Wizards Are Real. Harry Potter is Non-Fiction.
So fair warning, I am about to nerd out with this post.
I'm 8 years old, and it's the weekend. My sister and I have been wanting to go to the movies all week and our parents decided we should go see the new Harry Potter movie. I had read the book which had increased my excitement for the movie. We walk up to Regal Cinemas and look in shock at the amount of fans standing in line to get into the movie. I didn't realize that I wasn't as big of a fan as I had thought I was. Wizard hats, gowns, wands and broomsticks galore. I'm confused by the hype. My 8 year old mind sneers at the obscenity then moves on to other observations and thoughts. Like what size popcorn Madi and I should split. We finally sit down in our seats and the movie starts........ unaware that my movie experience is about to change for the better.
I vividly remember my thoughts about that movie. I was in awe the whole time watching how magic worked. Spells being taught and brooms flying. I wanted to play Quidditch while I watched Harry Potter....
wait that'll a spoiler.
Basically, I loved every bit of it until the very end. For those that do not follow me or know me well: Harry Potter is my favorite movie series of all time. And Harry Potter is the BEST movie series of all time. As always, I'm open for debate.
(for the many that haven't had the PLEASURE of watching. If you don't care proceed!)
Harry, Ron, and Hermoine were savages. They were close to my age, but fighting damn giants and three headed dogs. I was like,
"How the hell can these kids do all this and not be scared?"
But I remember watching Professor Quirrell undo his turban, in the end scene, and exposing the face of something hideous on the back of his own head. Revealing He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Lord Voldemort, Tom Riddle, the Dark Lord. That freaked me the hell out. I watched the rest of the fire engulfed scene through the spaces between my fingers as I covered my face. It immediately turned into a slight horror movie for me. I'll be honest, Harry Potter wasn't an immediate love because of that last scene. It was a little while until the second movie came out for me to rewatch the first for a recap. A little older, I got through what was considered the horror scene, watched the Chamber of Secrets and was completely hooked.
I continued to read the books and watch the movies as they came out. The fact that I, KJ Brent, read 800 page books is a clear indication of how this series impacted me. I used to hate reading, but there was something about the way J.K. Rowling wrote. The detail in her storytelling was easy for a visual thinker/learner like me to imagine each scene in my head. Before the actual movie even came out. Of course, the scenes from the movies would be different than I had imagined, but for me reading the books and being able to easily visualize a setting made the reading experience that much better. The font of the books were cool to me and the story was perfect. The books always provided more detail and other specifics that weren't always included in the movies, like usual. But, in my opinion, they portrayed it the best they could.
As I got older, the fan in me grew for the series. Which was weird to me, but I figured out why. As each movie came out, the main trio grew older. Alongside us kids that started watching the movies from the first week they came out. It was almost like growing with the movie. But even as the final movies came out and the series ended, I found myself going back to watch it over and over again. The reason for that, I think, was that every time I rewatched the movies they made me feel like a kid again. Yes, I'll use the word again, but nostalgia was the biggest part about why I kept watching them. Along with the fact that Hogwarts, the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, made me feel like home. I know it sounds weird, but I don't care. The movies always had a warm, kid-like feeling about them up until the plots aged and the movies got more dramatic.
My favorite character was always hard to pick. Each of the main characters had their separate impacts on the story. Harry was always the favorite, obviously, for most. Ron brought the comedic relief a lot. And Hermoine, well, without her Harry and Ron probably don't make it anywhere past the first movie. If that. I think as you watched and read the books you came to realize, though, how huge Professor Snape was in this. You hated to like him, until you finally loved to like him. Professor McGonagall was like that grandmother you wanted to add with the other grandmothers in your life. It would take me a looooong time to go through each of the characters and explain the importance of them, but I will save that for another post another day possibly.
Another thing that has always been hard for me to decide on is my favorite particular movie. I can never pick one:
-Sorcerer's Stone: This was the start of something great. (Maybe not for me right off the bat.) But now looking at it, it's what kicked everything off. Perfectly. The movie that makes you feel the happiest for the longest, I think.
