I’ve been in a Harry Potter movie mood the last few weeks and then burned through the last 4 over the last 3 days. It’s what you do when your wife is sick and has to take call. And, since I’m all about the rankings here at maddogesquire.com, I figured I’d finish up my Thanksgiving (although it’s really Black Friday at this point) by doing a quick ranking of the movies. Yeah, I’ve also read the books, but 8 installments of about 2 1/2 hours in front of the TV works better for me right now. And for ease of making the list, I’m going to leave off the “Harry Potter and” part of the titles. I think you’ll still be able to follow.
- Prisoner of Azkaban. I started this rewatch already inclined to put this one at the top of the list. Nothing I saw changed my mind. The Potter movies gradually turn darker, as I’m sure you know. Prisoner of Azkaban starts the Sirius Black arc in movies 3-5 and I really enjoy the relationship between Harry and Sirius. So, by the end of that arc, when Sirius is killed and everybody acknowledges that the Dark Lord is back, we’re in full on dark mode. In Azkaban, though, it’s still got a touch of the light, kiddie feel of the first two movies. I’m also a sucker for a good time travel story and this one is good. Plus, I think Remus is the best defense against the Dark Arts teacher and Buckbeak rocks.
- Deathly Hallows, Part Two. I put this one here because, well, Voldemort gets his, finally. Neville has some good scenes. Snape gets a little redemption. Give me my happy endings all tied up in a little bow. The couples couple off, including Neville and Luna. Professor McGonagall gets to be a bit of a bad ass. Mrs. Weasley gets to finish off Bellatrix. Harry gets a stand up to Snape moment, with assistance from Professor McGonagall. The Epilogue is just OK for me, but at least they included one.
- Goblet of Fire. Even though Mad Eye in this one was just Barty Crouch with a polyjuice potion, I love Mad Eye’s character. There’s a lot of Mad Eye in this one, so that’s a big plus. I like the structure of this story, based around the tests the contestants have to pass to become Tri-Wizard Champion. They did less of the classroom stuff in this one, which worked well. This is the second movie in the Sirius arc. Where Azkaban was a little dark with more lighthearted moments, this one is the opposite. There are some lighter moments, but the darkness, culminating in Cedric’s death at the end of the movie, is a sign of things to come.
- Order of the Phoenix. Dolores Umbridge is just the worst. A very good secondary villain. Maybe the best in all of the movies. The last movie in the Sirius arc. Harry really grows up and becomes a leader here, with his time teaching Dumbledore’s Army. If you weren’t sure that the movies were going to turn dark after Cedric’s death, you sure knew it after Sirius was killed. I like how they built the tension at Hogwarts with Dolores’ increasing level of authority at the school. It should be no surprise that she was a major figure at the Ministry of Magic after Voldemort took it over in Deathly Hallows, Part One.
- Chamber of Secrets. One of the two light, kiddie movies. This one lands higher in my ranking because of the introduction of Tom Marvolo Riddle, aka I Am Lord Voldemort. Myrtle is a fun character and the storyline with students partially stunned by the Basilisk holds up.
- Sorceror’s Stone. The series began here. It’s fine. Nothing much beyond that to say.
- Deathly Hallows, Part One. This is a necessary movie to get to the #2 movie on my list. I didn’t like the section of the movie where Ron was recovering from their escape from the Ministry of Magic. A little too reminiscent of The Hobbit. Whoever was wearing the locket got irritated? Meh. I like the movies better when the main three are working together and this one failed at that. Plus Dobby died.
I mentioned above that Remus is the best DADA teacher. A quick ranking.
- Remus. He’s a werewolf. But cool. And he’s an auror and taught them a spell.
- Mad Eye Moody. It wasn’t really Moody, but I dig Mad Eye, so he’s #2.
- Severus Snape. I give him credit for helping Harry with occlumency. In the movies we didn’t really see much instruction from him.
- Gilderoy Lockhart. He did a little dueling with them, even though he wasn’t good at it.
- Professor Quirrell. He had Voldemort on the back of his head.
- Dolores Umbridge. She’s the worst.
- Amycus Carrow. I guess he was in the books – Deathly Hallows – although I don’t remember him.