Counting Down the Pottermeter

As the beloved series draws to a close, where will Deathly Hallows Part II land in the Certified Fresh ranks of its predecessors?



Awwwww, how cute they were! Sniff. Well, it's taken a decade of our lives -- and more than $6 billion from our worldwide pockets -- but now, after seven films, a supernova of merchandising, and gainful employment for the entire British acting profession, "It all ends" for the Harry Potter series; as those pithy poster taglines very succinctly declare.

So how will Deathly Hallows measure up to the other films? Will it send the franchise off in fine style? It's too soon to know for sure, but with a few early reviews in, things are looking good for Pottermaniacs. "This is an exciting and, to put it mildly, massively eventful finale that will grip and greatly please anyone who has been at all a fan of the series up to now," writes Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter. "If ever there was a sure thing commercially, this stout farewell is it."

Philip Womack of London's Telegraph is even more effusive. "This is monumental cinema, awash with gorgeous tones, and carrying an ultimate message that will resonate with every viewer, young or old: there is darkness in all of us, but we can overcome it."

Some critics are already nostalgic for the series now that it's come to an end. "Speaking as someone who has spent half his professional life observing and studying actors," wrote Baz Bamigboye of London's Daily Mail, "it's been one helluva ride watching the three leading actors grow up."

However, some find things to quibble about. In his mostly positive review, Variety's Justin Chang writes that "more than a few viewers may be left wondering: Why the rush? The series' shortest entry at 131 minutes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II surges ahead with tremendous urgency, superb spectacle and powerful, even overwhelming emotion, only to falter with a hasty sendoff that seems to buckle under the weight of audience expectations."

Since 2001's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone took on the massive task of adapting the still-running, phenomenally successful book series, we've watched Harry, Ron and Hermione literally grow up on screen before our eyes, from wide-eyed young performers to seasoned franchise veterans. The films, too, have grown in storytelling polish and emotional sophistication as they've progressed -- though the highest-rated (but curiously lowest-grossing) entry remains 2004's Prisoner of Azkaban, each of the seven Potter films to date have earned themselves the distinction of being Certified Fresh at RT; a rare feat for any franchise, let alone one with so many installments.

So, as the final chapter prepares to close on the adventures of the boy wizard, how will Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II compare with its predecessors? Take a look through our rundown below of the films so far, and weigh in with your thoughts.


79%

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

First-time Potter director David Yates joined the series at a challenging juncture -- adapting the longest of the series' books and transforming it into a single film. Naturally there were bound to be gripes about what did and didn't make the cut, but at 78% Certified Fresh, it wasn't anything to scoff at for Yates' first gig.

Critics consensus: "It's not easy to take the longest Harry Potter book and streamline it into the shortest HP movie, but director David Yates does a bang up job of it, creating an Order of the Phoenix that's entertaining and action-packed."


78%

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (2010)

Most critics praised last year's opening salvo of the series' final chapter, but -- perhaps inevitably -- due to the inconclusive nature of the story, together with the fact that studio had split one book to draw out the finale, there were also detractors critical of the movie. Still, another Certified Fresh at 78% -- with a potentially rousing successor to top it.

Critics consensus: "It can't help but feel like the prelude it is, but Deathly Hallows, Part I is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the Harry Potter series."


80%

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) (2001)

The kids were untested performers and the writer and director were faced with the unenviable task of faithfully translating one of history's most successful books to the screen, so it's little surprise that Potter one would have its critics. Sure, the acting had a ways to go, but for the most part -- as the 80% indicates -- critics, and fans, liked what they got.

Critics consensus: "Being so faithful to the book is both the movie's strength and weakness. The movie unfolds exactly as written in the book, so there is little room for surprises or discoveries. For Potter fans, what more can you ask for?"


82%

4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Cut from a similar cloth -- for better and for worse -- as its predecessor, with Chris Columbus again behind the lens, Secrets benefited from its engaging source material, and the fact that those involved were starting to grow accustomed to their roles.

Critics consensus: "Darker and livelier than the first Harry Potter, but much of what's wrong with the first movie is also present here."


84%

3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

David Yates' second go-round at the franchise found him hitting his stride, and while the story may have been marking time in some places, the darker, deeper elements that would soon come to the fore had begun to develop nicely.

Critics consensus: "Dark, thrilling, and occasionally quite funny, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is also visually stunning and emotionally satisfying."


88%

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Veteran filmmaker Mike Newell's first and only entry in the series succeeded in enriching the character complexity, while providing another entertaining spectacle that moved the series forward a significant step as films.

