So since I gave you my rankings of every Harry Potter book, I thought I’d do it for the movies as well. You’ll see that it’s pretty different from the book ranking, but I have a good reason for this!
Warning: Like in the last post, there are FEELINGS about these movies, so tread lightly.
8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This may seem odd, since Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is my favorite Harry Potter book, but that is actually why it is my least favorite movie. I went into the theater when this movie came out with the highest expectations; because it is my favorite book of the series, I was expecting it to be my favorite movie and it fell ridiculously short. It was to the point where after the movie I immediately went home to find my Order of the Phoenix book (which had been missing for almost a year) to read as a cleansing palate.
Going back to it later, it actually wasn’t that bad of a movie, but every time I see it I remember how angry I was initially and that taints it. It does have some good parts, like Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge, and the epic battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort, but my main complaint is that they skip over so much important stuff. They barely show Kreacher, or the scene where the gang finds a horcrux in Grimmauld Place but disregards it because they don’t know how important it is, or even simple part where Sirius gives Harry the two-way mirror. They also handle the Fred and George Weasley rebellion terribly, partly because they don’t show how they and Harry are banned from Quidditch early on (THERE’S NO QUIDDITCH AT ALL), partly because they don’t show the other rebellious things they do like fill a corridor with a swamp, and partly because the whole series threw out Peeves who is the beast of mayhem.
I could go on forever about this movie, but my main problem is that they skip SO MUCH that not only do they mess with the actual plot but it also takes a lot of the humor out that is so important to the balance of the Harry Potter series. Angsty-Harry is more depressed-Harry, which is fine but angsty-Harry is ALWAYS the best Harry.
7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Most of the feelings that I have about Chamber of Secrets as a movie are the same or very similar to the feelings I have about the story as a book. Chamber of Secrets is actually a really good movie and actually scared me when it first came out (I was like 8). I actually remember seeing this movie in the theater because I was with my brother (who was 6 at the time) and my friends and when the basilisk came out, I looked over to see if my brother was okay and he had straight left the theater.
Also, one of my favorite things about this movie is Ron’s facial expressions. Daniel, Rupert, and Emma were so over-expressive in their early acting years but Rupert in this movie especially was the clear winner (while Emma definitely won that award in Sorcerer’s Stone).
6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Sorcerer’s Stone is a good movie (honestly I don’t think any of the Harry Potter films are bad). It introduces the Wizarding World very well and gets us right into the conflict with Voldemort. Like in the books, it’s great to be learning about what is going on as Harry does. The acting from Daniel, Rupert, and Emma is super exaggerated (especially Emma as Hermione) but at this point it’s just endearing, especially since you can watch their acting improve throughout the series.
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
I like Goblet of Fire, but it’s another one that I don’t think fully lived up to the greatness of the book. One of the things that always bothers me about the beginning of this movie is that Harry isn’t at the Dursleys at any point. While this may seem like an odd complaint (because who likes the Dursleys), those who have read the books may remember that the Weasleys actually come and pick Harry up from Number 4 Privet Drive so that he can go to the Quidditch World Cup with them and stay at the Burrow. Seeing the Weasleys and Dursleys together breeds hilarity and an awesome prank by Fred and George and I really wish we could have seen it on the big screen. There’s also no Winky, who was a big plot point in the books. And we don’t get to see the kitchens.
To be honest, the movie franchise in general was pretty disrespectful to the house elves in general. After Dobby in Chamber of Secrets, they more or less ignored the existence of house elves until they had to show Kreacher in Order of the Phoenix and then show the two of them together in Deathly Hallows Part 1.
Other than that, the movie is really good, and I particularly like the scenes where Harry and Ron are fighting and then when they make up. It’s super cute and really representative of the stupid fights you get into when you’re a teenager. Also seeing Voldemort come back on the big screen was pretty amazing. I still can’t look at Ralph Fiennes without imagining him without a nose.
There was also this awesome Harry Potter-Doctor Who cross in the form of the Tenth Doctor as Barty Crouch Jr.
