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I’d like to start this off by saying, with the best intentions, that I’m not the biggest fan of the Harry Potter film series. However, I do appreciate it for the craft and the character development contained within. For more than ten years, and under four different directors, the eight films in the Harry Potter series made billions of dollars worldwide. The books themselves established author J.K. Rowling as one of the most respected and controversial writers of the last twenty years. There have been few film franchises like Harry Potter that have gone as deep with its characters and the worlds they inhabit, while at the same time being magical and fun. In other words, it’s not a film series that was simply thrown together to make a quick buck then move on to the next disposable property. The studio behind it may be more interested in the financial possibilities, sure, but these films do not feel like product. They feel like films, with real soul and passion behind them, with the intention of delivering the best entertainment money can buy.
Unlike something like the Twilight film series, Harry Potter is derived from what are arguably the most popular books since The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and that’s no small feat. I don’t really care for the fact that Harry Potter always seemed to be lumped in with the Twilight series (in pop culture terms, at least). I find it rather insulting, as I’m sure J.K. Rowling does, who spent a great deal of time developing the worlds, exploring the characters, and most important of all, planning and actually thinking about what she was doing. She did more with her work than most authors would do in a lifetime with theirs. Because of this, Harry Potter winds up not being at all simplistic like the Twilight series, which really has no justification for its existence (other than exploiting young women using soap opera-based tactics).
Now I don’t intend to sit here and continually trash Twilight just because I have an open forum to do so. Others have definitely done a better job of it elsewhere, but I think it’s important to understand that they’re separate entities, and have nothing in common with each other outside of the fact that they’re both books that were made into films. It ends there. The appeal of Harry Potter is based on the values of friendship, as well as courage in the face of danger or even your ultimate doom. That’s why it works for me, as it does for millions of fans around the world. Even without that the characters are fantastic, and you really get a sense for who they are and what they want. In those terms, I respect this series immensely without being a fan. I’m more of a vocal supporter than anything, which is good enough for me.
Ok. Now that that’s settled, I’ll step off of my high horse, lower my nose and dig into this review:
And that’s all from me for now.
- Tim Salmons