Critics consensus: "The main characters are maturing, and the filmmakers are likewise improving on their craft; vibrant special effects and assured performances add up to what is the most complex yet of the Harry Potter films."


91%

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Typically regarded as the "one where things got dark" -- and perhaps why it's a critic fave -- Azkaban marked the contribution from acclaimed director Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men), who took then-relatively fresh young actors and extracted performances that showed their potential. Sadly, it was to be the filmmaker's one-and-only contribution, but arguably it inspired the series to reach for greater heights.

Critics consensus: "In Cuaron's hands, Azkaban has emotional depth to go along with the technical wizardry."


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II opens on July 15 in the US and the UK, and July 13 in Australia. For up-to-the-minute reviews, check back here.


Comments

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

not my thing; . . . there's no denying its (Harry) POTTER-MANIA . . .

The next British Invasion after The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Jul 6 - 06:27 PM

Aurora B.

Aurora Bellard

i think ill cry when the credits begin to roll. I actually grew up with Harry Potter. we had the VHS for the very first one and played it on movie fridays in my family. It will be missed for sure.

Hopefully, The Hunger Games takes its place. I had a superb time reading the books and if the film adaption is a hit, it'll mean great things. :) EXCITED! a beginning and a end of eras.

Jul 6 - 06:41 PM

SixDegreesOf21

Kathleen Runas

So would I... Heck, talking about it makes me all teary... A feature in the local news made me cry... I feel the end already...

Jul 7 - 01:09 PM

SixDegreesOf21

Kathleen Runas

So would I... Heck, talking about it makes me all teary... A feature in the local news made me cry... I feel the end already...

Jul 7 - 01:10 PM

Nick M.

Nick Miller

OMGZ ITS HARRY POTTER TIME, lets hope they end it like inception were it never ends other wise I will be a wreck. Even though I read all the books like 4 times no loserness there, I'm still gonna be shocked when certain things happen. Ok I'm done sounding unintelligent for the day

Jul 6 - 07:09 PM

Charlie T.

Charlie Tyrganst

Inception does end, ignore the top and look at the character arc...it all wraps up.

Jul 10 - 08:52 PM

Superzone

Link O'Fett

I think Part II will score up with Goblet and Azkaban. It looks like it will be the best Potter film in years.

Jul 6 - 07:49 PM

TheAnimatorRator

Megan Gierasch

Well no duh. Stupid question if ya ask me. WB will not be pulling a Cars 2 as this entire series if probobly thier most precious baby. This one will be far better than the last one, and hoping maybe even the best out of the series.

Jul 6 - 07:49 PM

Eric M.

Eric McInnis

I so want to see all the movies right now. And I really want to finish Order of the pheonix book.

Jul 6 - 07:54 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

I'm not going to consider Part 2 a separate film; since both Part 1 and Part 2 are based on the 7th book, they'll be one film for me. And I have little doubt that it'll be the best, because Deathly Hallows Part 1 is currently by favorite Harry Potter movie, followed by Azkaban.

It really has been such a great ride. I've grown up reading the books, and I still remember watching the first film almost every day on VHS before the 2nd movie came out. I've literally grown up with the characters and the actors, and I'm glad that the same young actors remained throughout the films. NO other films series has been like Harry Potter in that way; no one can deny that. Like Toy Story 3 last year, another iconic franchise from my childhood is about to officially end. And especially after the excellent Part 1, I'm sure this won't disappoint.

Jul 6 - 07:57 PM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

Haha, that's so funny. I had a similar experience with the first movie, watching it every day that summer and freaking out for the second one to come out. I was addicted!!!

Jul 6 - 10:01 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

You know, the funny things is that when I first saw this film I hadn't read any of the books, and I didn't even know there was a second film coming out. One day, slmost immediately after I finished watching the movie, on TV a commercial for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was shown on TV (around October sometime). Man, I COMPLETELY flipped out! I immediately begged my mom to take me to the bookstore to buy books 2 & 3 (I didn't think I needed to read 1 at the time since I knew the movie so well, though I did eventually).

Jul 7 - 01:21 AM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

Lol, I hadn't read the books either. But as soon as I saw the movie I plunged right into the Chamber of Secrets :)

Jul 7 - 07:19 AM

Anthony B.

Anthony Bois

Exactly the same for me guys ^^

Jul 7 - 12:42 PM

Anthony B.

Anthony Bois

Exactly the same for me guys ^^

Jul 7 - 12:42 PM

Haider R.

