We’re getting down to the nitty gritty…
So much so, that I actually rearranged the order right before writing this post.
In case you missed it, here’s Part 1 with rankings 5-8.
When I wrote Part 1, I also drafted this post with the names and rankings of my Top 4. However when I sat down to finish it, I felt the need to move things around. So I’ll admit that this order does change sometimes, depending on my mood, but these four films always finish at the top.
Let’s dive right into it…
4. Deathly Hallows Part 1 (#7 part 1)
This one started off as third, but it went down to fourth only because I wanted to rank the other ones higher. My love for this film is huge. It’s the most underrated and had the lowest score on Rotten Tomatoes (78%). I personally feel like this is a film geared heavily towards book lovers. It’s not super fast-paced like Part 2, which is why I said that if you put the two together the pacing makes more sense. This movie is very, very slow… and I adore it.
– The wedge that we start to see form between Harry and Ron.
Yes, it’s part of the story. I’m good with that, but it’s almost like they never fully recover from the Big Fight. I think that this could actually be more categorized under Part 2 because that’s where it shows in weird ways (like Harry’s goodbye to Ron), but it stems from this film.
– That part where Harry is fighting Nagini and he ends up in a nursery?
I’m not really sure where they’re supposed to be in that scene actually, but it looks like a very brightly lit nursery. Is it supposed to be symbolic because they’re in Godric’s Hollow and Harry was born there? It’s the dumbest thing to bring up, but I couldn’t think of much else to say that’s bad about this movie.
– The poster
This is my favorite poster in the entire film series.
– The entire opening sequence.
Hermione obliviating her parents and Harry saying goodbye to the Dursleys. If you haven’t seen the deleted scenes from this part, watch them. They have the scene where Petunia shows her human side and gives the heartbreaking line that she “lost a sister too that night in Godric’s Hollow”. I wish they hadn’t cut that, but one of the best parts of that whole sequence is the momentum and music. They would’ve completely lost that if they broke it up too much with long dialogue scenes.
– This film is so character focused!
It’s the Golden Trio’s Movie. We get so much insight to their friendship and each of them as individuals. I absolutely love how focused it is on the characters, with plot entwined. It’s slower, but it works. I want to see those small moments, spend time with these characters, and go on that journey with them. I greatly appreciate that they made a movie to do just that. Like I said, it’s a movie for the fans.
– Dobby’s death
They added all that dialogue, and honestly it was the best change in the entire series.
– The entire sequence where they’re escaping the Ministry.
– Ron and Harry’s fight.
It’s beautifully acted by everyone. You can feel the rage and frustration pouring from the screen.
– Harry and Hermione’s dance scene.
On second thought, this is my favorite addition to the film series. I know it’s super controversial, and there are people who downright hate it, but I’m obsessed. I could watch this scene on replay. Whether you like it or not, the films decided to really dive into the relationship/friendship between Harry and Hermione. It’s the strongest in the series and overshadows every other relationship. They successfully depicted two kindred spirits with a beautiful connection.
– Godric’s Hollow
Harry and Hermione in the graveyard on Christmas Eve is one of my all-time favorites.
– The Tale of Three Brothers
3. Goblet of Fire (#4)
This one actually had the #1 spot when I typed up Part 1 of my rankings. But then I reconsidered, and thought about my love for the other two films. So, here we are at bronze. It’s one of the best book to film adaptations in the series. The characterizations are on par, and there’s a perfect balance between the overarching plot and character storylines. It’s also a very organized story. Everything fits along the timeline of the tournament, and it segues from one event to the next flawlessly.
This is also the one where guys with long hair was in-style, and so that’s exactly what they did for all the actors. I couldn’t decide if this was good or bad. At the time I definitely liked it, but looking back at it now… it’s an interesting look and kind of a defining feature about this movie. I just felt the need to mention it.
– The Maze
It’s not horrible. But it’s my least favorite part of the film. Like the Ministry scenes in Order of the Phoenix, it’s overshadowed by how much longer and cooler the maze scenes are in the book. I just feel like it comes across very lackluster.
– HARRY-DID-YOU-PUT-YOUR-NAME-IN-THE-GOBLET-OF-FIRE?!?!?! Dumbledore said calmly.
Enough said. Everyone knows this part, and everyone hates it.
– Fleur is depicted as a weak, pretty girl.
They dialed this up for the movie. We get a lot more Fleur in the book series, and we see that she’s much more than a beautiful, siren-like French girl.
– Why are there only guys at Durmstrang and girls at Beauxbatons?
I almost forgot that this was something exclusive to the film. Both those schools have boy and girl students! Bulgaria has witches. France has wizards. Why did they separate the two and serve them as masculine verses feminine schools. And this makes Fleur even more badass because that means that she is chosen above all other students, boys included, for the tournament.
