The release of the final Harry Potter film is upon us. In less than 3 weeks, it really will be over. I know for many of us it all ended with the release of Book 7 – but the Harry Potter movies have been worthy enough translations to merit atleast a fraction of the respect, and thus a fraction of the elegiac response that the books met with at their culmination. Eight movies, four directors, each with their unique vision, be it Alfonso Cuaron’s poetic whimsy or Christopher Columbus’ slavish textual faithfulness. The cream of the British acting crop – and a trio of younger performers that started out wooden, and grew before our eyes (grew with us) steadily maturing as actors.
If the legacy of the books was the resurgence of a love of reading amongst a generation that was steadily weaning itself away from the written word, the legacy of the movies will be their meticulous attention to detail, the protective nature of their craft – a protectiveness some would argue stifled the larger artistic vision of the directors. Yes, a portion of the magic of the books doesn’t make its way to the screen, but isn’t that the general lament for book to movie translations? And yes, the Lord of the Rings made for a more successful translation – but, well, Eragon, The Golden Compass, Inkheart (to name a few fantasy adaptations) were famous disasters. The Harry potter movies didn’t always soar, but they never failed at what they set out to do. Film by film, director by director, they realized the wildest figments of our collective imagination, and maintained an unwavering level of quality. Even before Deathly Hallows Part 2 releases, the Potter movie franchise will have gone down in history as the most successful movie franchise of all time, with a combined gross of $4.47 billion.
Starting this week, I’ll bid farewell to the movie series in the run up to the July 15 release by doing a retrospective of the Potter films. We won’t go in chronological order though – I’ll rank them, starting from my least favourite right up to, well, Prisoner of Azkaban (obviously). I’m hoping to have atleast some level of disagreement with my choices here – do pitch in with where you think the movies place. And let’s all hope that on July 15, Cuaron is finally displaced once and for all, from the top of the list.
Till then, I leave you with Dumbledore’s profound words -