Haider Rizvi

Let's hope they end off the series on a high note. I wasn't a huge fan of Part 1, but as this is the last movie, I just want to ENJOY it. Even if, years from now, I look back at it going "Wow, Part 2 sucked!" I want to be able to enjoy it when I first see it, as it marks the end of 10 years of obsession. :')

Jul 6 - 08:09 PM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

I feel like the elder statesman here. I didn't "grow up" reading the books. Hell, I didn't even pick up a Potter book until after I'd seen Order of the Phoenix. (I was pretty indifferent to the first two films). But now I consider myself one of the biggest fans and it's due to the strength of these characters and the intricate world that Rowling and the film makers created. I've even managed to pull in friends and family, many of whom are all ages, genders, etc. We're all going as a group together to experience the final film and we're all looking forward to and dreading it because it means the end. Every once in a while a fantasy saga takes the world by storm. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and now Harry Potter. It's been a helluva ride.

Jul 6 - 08:14 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

Awesome post, man.

Jul 6 - 09:09 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

I picked up the books after I was dragged to the prisoner of azkaban. I had watched philosopher's stone and thought "wth? this kiddie crap is not for me" (I was 25 at the time) then I watched Azkaban and told my friend "ok give me the books" and he warned me that #6 was coming out in a month and he had pre ordered it so I better hurried it. Have been a Potter fan since lol. I did not love book 7 though, but it was a good way to end it.

Jul 7 - 12:04 AM

CFM

'schak Attack

Agreed, great post dude. At their best, THAT is what movies are all about. I stopped watching HP movies after movie #3, when I decided I wanted to read the books first. And I decided to not read the books by myself, instead waiting for my kid-to-come to get old enough for me to read it to her as a bed-time story (one chapter at a time). Now she just turned 4, almost to the point of where the story will really grab her, but she's almost to the point of reading on her own. So, as the timing of my Harry Potter/little girl plan is off, I will probably begin reading the books myself this fall. And hopefully she will too in the next year or two. Then hopefully we can have the same movie experiences that you're describing, on our home theater.

Jul 7 - 06:20 AM

Luvagoo

Tallulah Robinson

Harry Potter was my childhood.

That is all.

Jul 7 - 09:23 PM

Brian B.

Brian Barreto

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II looks like it will be the best film in the series. I hope it is, because as a big fan of both the novels and the films, I am hoping for an emotional, cathartic experience as I say "goodbye" to one of the greatest franchises that has ever graced our culture. I know that I'll be crying during the film, especially during The Prince's Tale and The King's Cross segments of the narrative. I'm hoping that they make Voldemort and Harry's final duel into an actual battle because the novel definition of a "final confrontation" between them was adrupt and underwhelming, to say the least. I already have my tickets for the I-MAX version on Friday, July 15. I can't wait! R.I.P. Harry Potter.

Jul 6 - 08:25 PM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

Not to spoil anything, Brian, but yes. Harry and Voldemort's one-on-one battle is significantly expanded upon in the movie.

Jul 6 - 08:42 PM

Brian B.

Brian Barreto

I thought it would be. It needs to be epic. I have faith in these movies. They're the most consistent film franchise I've ever seen. And lastly, I hope the 3-D conversion was done well. At first, since I'm so weary about 3-D, I'm going to catch the finale in normal 2-D when it comes out on Friday, July 15. If the feedback about the 3-D conversion is positive from both critics and audiences, then I'll waste my money on the I-MAX 3-D version. I'm just worried, you know, because I find it unnescessary for films to be converted into 3-D. If its filmed in 3-D like "James Cameron's Avatar", "TRON: Legacy" "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", then fine. If its not filmed in 3-D, then it shouldn't be converted. Simples as that, in my opinion. But no...studios are too greedy and they want to make more money.

Jul 6 - 08:54 PM

King  S.

King Simba

I agree about the ending of Deathly Hallows. Although I loved the book, there were some parts that felt kind of rushed (over half the book deals with one horcrux, while the other three are crammed into the last half) and the ending was one of them, so I'm glad to hear that they're expanding the duel between Harry and Voldermort.

As for the rating (though Potter is one franchise where I don't even bother to check the reviews before seeing it), I think it could be the first Potter film since Prisoner of Azkaban to get more than a 90% rating, especially with it being the last Potter film. Not only that, but I think after Part 2 is released Part 1 will become more appreciated, as most of the complainst against Part 1 was that it felt incomplete. After all, Empire Strikes Back suffered from similair complaints when it was released and now it's regarded as the best in the Star Wars franchise.

Jul 7 - 06:53 AM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

I also expect the rating to be high on this one but I'm not sure it will be as high as Azkaban. Franchise fatigue hadn't set it by the third movie. There are still a lot of critics who have to review HP because it's their job and they're not fans. I don't imagine the final film will change that. However, the early reviews from top critics (Variety and Hollywood Reporter) are extremely high suggesting that the average rating could be high 80's.