– The Yule Ball
– Hermione sneaking into the tent and hugging Harry.
I love every Harry and Hermione film moment, but this one is in the top five.
– Durmstrang and Beauxbatons entrances to the Great Hall.
It’s one of those iconic parts that everyone, even people who have barely watched the films, always remember.
– Harry and Ron trying to find dates.
Brilliantly executed comedic relief. My only question is why don’t more people want to go with Harry?
– Hermione’s glow up entrance… and Harry’s reaction.
Another huge, iconic moment. This is one of my favorite moments in both the book and film. And no I really don’t care that her dress isn’t periwinkle.
2. Chamber of Secrets (#2)
This was originally at #3… but I raised it to take the silver. It’s pretty much exactly like the book, which is great, but definitely not why it’s ranked so high. As I’ve said before, being exactly like the books doesn’t necessarily make a film great. You have to understand both mediums and adapt the text to screen. With larger books, minute details and extraneous scenes aren’t important and will only weigh the film down. Chamber of Secrets has the luxury of including most book details because it’s a lot shorter than the others.
The real reason I love this one so much is because the story, at its core, is basically a standalone mystery. It’s a paradox because when you first read/watch it, the story seems like just another adventure for the Golden Trio. It acts as its own story, disconnected from everything else. Later on, you realize that this is actually where the end begins. Plot threads that come back up in the last two books start here. The first horcrux is destroyed. That blows my mind, and that alone makes this one of the best in the series.
Also notable, this was the movie that sparked my first fictional crush. I’m pretty sure that 7-year-old me already had a crush on Harry from the books, but this movie solidified it. And Harry has been my all-time favorite character ever since.
I honestly don’t have anything to put here…
I’m racking my brain trying to think of some absurd scene that annoys me every time I watch, but I can’t.
Can I point out that 12-year-old Harry and 11-year-old Ginny have more chemistry in this film than they do in the rest of the series? Although, that’s more of a dig at the last three films.
– This movie really feels like classic Harry Potter.
Things changed a lot after this film, which is why I’m so nostalgic for this era. We still had the magic from the first one, but it got even better.
– Introduction of Dobby
– Tom Riddle
– The polyjuice potion
– The final scene
That music makes me emotional. It’s such a wonderful, heartwarming scene.
1. Prisoner of Azkaban (#3)
Here it is! The gold!
Honestly, I don’t think this placement is all that controversial. It has one of the highest Rotten Tomatoes scores and is commonly hailed as one of the best in the series. I will admit though, it’s The One You Either Hate Or Love. There are definitely people who loathe the artistic and aesthetic choices made… but I’m not one of them.
The series completely changed with this one. Students started wearing regular clothes. Richard Harris sadly passed away, and Dumbledore was recast. New Director. And most notably, the coloring and overall aesthetic changed drastically. There’s an odd golden, bright tone to this film, which I actually hated at first. As I’ve grown and watched it more though, I’ve grown accustomed to the tonal shift. The kids are growing up and the story does get a lot more serious (pun only semi intended). The aesthetic change actually really suits the whimsical, magical nature of the series.
– Lily’s scream
My one and only real complaint about this film is the scream that Harry hears whenever the Dementors come around.
It’s supposed to be Lily Potter screaming as she dies. Instead, it sounds like the Fat Lady practicing her opera singing. It’s super weird, and I cringe every time it happens. That moment should be more reminiscent of a horror film. It should be a heart-wrenching scream, like we see in the first film’s flashback. It comes across comically, and takes away all the meaning behind those moments. The whole reason Harry keeps fainting is because he’s haunted by the subconscious memory of his mother being murdered in front of him. That’s his whole motivation for learning to cast a patronus… it’s all rooted in those moments when he literally hears her screams.
I’ve had that rant bottled up for years now. Moving on…
– The casting of Lupin, Sirius, and Pettigrew
No hate to any of the actors. They’re all phenomenal… but they’re too old. I let it slide with Alan Rickman as Snape because can you really imagine anyone else playing Severus Snape? No.
There’s a lot that’s lost with casting such old actors to play the Marauders. They’re supposed to be in their early thirties, which emphasizes the fact that they were KIDS during the first war. It parallels the youth of Harry and his friends. It’s one of my biggest problems with the film series as a whole, but since they’re introduced in this one, I thought I should put it here.
– The whole time-turner sequence
I could watch those scenes again and again.
– The Marauders
Even though I complained about the casting choices, that doesn’t mean I don’t absolutely adore the Marauders. Sirius Black is one of my favorite characters in the series.
– Pettigrew’s reveal
– Buckbeak’s flight
Such a breathtaking scene.
– I know I said Harry was at peak attractiveness in Order of the Phoenix, but this one definitely rivals it.
His outfits are on point. And his hair is exactly how it should be.
– Pretty much everything… (except that scream)