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Harry, Ron and Hermione

Harry flying

Dumbledore

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Originally released in the UK as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.




Warner Brothers Theatrical release November 2001, 2 hours 32 minutes.

Directed by Chris Columbus. Story written by J.K. Rowling. Screenplay by Steve Kloves.

Story written by J.K. Rowling. Screenplay by Steve Kloves.

Starring Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore, Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, Harry Melling as Dudley Dursley, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Alan Rickman as Professor Snape, Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom, Richard Griffiths as Uncle Vernon Dursley, Fiona Shaw as Aunt Petunia Dursley, Ian Hart as Professor Quirrell / Voldemort, Warwick Davis as Goblin Bank Teller / Professor Flitwick / Voice of Griphook, Zoe Wanamaker as Madame Hooch, and John Cleese as Nearly Headless Nick.

The evil wizard, Voldemort, kills Harry's parents. When he attempts to kill the infant Harry, the spell backfires, almost killing him, and leaving Harry with a scar on his forehead. Hagrid and Dumbledore give Harry to his aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley. His aunt and uncle force Harry to live under the stairs and treat him like a slave.

Harry's aunt, uncle, and cousin Dudley are a bit too far-fetched to take seriously. Although well played, they are ridiculous and not believable.

Once Harry gets to Hogwarts, he meets Hermione and Ron. All three are placed in Gryffindor House and become fast friends.

Although the title would lead the viewer to believe that the movie revolves around the sorcerer's stone, most of the time is spent in setting up Harry's life, introducing the characters, and exploring Hogwarts.

The stone plays a crucial role but not until the movie's end.

Alan Rickman is just wonderful as Severus Snape. He just looks and sounds evil, although he isn't.

Hagrid is another well-cast character. At 6'1", Robbie Coltrane is tall but not nearly as tall as Hagrid. The special effects used to make him appear so big work perfectly.

This is not a plot-driven movie. Instead, it focuses on the characters and the society.

There were many places in this movie where the music strongly resembles Star Wars. John Williams wrote the music for both movies. Star Wars Episode 2 Attack of the Clones was released in 2002, as was The Sorcerer's Stone, so he might have been working on both scores at the same time or one right after the other.

It is interesting to see how Ron and Hermione stay with Harry, giving him help and support until just before Voldemort comes into the picture. The chess game disables both of them, and they tell Harry that no matter what happens to them, he must continue.

This is a common and useful plot contrivance. The hero must prevail without help. For example, in The Lord of the Rings, Sam is right there supporting Frodo all the way up Mount Doom. But at the last minute, Sam is left behind, and Frodo fights Gollum all by himself. Of course, this isn't the end of Voldemort. That would be the end of the story, and there are too many more books and movies to defeat the source of evil in episode one.

Reviewed by Romana Drew July 22, 2022.















Harry

Ron

Hermoine

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets




Directed by Chris Columbus. Story by J.K. Rowling. Screenplay by Steve Kloves.

Warner Brothers Theatrical Film, eeleased November 2002, 2 hours and 41 minutes.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore, Alan Rickman as Professor Snape, Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid The Giant, Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall , Shirley Henderson as Moaning Myrtle, Christian Coulson as Tom Riddle, Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Toby Jones as Dobby (voice), Richard Griffiths as Uncle Vernon, Fiona Shaw as Aunt Petunia, Harry Melling as Dudley Dursley, James Phelps as Fred Weasley, Oliver Phelps as George Weasley, Julie Walters as Mrs. Weasley, Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley, Mark Williams as Mr. Weasley, Chris Rankin as Percy Weasley, Tom Knight as Mr Granger, Heather Bleasdale as Mrs Granger, David Bradley as Argus Filch, and John Cleese as Nearly Headless Nick.

The Chamber of Secrets begins with the Weasleys rescuing Harry from his aunt and uncle's imprisonment using a flying car. Harry and Ron miss platform nine and three quarters. They take the flying car and follow the train to Hogwarts. There they crash into the whomping willow. A very exciting and enjoyable opening.

The whopping willow reminded me of the car in the tree in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park.

Once at Hogwarts, things go bad. Harry hears voices that no one else can hear. Students are injured. The Chamber of Secrets is open. Evil has been released. And Harry is in danger.

Hagrid is accused of opening the chamber and sent to Askaban.

This movie has lots of spiders, messages in blood, petrified people, and giant snakes. Unlike the The Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets puts the main characters in jeopardy early in the movie so more time is spent solving the mystery than exploring the society.