Jul 7 - 08:38 AM

Brian B.

Brian Barreto

I agree completely. I am hoping that this last film can get into the high 90s in the Tomatometer(maybe even higher than Prisoner of Azkaban). It'd be great if Harry's swan song was the most critically-acclaimed film of the series. That'd be the best way for him to say goodbye--that and a billion dollars at the worldwide box-office. Anyways, we are one week away from the film's actual arrival to the U.S., so the wait is nearly done, and the ending is nearly complete.


I still don't see how Harry can actually defeat Voldemort on a one-on-one battle. I know Harry's the true master of the Elder Wand, and Voldy's spells won't fatally harm Harry(I don't mean to diminish Harry's combat prowess), but in terms of spells, he can't even compete against Hermoine, for God's sake! If it hadn't been for Harry being the Elder Wand's true master, would he have been able to defeat the man who's only rival--and equal--in dueling is Dumbledore? Would he? I don't think so. Harry's a lucky, lucky man, I tell you. Very lucky.

Jul 8 - 01:17 PM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

Not to spoil anything, Brian, but yes. Harry and Voldemort's one-on-one battle is significantly expanded upon in the movie.

Jul 6 - 08:42 PM

Brian B.

Brian Barreto

I thought it would be. It needs to be epic. I have faith in these movies. They're the most consistent film franchise I've ever seen. And lastly, I hope the 3-D conversion was done well. At first, since I'm so weary about 3-D, I'm going to catch the finale in normal 2-D when it comes out on Friday, July 15. If the feedback about the 3-D conversion is positive from both critics and audiences, then I'll waste my money on the I-MAX 3-D version. I'm just worried, you know, because I find it unnescessary for films to be converted into 3-D. If its filmed in 3-D like "James Cameron's Avatar", "TRON: Legacy" "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", then fine. If its not filmed in 3-D, then it shouldn't be converted. Simples as that, in my opinion. But no...studios are too greedy and they want to make more money.

Jul 6 - 08:54 PM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

Wasn't crazy about Part 1, but I'll see this one anyway, though I'm really, really hoping they've scraped that piece-o-crap epilogue that Rowling wrote and supplemented something that doesn't completely suck unicorn balls.

Jul 6 - 08:46 PM

nongshim

Kathryne C

they haven't. i wish so too, though.

Jul 6 - 08:51 PM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

*Sigh*

Jul 6 - 08:56 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

Linda, I agree that the epilogue was pretty mediocre, but I don't think it would make since to scrap it. Maybe it'll translate better to film (I actually hoped they tweaked it a bit to make it better). But yeah, there'd be a massive uproar if it wasn't there.

Jul 6 - 09:07 PM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

Lol, mediocre is a much nicer way of putting it than I did. But I agree. It totally makes sense that they wouldn't get rid of the epilogue entirely. I just wish they'd, like I said, supplemented it for something a little bit better. Something very similar, of course, but maybe tweaked a bit so it's not as corny.

Jul 6 - 09:39 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

OK, yeah it sucked, lol. If anything it was those darn kids' names.

Jul 7 - 01:22 AM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

The epilogue didn't bother me as much but I understand where you're coming from. I don't think the epilogue has changed much in the film so I'm not sure the final minutes of the film will be quite as satisfying as many want. But let's remember that Peter Jackson gave us 7 endings for the LOTR series and that was just overkill. I would have been happy with 4 endings. ;)

Jul 7 - 08:42 AM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

I get what you're saying about LOTR, DJ. However, LOTR was so epic that it called for multiple endings IMO, so I didn't really have an issue with it (though I could see where some would). Not only that, each one was a gem--not one wasted scene. The quality of writing just isn't there in the Potter epilogue. Of course, I am only referencing the book, so perhaps Mr. Dufresne is right in saying it will work better on screen. I know you've seen it already, which is awesome--and I'm glad you loved it. I hope I love it too :)

Jul 7 - 12:09 PM

Alexson Philip

Alexson Philipiah

the epilogue was good in my opinion, COULD have been less corny I agree but it's ok :), and from what the critics have said it has really affected them in ways they never thought it would.

Jul 6 - 11:18 PM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

That's good to hear, Alexson. My hopes are a little higher now :) And yes, Mr. Dufresne, those names were very ridiculous, lol.

Jul 7 - 07:25 AM

nongshim

Kathryne C

they haven't. i wish so too, though.

Jul 6 - 08:51 PM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

*Sigh*

Jul 6 - 08:56 PM

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