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
This is only as low as it is on the list because of my love of the rest of the movies. A part of the reason though is because of the fact that it is mostly the trio traveling up and down the countryside looking for horcruxes—although they do put a good amount of action in it. There are a couple of scenes I wish we could have seen like Harry discovering Sirius and Regulus’s rooms in Number 12 Grimmauld Place, Harry and Hermione under Polyjuice Potion in Godric’s Hollow, and the whole storyline with Dean Thomas being on the run. I mean, come on Deathly Hallows, how you gonna deprive us of THIS face???
Anyway, I still really love this movie. One of my favorite scenes is the Tale of the Three Brothers. The animation there is so great and the tone is so consistent with the rest of the film that it’s almost strange that it was an old children’s fairy tale.
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
As dark as the later Harry Potter movies get, this one is actually pretty fun. I love this movie because of the great balance between the dark atmosphere and the humor—in a way, I think it succeeds where Order of the Phoenix falls short. There are so many moments where I laughed out loud, especially because of silly/sassy-Harry who is ALMOST as great as angsty-Harry. Also, the movie does really well at developing the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore, even though I kind of wish we had more Pensieve scenes.
My only critiques are that they took out the battle at Hogwarts between the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters at the end of the movie. After watching Dumbledore die, I expected Harry to go follow Snape and have to fight his way through a battle in the corridors between the Order and the Death Eaters but it just didn’t happen and I couldn’t understand why. It is especially perplexing because Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour’s relationship is pretty important in this part of the story, and it never comes up, leading to an awkward two lines about the two of them in the very beginning of Deathly Hallows Part 1. It’s even worse when you realize that the writers added a totally stupid and unnecessary scene where the Burrow is attacked by Death Eaters. I hate the scene so much it’s just so random and nothing comes of it later.
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
I love this movie for very similar reasons to why I love the book. Gary Oldman is the best at being Sirius and Remus Lupin is the best while still being the saddest character ever in the Harry Potter series. We get to see Ms. Trunchable-as-Aunt Marge float off into the sky and the Whomping Willow/Shrieking Shack is great, especially the reveal and Snape’s grudge against the Maruaders. TIME TRAVEL continues to be the best plot device ever. However, one of the reasons this isn’t my all time favorite Harry Potter movie is because of this guy:
I know as a black person I should maybe be happy when we have more representation in movies that we don’t have much in, but I have an irrational hate of this kid. He just pops up saying the most random lines that either an already existing minor character like Lavender Brown, Parvati Patel, or Dean Thomas could have said, or that MAKE NO SENSE WHAT SO EVER.
Tell me, HOW DO YOU CATCH SMOKE WITH OR WITHOUT YOUR BARE HANDS, SIR? HOW?
Sorry. This kid just really bothers me. Let’s move on the number 1.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
This is definitely the best Harry Potter movie. Part of it, I’m sure is that it’s the latest one so special effects wise it is definitely superior (although special effects in this series have never really been a problem). There are some great scenes like when Helena Bonham-Carter is pretending to be Emma Watson pretending to be Hermione pretending to be Bellatrix in Gringotts. And then there’s a dragon in the first thirty minutes or so. And then there’s the Battle of Hogwarts, which is so great. It’s all chaos and guilty-Harry and badass McGonagall and loyal Hogwarts students. There’s the Room of Requirement scene, and Snape being killed by Nagini (which is really sad even though I don’t really mess with him). There’s also the horrible deaths of Lupin, Tonks, and Fred.
I don’t really like the way they handle Dumbledore’s backstory in either parts of Deatlhy Hallows, mostly because they seem to be torn between addressing it and not addressing it at all. Dumbledore’s story was so well done in the book that it’s kind of painful to watch them sort of talk about it and then not come back to it until they remember that Aberforth Dumbledore has to help the trio into Hogwarts through Arianna Dumbledore’s painting and that they should probably mention it again. They barely talk about Albus’s relationship with Grindelwald or how he got the Elder Wand. Even after Harry “dies,” he and Dumbledore talk more about Harry and Voldemort than Dumbledore and his family issues. I would have rather them leave it out than half-ass it like they did, but of course I would have been angry if they left it out too.
So those are my rankings! Thanks for sticking through this with me. Feel free to add a comment below about your own rankings/why you agree or disagree with me/some of your favorite scenes in any of the Harry Potter movies!