*Same as with part one, the views expressed here are solely Alexx’s and the rest of Respawning are not to be punished for the opinions stated. All images for this article were sourced from the YouTube Movies YouTube channel.
Welcome back to part two of my ranking of the Harry Potter films. For the top four spots of this list there isn’t any one thing I can point at and say ‘I dislike this’ and from here on ranking these films proved profoundly difficult for me. I think this is why people rarely try to justify the order they put the Harry Potter films in but god damn it I’m going to try.
I hope you’ve already had a good cleansing cry after last week if your favourite Harry Potter films didn’t get onto the top half of this list (get over it Prisoner of Azkaban fans) and let’s get right into it.
The Harry Potter spoilers and strong language warning continue from last week.
4) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Philosopher’s. Stone. Not Sorcerer’s Stone. In fairness, 100% of Americans I have spoken to where this subject has come up have said they call it Philosopher’s Stone too. I often wonder if the exec who decided to run with a different title is still working today..
The Philosopher’s Stone is one of the few examples of a film that is just as good as its source material. Every character looks precisely as you imagined them from the book, and the majesty of Alnwick Castle which was used for the Hogwarts interior and exterior shots is simply breathtaking.
The Philosopher’s Stone is a solid 10/10 film with huge amounts of rewatchability, and in stark contrast to J.K. Rowling herself, has aged tremendously well. I wish the film had shown off more of the interior of Gringotts to really drive the point home of how it is nigh on impossible to break into, but as this was eventually covered in the final film I’m willing to let this petty gripe slide.
3) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One
The fact this film is so high on the list when its two predecessors are right down at the bottom is all the evidence you need as to how amazing it is. I could leave this entry here, but I won’t, aren’t I nice.
One of the biggest regrets of my life, and there aren’t many, is that I didn’t see either part of the Deathly Hallows in the cinema as I was completely put off the film side of the franchise after how painfully shit the Half Blood Prince film was.
This film nails every frame and feeling that it wants to in a seemingly effortless fashion. You want to be scared? Boom, crazy snake lady. You want to be sad? Boom, Ron has a tantrum and leaves. You want suspense? Boom, the heist in the Ministry of Magic.
I could go on and on, and I will, and you’ll be fucking pleased about it.
You want an uplifting character moment? Boom, Harry and Hermione’s dance scene. You want a high octane action set piece? Boom, Harry and Hagrid on the flying motorbike that spits fire. You want a deep and thrilling mystery? Boom, doe Patronus.
And then of course.. You want absolute unfiltered nightmare fuel that an endless amount of therapy won’t allow you to forget? Boom, Hermione’s torture scene.
I could go on and on even more, but I won’t.
The adventures and life changing experiences that Harry, Ron and Hermione go through in this film are nothing short of jaw-dropping, and every second of the Deathly Hallows films are made unforgettable by their incredible stories and hugely talented cast.
Part two of me uncontrollably extolling the virtues of the Deathly Hallows films continues…right now!
2) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two
If any book in existence deserved to have its feature film split into two parts then this is it. I have never watched either part of the Deathly Hallows separately as I always watch them back to back. The Deathly Hallows: Part Two is one of my favourite films of the last decade for how it perfectly captures the varied and complex twists of the final Harry Potter book.
There are no words for expressing how much I fucking adore the moment Professor McGonagall brushes Harry aside to fiercely face down Snape in the Great Hall. The gasps from the students echo my own as Harry emerges from the crowd in his Hogwarts robes, and then again as McGonagall strides forward, wand drawn, ready to completely fucking atomise Snape if he doesn’t flee like a little bitch (which he ultimately isn’t but we don’t know that yet).
The redemption of Snape in the Pensieve is one of the most beautifully harrowing moments in cinema history, and genuinely for that scene alone is enough justification for its spot as the penultimate entry on this list. I could go on and on for ten thousand words (and one day I might) about this masterpiece of a film but it’s time for me to gush about my favourite Harry Potter film, which by now you must have worked out which it is.
Actually, I’ll conclude this entry with the one word capable of reducing most Harry Potter fans to tears which gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
1) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Before you say anything, prepare to shut the fuck up. I find myself frequently baffled by people who don’t love this film like I do and I often find it in the bottom three of rankings of Harry Potter films and I’ve no idea why. Yes, you could say that I should read the points raised by others about why they don’t love this film but I always find myself clicking away in disgust at the mere mention of Goblet of Fire in anywhere but the top half of a list.
The tiniest grievance I will confess is that we don’t get to watch the Quidditch World Cup match between Ireland and Bulgaria, but in all honesty as we don’t really know any of the players I got over this very quickly. For me, the lack of watching the match was swiftly overshadowed by the Death Eater rampage through the campground. The book version of events is far darker so I’m not surprised it didn’t make it into the film, though the appearance of David Tennant conjuring the Dark Mark (MORSMOOOOORDRE) is fucking great.
The lesson of the Unforgivable Curses, which is already a profoundly dark scene, is made much darker in hindsight when you consider Barty Crouch Junior is actively taunting Neville and Ron having been active in attacking their parents in the past. It isn’t stated in the film but the books make it clear that Crouch Junior was instrumental in the torture and irreparable psychological damage inflicted on Neville’s parents, and it wasn’t only Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange who tortured them.
Fast-forward from that moment to the scene in the Goblet of Fire, and Crouch Junior is taking active delight in showing Neville and his classmates the curse he used to essentially render Neville an orphan. Fucking dark stuff, but as that’s what the franchise gravitates more and more towards you have to acknowledge this particularly horrid nugget of information.
The scene in the graveyard is absolutely spectacular, showing Harry’s courage, willpower and nerves of steel to face down the man who murdered his parents whilst having no back-up of his own. Voldemort’s folly in not attempting to kill Harry immediately upon returning is undeniable proof that you should never play with your food.
I have always pondered as to why the book and film is called ‘the Goblet of Fire’, as it seems odd to name a book after an object that is hardly featured which is supposedly impossible to trick but is tricked regardless. That’s not an issue with the film, that’s on J.K. Rowling.
Thus ends my ranking of the Harry Potter films. I am incredibly confident I’ve ruffled a lot of (owl) feathers in this list and yes, I am very pleased with myself. Do let me know why your opinion is more correct than mine in the comments or on Twitter @MaliceVER where I am available to argue until the death of the Universe as to why my list is the best. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back here next week with a less controversial article.