not be disappointed, I promise you that.

And to see what I thought of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 head over here.

About The Author

My name is Darren Camponi and I run a website called Darren Camponi which can be seen here: http://innersanctumreviews.wordpress.com/

2 Responses

  1. harry potter and the order of phoenix

    that involves humour. ” This is directly from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Tremedous feats of bravery, heart-pounding Quidditch matches, soul-sucking dementors, back stabbing-murder, triumph, disappointment, plot turns around every corner.

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