New characters are introduced in this movie, especially Moaning Myrtle, Ron's family, Dobby the house elf, and a dubious character named Lucius Malfoy, Draco's father.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione each contribute to the search for who opened the chamber and what monster it might hold. But, as in the previous movie, something happens to take Ron and Hermione out of the picture near the end, leaving Harry to confront Voldemort alone.

The movie does tell us something of Voldemort's early life, but not why he turned so evil.

Moaning Myrtle is a great character. She looks, sounds, and acts about twelve, is supposed to be fourteen, but the actress who plays her, Shirley Henderson, was thirty-seven at the time. Costuming and makeup help, as does the fact that Myrtle is a ghost so we don't ever get a clear picture of her. But most of the credit goes to Ms. Henderson's acting skill. She makes Myrtle one of the most memorable characters in the movie.

The Chamber of Secrets is a deep maze of caverns and a monster of sorts. The Basilisk is quite will done. The giant snake slithers along looking both huge and real. Although it is obvious that Harry will prevail, the battle is filled with tension. And, the way the characters exit the deep caverns is unique and quite wonderful.

The Chamber of Secrets is a great movie, fast paced, with lots of excitement and humor.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 7, 2022.















Hermione and Draco

Hermione, Harry, and Ron

Sirius Black

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban




Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Story by J.K. Rowling. Screenplay by Steve Kloves.

Warner Bros. Theatrical release May 2004, 1 hour 22 minutes.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore, Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew, Gary Oldman as Sirius Black, Richard Griffiths as Uncle Vernon, Fiona Shaw as Aunt Petunia, Harry Melling as Dudley Dursley, Pam Ferris as Aunt Marge, Adrian Rawlins as James Potter, Geraldine Somerville as Lily Potter, David Thewlis as Professor Lupin, David Bradley as Argus Filch, Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape, Maggie Smith as Professor Minerva McGonagall, Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom, Mark Williams as Mr. Arthur Weasley, Emma Thompson as Professor Sybil Trelawney, and Warwick Davis as Wizard.

Harry spends the summer at Dursley's house. When Vernon's sister Marge comes to dinner, she mercilessly insults Harry and his parents. Harry loses his temper and blows her up. She is last seen flying through the sky. He runs away and is picked up by the Knight Bus and taken to the Leaky Cauldron. There he meets Ron and Hermione, learns that Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban, and makes his way to Hogwarts.

On the way, he is nearly killed by a Dementor, an evil creature sent to search for Sirius Black.

This movie puts Harry in jeopardy before he even gets to Hogwarts. Not only are the dementors after him, but Sirius Black also seems bent on finding Harry. However, Black is a more complex character than he appears at first.

Quidditch doesn't play as significant a role in this film as in the previous two, but there is a wild match in a drenching rain.

Although Voldemort doesn't make an appearance, Harry learns more about the circumstances surrounding his parents' deaths.

There are a couple of scenes that stand out. Hermione puts Draco Malfoy in his place. And she takes an exciting ride on the whomping willow. Scabbers proves himself to be more than just a rat.

Timothy Spall does a wonderful job as Peter Pettigrew. Did he always look like that, or did living twelve years as a rat change him? And Emma Thompson provides great comic relief as the Divination teacher, Professor Sybil Trelawne.

More time passes in the real world than passes in the films. So the actors age faster than their characters. However, it still works. You can see that Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson have aged. However, they are still able to portray the younger characters.

Richard Harris has passed away. Michael Gambon plays Dumbledore in this movie. He does a fine job.

There are really two conclusions, or rather the conclusion is shown twice. Usually, the heron must face the bad guy alone as Harry did in the previous movies. However, Hermione is with Harry, but she stands back and doesn't help. So, Harry still meets the challenge by himself.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 17,2022.















Ron, Hermione, and Harry

Voldemort and Harry

Snape, Harry, and Ron

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire




Directed by Mike Newell. Story by J.K. Rowling. Screenplay by Steve Kloves

Warner Brother Theatrical Film released November 20052, hours 37 minutes.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom, Shirley Henderson as Moaning Myrtle, Gary Oldman as Sirius Black, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore, Brendan Gleeson as Alastor 'MadEye' Moody, Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort, Stanislav Yanevski as Viktor Krum, Clˇmence Poˇsy as Fleur Delacour, David Bradley as Argus Filch, Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, Adrian Rawlins as James Potter, Geraldine Somerville as Lily Potter, Timothy Spall as Wormtail, David Tennant as Barty Crouch Junior, Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley, James Phelps as Fred Weasley, Oliver Phelps as George Weasley, Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley, Jeff Rawle as Amos Diggory, Robert Pattinson as Cedric Diggory, Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Robert Hardy as Cornelius Fudge, Roger Lloyd Pack as Barty Crouch, Devon Murray as Seamus Finnigan, Afshan Azad as Padma Patil, Angelica Mandy as Gabrielle Delacour, Miranda Richardson as Rita Skeeter, and Katie Leung as Cho Chang.

