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Non-Review Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone

So, here we are, back at the beginning. The first movie in the eight-movie cycle about the boy wizard with the distinctive glasses. Harry Potter – “the boy who lived”, as he is described – and his eventful six-year stay at Hogwarts, with one final story to wrap it all up. To be honest, the first movie does benefit a lot from the movies that followed, giving the film a lot of retroactive weight as you can see the plot threads thrown out and suggested to be developed later – the countless little set-ups deployed by Rowling to pay off down the line. Which is handy, I suppose, because otherwise the instalment feels just a little bit too slow and convoluted for its own good.

The series has a bit of difficulty getting off the ground...

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Non-Review Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince represents a fairly significant improvement in quality from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It seems the movie franchise is finally getting a handle on this sort of serialised story-telling, as the movie serves more as a collection of sub-plots leading into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows than it does as a story in its own right. However, there’s a sense that the series is getting a bit better at balancing all the competing demands for screentime, and it even manages to explain the title mystery, albeit in a slightly off-hand manner (almost as an after-thought).

Storm clouds are gathering over Hogwarts...

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Non-Review Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets works much better as an episodic collection of scenes than a single story. It’s prone to fluctuate between rather brilliant moments and a few misfires here and there. It definitely feels extremely childish, as if the studio was attempting to construct a G-rated Raiders of the Lost Ark, with the John Williams soundtrack adding to the effect, the set design of the eponymous chamber looking like some forgotten archeological tomb, and even Julian Glover being afforded a small cameo (okay, he was in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but the point stands). It’s strange to look back at the second instalment, after all that has unfolded since, and look at how much more juvenile and simplistic it all seems in retrospect.

Malfoy drives stick...

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