I’m not about to review Harry Potter as I haven’t seen it. I recently watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1 and walked away from it feeling like the splitting of this story into two films may have been the most creatively futile gesture in cinematic history. (I felt bad that I felt so good to have not liked it. That’s my inner hipster coming out, I guess.) But again, I haven’t watched Harry Potter 7 part 2 so I can’t judge. Word on Rotten Tomatoes is that it’s ridiculously good.
But it’s a good time to reflect on the Harry Potter movies, as they have had such an impact over the last decade. Right? With its record-breaking opening weekend, Deathly Hallows 2 saw the Potter franchise eclipse Star Wars to become the most (financially) successful film franchise of all time. And all that from a renegade filmmaker who took a risk by making a safe, big-budget adaptation of the most successful children’s book of all time. No, no! Naughty cynic, get back in your cage!
Will there ever be anything to match the Potter franchise again? Look at the impact. The lines from the films that will stay in popular culture forever like…ok, well, the scripts were bad. Good lines aren’t everything. What about the memorable scenes like the one where…ummm…something with a dragon?
So I contend that the Potter films have had very little impact apart from a purely financial one. The success of Potter is not creative success at all, the good films were the exception, quality wise Harry Potter in the cinema is synonymous with mediocrity. The adaptations were generally too safe, paying too much mind to fans who may have been upset by changes and to the powerful JK Rowling. The directors lacked vision and were content to play it safe. The two directors who had the boldest visions only got to make one film each, arguably the best films of the franchise (The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire).
I just don’t see the Potter films being remembered for anything other than the fact that they were really popular. And I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, it’s perfectly fine if you love Harry Potter and I should admit that I am a fan of the books. To finish off, here is a completely fair and impartial comparison of classic lines from other movie franchises compared with lines from Harry Potter.
Star Wars: “No, *I* am your father” Harry Potter: “I’m a wizard.”
Lord of the Rings: “My preciousssss” Harry Potter: “Expecto Patronum”
James Bond: “The name’s Bond. James Bond.” Harry Potter: Some crap that Dobby says.
Written by Mark Harding