Students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arrive at Hogwarts to compete in the Triwizard Tournament. Anyone over seventeen can write their name on a piece of parchment and toss it into the goblet of fire. The goblet will choose three students to compete in the tournament.

The goblet spits out Fleur Delacour from the Beauxbatons, Viktor Krum from the Durmstrang, and Cedric Diggory from Hogwarts. Then it spits out fourteen year old Harry Potter's name.

That causes a bit of commotion. In the end, Harry is accepted as a participant. Since no one under seventeen could get near the goblet, someone must have added Harry's name.

Throughout the movie, Harry is befriended by Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody, the new defense against the dark arts teacher.

Harry competes in the tournament and predictably has a run in with Voldemort.

This is an exciting move with lots of action and great special effects, however there are a few questions left unanswered.

When Harry is selected for the Triwizard tournament, best friend Ron Weasley turns against him. That doesn't make any sense. It feels very out of character, slows down the movie, and doesn't further the plot. Thankfully several other sub plots in the book are deleted in the movie or it would be way too long.

A great deal of time seems to pass between the different events, leaving one to wonder what the Beauxbaton and Durmstrang students do during that time. Do they have their own classes? Of course, they need to be there for the Yule Ball so Harry and Ron can get jealous of Hermione. Another side story that doesn't further the plot.

Why aren't the other two schools co-ed like Hogwarts? And why are they so stereotypically sexist. Fleur Delacour feels more like a token woman than a serious competitor. She apparently defeats the dragon challenge which isn't covered. She fails at the underwater test and is too easily taken out of the maze.

Viktor Krum is equally stereotypical.

Harry may be the one doing the action, but he doesn't solve the problems. Even Heromine takes a back seat when it comes to problem solving. Professor Moody gives Harry a hint on how to defeat the dragon. Neville Longbottom gives Harry the Gillyweed. Cedric Diggory tells him the secret to the dragon egg. Moaning Myrtle helps Harry the discover the final hint.

The two most interesting characters in the film are 'Mad-Eye' Moody played by Brendan Gleeson. And Barty Crouch Jr. played by David Tennant. Although Tennant isn't on the screen for very long, the character is fantastic, memorable, and evil.

Goblet of Fire is darker and less fun than the previous movies. It is much more male dominated with the female characters taking a back seat in both the problem solving and the action.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 24, 2022.















Sirius Black and Harry

Harry and Neville Longbottom

Dolores Umbridge and Cornelius Fudge

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix




Directed by David Yates. Story by J. K. Rowling. Screenplay by Michael Goldenberg.

Warner Bros. Theatrical Film released July 2007, 2 hours 18 minutes.

Starring; Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, Gary Oldman as Sirius Black, Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore, Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort, Brendan Gleeson as Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody, Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley, David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, Julie Walters as Mrs. Weasley, James Phelps as Fred Weasley, Oliver Phelps as George Weasley, Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley, Robert Hardy as Cornelius Fudge, Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood, Harry Melling as Dudley Dursley, Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley, Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley, Adrian Rawlins as James Potter, Geraldine Somerville as Lily Potter, Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Chris Rankin as Percy Weasley, Sian Thomas as Amelia Bones, Jamie Waylett as Vincent Crabbe, Josh Herdman as Gregory Goyle, Katie Leung as Cho Chang, David Bradley as Argus Filch, Devon Murray as Seamus Finnigan and Emma Thompson as Sybil Trelawney.

Harry and Dudley are attacked by Dementors on the way home from school. Harry uses the Patronus Charm to save himself and Dudley. Then Harry is expelled for using magic in front of a Muggle.

Harry is rescued, taken to Hogwarts, and cleared of all charges. But dreams of Voldemort disrupt his sleep.

At Hogwarts, Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge doesn't believe Voldemort has returned. Hagrid has been replaced. And the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge, is a sadistic megalomaniac who eventually takes over Hogwarts.