-Chamber of Secrets: Here we see a lot of improvements in special effects with Quidditch matches even and a glimpse of the talent that the main trio really have playing Harry, Ron, and Hermoine. Dobby is introduced and we all know how beloved of a character he is. It feels like a more mature film with still a bit of the same feels as the first.
-Prisoner of Azkaban: This one is a huge one. The change of director and change of actor playing Dumbledore comes at the perfect time, for me at least. Alphonso Cuaron takes over directing, while Michael Gambon takes over as Dumbledore. The reason I think this is perfect, is because I think the third movie is the best time to take the biggest jump in maturation. It's darker and much more serious throughout. The kids are older, the problems at Hogwarts are bigger, and the more magical Dumbledore needed to take a backseat to the much wiser, philosophical, new Dumbledore. The third movie is when the true twists and turns begin. I remember it leaving me on the edge of my seat more so than the previous two.
-Goblet of Fire: The most fun but the most criticized movie as well. A quick and simple description of another very important part of the story. The Triwizard Tournament played provided constant entertainment. From dragons, to underwater diving, to maze races. It's visually amazing, but doesn't overpower the main plot. We get the true return of Voldemort, who is snake-like and as evil as you could've perceived. It seemed, if you HAD to criticize it, as possibly one of the more rushed movies. But I still loved it.
-Order of the Phoenix: Conflicts rise between Harry and Dumbledore and the Ministry of Magic. This is one of the more annoying movies because of a certain character. I'll leave that for you to guess who, but another installation that was solid. Compared to the book it's a bit dry or can be looked at as such. But if you haven't guessed yet, I don't think there is a bad movie in this series. It felt much different from the rest in many ways, but I think it got the job done if I'm not being too critical. We can compare books to movies all day, but with 800+ page books, you shouldn't expect to get it all. That's why diving into both would help.
-Half Blood Prince: This movie provided the sense of much more darkness approaching in the future. Again, I can see the movie behind the books without causing too much panic. It isn't one of the more exciting visual experiences, but there is a true build up to what we expect to be the showdown between Voldemort and Harry. The end leaves you hanging again, which I hate at the time like many movie endings, but appreciate as it leaves you to anticipate the next movie.
-Deathly Hollows Part 1 & 2: They had to split the last book into two movies. Which I liked. I mean, every movie could've been two parts possibly three. And honestly, I would watch them all still. But these two movies are by far the darkest. The story is coming to its climactic end. The adventure Harry, Ron, and Hermoine go on is long and has many obstacles. It's necessary to have two parts because of the depth of what's happening. These two movies I watch the most. I love the darkness and the build up to the final fights. It's cinematically pleasing and written well. The acting is great once again. The emotion is high and you can almost sense it in the acting too. As if it is because they, too, know it's the end of the series.
Out of all of these, the movies I watch the most, when I am not rewatching the whole series (as I have approximately 30 times give or take a few), are The Sorcerer's Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, and Deathly Hollows both parts. So as I can't pick one, those are my favorites. I could care less if four choices is too many. I will continue to watch this series until my last days. I also do not think that this movie series is considered fantasy. I am a full believer that the wizarding world does, indeed, exist. We just think it's fantasy. But of course we do. Muggles in the movie don't know about their world. But I know it's real. I refuse to believe otherwise. I try my hardest to convince those who haven't watched it, to watch.
I do understand that if you're 25 years old, you may not get out of it what we did as children. But I do know you'll appreciate the good cinema. I don't ever mention these movies when asked my top 5 favorite movies of all time. If you know me, it needs not be said. I'll buy chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott's jelly beans. I'm Gryffindor, clearly. When Deathly Hollows Pt. 2 ends, I restart with Sorcerer's Stone usually within the next couple weeks and in between I may watch random ones.
I. Can't. Stop. Watching. Them. But as you can tell by now, I love the movies. It won't get old for me or boring. It's a part of my life now! Real talk! Period. So, go watch them if you haven't. I would also love to hear anyone's reasoning on why they don't like them if you have. And if you haven't given them a shot, but ignore them, well that's just unacceptable.