While it's true that I've seen all the Harry Potter movies several times each, there's nothing quite like watching them with your own kiddo for the first time. I know I mentioned this before, but we've moved much farther along in the series than I ever expected us to do.
But an interesting side effect of watching these movies again is that I'm starting to re-evaluate my rankings of them. No, no. Before you click over there, I have not ranked these films on my site at all. This is more of a gut reaction to these books and movies. And, up to this point, my favorite has always been book/movie three, The Prisoner of Azkaban.
There are a handful of reasons I love this book and film:
- It introduces readers/viewers to the character of Sirius Black, the man believed to be responsible for killing Harry's parents and who has spent the last 12 years atoning for it in Azkaban Prison. The role was played masterfully by Gary Oldman (what role doesn't he play masterfully?).
- This film brings Professor Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) into the fold. As much as I love Oldman as Sirius Black, Thewlis' Lupin is my favorite character in the series.
- This was the first movie not directed by Chris Columbus -- the helm being assumed by Alfonso Cuaron. So it took a decidedly darker turn and there was a lot of adjustment to the presentation of the setting itself. It legitimately looks completely different.
- The replacement of Richard Harris with Michael Gambon in the role of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore could have been an absolute disaster, and yet it wasn't. Harris died between movies and, thus, needed to be replaced. It is really the only example I can think of where an actor was replaced in the eight-film series. And it worked amazingly well.
- You learn so much about Harry's backstory in this film. Important details. Dark details.
All of this added up to a great film by my estimation.
However, I've noticed that I really have started to appreciate The Order of the Phoenix, book/movie five, a lot more lately. Some of these reasons include:
- It's a similarly dark storyline, but one that is very well handled and balanced nicely with well-timed moments of levity that hit perfectly.
- There are some great new characters that come into play in this movie such as Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) and Nymphadora Tonks (Natalia Tena). But, most amazing of all are Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge (the subject of many a meme lately) and Helena Bonham-Carter as Bellatrix LeStrange.
- The cold open with Harry taking on his cousin Dudley and his "gang" before the two are chased into a tunnel by a Dementor is one of my favorite scenes in the series.
- I will always have exceptionally fond memories of seeing this film with Katie in theaters in 3D IMAX. Flying on broomsticks through London and being in the Ministry of Magic while all those memory globes fall and shatter around you in 3D is nothing short of mindblowing.
- Plus, having Harry and Dumbledore finally be vindicated so people will finally start believing them is nice. That constant catfighting gets old.
Hmmm... maybe it's time to add the Harry Potter films to my Rankings page. Then, after I re-read them, I can add the books and I can also add in the Fantastic Beasts movies at some time in the future when I watch them. Could be cool.