The first part of The Order of the Phoenix is a bit depressing. Harry is unhappy, alone, abandoned by Dumbledore, and abused by Dolores Umbridge. The middle of the film gets better. Harry and friends find a way to secretly train to fight Voldemort. Harry falls for Cho Chang. And we learn about Neville Longbottom's parents. Serius Black returns to help Harry.

The ending, although exciting is not very satisfying. As expected, Voldemort escapes, as he must because this isn't the last movie. But Harry doesn't confront him. For most of the final battle, Harry cowers in the corner while Voldemort and Dumbledore go at it. Harry does have a bit of a one on one with Voldemort after the main battle is over, but it feels more like an afterthought than a victory.

There are a couple of great characters in the movie. Helena Bonham Carter does a beautiful job as Bellatrix Lestrange, an insane and completely evil escapee from Askaban. Luna Lovegood, played by Evanna Lynch is able to see the same creatures Harry fears. She seems too delicate to survive even the simplest of threats, but proves to be strong and resilient in the end.

And there is an attraction developing between Ron and Hermione.

Since this is supposed to be a year after the previous movie, the characters should be fifteen years old. But the actors age in real time and the movies are filmed a couple of years apart. Emma Watson still looks young enough to be fifteen, but Daniel Radcliff and especially Rupert Grint are beginning to look older than their characters. This is an observation not a criticism. They played their parts perfectly.

Die hard Harry Potter fans will like this movie, but if you are more of a casual Harry Potter fan, I think this movie could be skipped without losing much in the way of story context. Too many characters get too abused for my tastes. And there is little progress toward eventually defeating Voldemort.

Reviewed by Romana Drew September 1, 2022.















Harry and Dumbledore in the clock tower

Draco and Friends

Severus Snape

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince




Directed by David Yates. Story by J.K. Rowling. Screenplay by Steve Kloves.

Warner Bros. Theatrical Film, released July 2009, 2 hours 33 minutes.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, Michael Gambon as Professor Albus Dumbledore, Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, David Bradley as Argus Filch, Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom, Jim Broadbent as Professor Horace Slughorn, Geraldine Somerville as Lily Potter, Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley, Julie Walters as Molly Weasley, Helen McCrory as Narcissa Malfoy, Timothy Spall as Wormtail, Oliver Phelps as George Weasley, James Phelps as Fred Weasley, Jessie Cave as Lavender Brown, Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood, Maggie Smith as Professor Minerva McGonagall, Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley, and Katie Leung as Cho Chang.

Harry, now 16, is ordered by Dumbledore to make friends with Horace Slughorn, the new Potions teacher so he can find out what Slughorn and Tom Riddle discussed a long time ago. Harry is late to Potions class and must take the only book left, a used one.

The book was once the property of the Half-Blood Prince. It has annotations for improving the potions and spells. Using one of the spells, Harry almost kills Draco Malfoy. Hermione tries to find out who the Half-Blood Prince is but fails.

The plot to this movie is fairly straight forward, find out what happened between Slughorn and Tom Riddle, but there are lots of side stories.

Ron, now on the Quidditch team has his hands full with Lavender Brown's infatuation, Herminie's jealousy, and his determination to keep his sister Ginny and Harry apart.

Severus Snape, makes a deal with Draco Malfoy's mother to keep him safe no matter what - a deal with the devil so to speak. It's unclear if Snape has turned to the dark side, or if he is still following Dumbledore's orders. That revelation is yet to come.

This movie sets the scene for the conclusion. In order to defeat Voldemort, all of his bits and pieces must be destroyed. He has divided his soul into several parts and stored them in devices called horcruxes, a ring, a book and a pendent and who knows what else.

In the previous movies, Harry confronts Voldemort in a final battle. That doesn't happen in this movie. Instead, Harry and Dumbledore fight creatures during their search for a horcrux, and then return to Hogwarts. Rather then a concluding battle, the fight is more of a side story. Also, Harry doesn't do much to stop the creatures, that is all Dumbledore.

Even back at Hogwarts, Harry does little to drive the conclusion. Although this is the set up for the conclusion, Harry doesn't really grow in strength or skill. Ron and Herminie also, don't show much growth, other than their romantic feelings, and Ron's ability to play Quidditch.

This movie is needed to make sense of the next two, but there is a lot of time filling distraction in between the actual events that drive the plot.

The Half-Blood Prince has a bit of a surprise and not happy ending, which will be explained in the concluding movie.

Pay attention to Dumbledore's wand during the action in the clock tower.

Reviewed by Romana Drew September 13, 2022.