As a kid, I was never a huge fan of the Harry Potter franchise, and I guess that’s true in the present day. However, as someone who reviews movies on Rotten Tomatoes, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see what the hype was all about. I’ve seen all eight movies, so I can safely discuss the film franchise in detail.
I’m sure everyone already knows that the films are based on the hot-selling novels by J.K. Rowling. I’m sure that at some point, Hollywood realized that Harry Potter was an incredibly lucrative cash cow, so Warner Bros. got to work capitalizing on the hype, and thus, the first Harry Potter film was born.
The whole film franchise started back in 1999, when Warner Bros. bought the rights to the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (which was released just two years earlier). Released in 2001, the film costed $125 million to make, and made nearly one billion dollars. Shortly afterwards, a crapload of merchandise started appearing as though it was out of nowhere. At that point, an entire franchise was born, and with every successful film series that everyone likes, there will invariably be a loads of hype from the media.
To be completely fair, I actually like the first Harry Potter film, even if it is overrated. However, I find that as the franchise goes on, the films become less and less enjoyable, especially as Harry progresses as a teenager.
One thing I tend to notice is that the UK media tends to worship the Harry Potter franchise, to the point that it seems like nobody criticizes it at all. In reality, there are people who don’t like Harry Potter (like me), but the media ignores them because they don’t agree with the millions who do.
The most common criticism that I have against the Harry Potter films is that the film-makers try as hard as possible to pan each film out to at least 135 minutes. Usually, they do this by jamming as much dialogue as possible, and by utilizing a near endless stream of plot twists. I’ve heard that the films are actually very faithful to the original novels, but this is about the films, and not the novels.
This, of course, leads to my next point problem. Because the films are more heavily promoted than the novels, the character of Harry Potter is known more for the films than the books, and the films have made more money than the novels (the film franchise alone made over $7 billion worldwide). Combined with all the merchandise, this makes J.K. Rowling one of the wealthiest women in the world, but it also means that her original novels had become overshadowed by the flashy Hollywood films.
The final point I want to make is about artistic integrity. I did some research, and it seems that J.K. Rowling had a lot of complex themes in mind for the novels. In the films, however, I don’t notice them, which makes me think that a lot of the themes and metaphors were either masked or dummied out in order to market the films to children.
Overall, in my view, the Harry Potter films are massively overrated, but they aren’t horribly bad films (even though I despise The Order of the Phoenix more than any other). In fact, if they given the chance, I would probably do something like it, but better. However, the Harry Potter universe really doesn’t suit me, so of course I wouldn’t enjoy the films very much.