I grew up with Harry Potter. From my dad reading the books to my brother and I to my family seeing the final films together in theaters, the series makes up a pretty big part of my younger years. I remember watching the VHS tape of the original movie over and over again on our little travel TV during road trips, probably to the annoyance of my parents.
I remember crying at a midnight release because the sorting hat put me in Slytherin, but that’s beside the point.
Harry Potter was huge, but it is also something that stayed in that time of my life. I never went on to re-read the novels or re-watch the movies once I got older. Recently though, my friends and I started working our way through the series one by one, laughing at the absurdity of certain plot points, and at one point screaming in fear at the horrifying CGI that these early 2000s movies had (McGonagall, you know what you did).
One thing that stood out to me is that I enjoyed these films in an entirely different way now that I’m older. As a little kid I just thought the world was cool and that the adventures were exciting, but now I find the movies absolutely hilarious with the absurdity of what happens on screen.
I’ve mentioned this before, but you can’t really compare the books to the films. They have entirely different tones. The movies add an extra level of comedy that is missing in the original novels, and it is this extra comedy that stands as the strongest component to watching these movies as an adult.
My opinions on each of the films is entirely different from when I was a kid, but I think the biggest change so far has been my opinion of the third movie, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”
As a kid, this was the movie where things felt like they started losing their magic a bit. Sure, it was a fantastical world full of magic and wizards, but the tone of the films felt much more grim and serious at face value. It had its moments of fun, sure, but I really didn’t care for it overall.
Now though, I can pick up on many of the jokes that flew so far over my head as a kid they could have achieved orbit.
For one, throughout this whole movie there is this subtle subplot that Harry is getting a little too touchy-feely with Hermione. He is constantly trying to hug her or brush against her, and it is hilarious to watch her get increasingly annoyed at him while trying to solve the very serious problems they have been running into. I swear, they are in life-or-death scenarios and he will touch her arm only for her to just slap him away. It is never brought to the audience’s attention too heavily, but it does a good job showing that even the boy who lived isn’t immune to hormones.
There is also the case of Harry collecting father figures with each film. Each year at Hogwarts leads to Harry finding a new adult to act as a father figure to him, only for something terrible to happen to them (mostly).
There is Dumbledore, Hagrid, Lockhart, Lupin, Black, Moody (kinda), Weasley and even Snape himself at the very end who each behaved in a somewhat fatherly manner towards Harry at one point or another. While some of these may have been better father figures than others, they all tried to protect and teach Harry in their own way, even if that way means berating or harassing him for his own safety.
One thing that I respect more as an adult is how well they pulled off a time travel plot in this children’s movie. Most of the time, time travel causes stories to become convoluted or confusing, but at least in this film it is pretty easy to grasp. Going back in time can never actually change anything in Harry Potter in that if something has for sure happened it cannot be prevented.
If you were looking at the body of a man who had died and he was for sure dead, going back in time wouldn’t save him. Instead, it acts as a single timeline where any changes that would occur through time travel already have happened in the timeline. Everything that they do after going back in time, we can see happen earlier in the movie the first time around, meaning they were actually changing their own pasts.
This does lead to one of my biggest questions, and that is why this incredibly rare and dangerous magical artifact was given to a random third year? Sure, Hermione is smart and all, but that doesn’t change the fact that she is a kid and that time turners are incredibly powerful and dangerous. How is the best solution to helping her in her education to just give her the rare item to travel through time? Why not consider private tutors or easing up on credit hour limits first?
Seriously, what was cat-professor on when she just thought that giving a teenager the power to time travel was a good idea? Maybe they should check her quarters for catnip if that was her best idea.
Normally I rate the movies I watch, but I can’t bring myself to rate this series. I have too much nostalgia to look at it for what it is, and no amount of effort could tear the rose-tinted glasses from my face when it comes to Harry Potter. I love this series, and it will always hold a special place in my heart for all the fun I had with it as a kid.
One thing I can rely on is that Harry Potter was an absolute fluke. It was the perfect story at the perfect time, and I doubt that we will ever have another phenomenon like this for some time, despite many people’s best efforts.
Also, don’t read the new one, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” It’s bad. Really bad. Has all of the flaws and none of the charm from the originals. Don’t do it to yourself — it’s not worth it. Just go watch someone on Youtube tear a few new holes in it as you’ll probably have a better time.
Also, if you want a good laugh, go look up the reception to “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” a book that was written by Rowling but originally published under a pseudonym. People reviewed it saying it was good for a debut novel, but it sold horribly until it got leaked that Rowling was the author all along, causing it to actually sell.
This article was originally written for The University of Tennessee’s Daily Beacon’s Bad Movie Showcase.
Editing done by Evan Newell