Flickering Myth ranks the Harry Potter films…
With Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hitting cinemas [read our review here], we asked the Flickering Myth writing staff to rank the original Harry Potter series from worst to best. We then took those results and added them all together to create our official ranking, which you’ll see over the next couple of pages. It was all very scientific.
This of course doesn’t include Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but we’ll revisit this ranking next year with a brand new update (and with four new films announced, it looks like we’ll be doing this for some time).
So let’s begin shall we? All aboard the Hogwarts Express, it’s time to rank the Harry Potter films from worst to best.
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Columbus, 2002) – 37 points
Harry ignores warnings not to return to Hogwarts, only to find the school plagued by a series of mysterious attacks and a strange voice haunting him.
Taking last place on our list, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was bottom of the majority of submissions from the Flickering Myth team. So low was the scoring for the movie that Chamber of Secrets was a whopping twenty one points behind seventh place. That’s not to say it didn’t get some praise from our writers. In fact our editor-in-chief claims Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is ‘the only half-decent movie in the series’. Based on the shortest book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is actually the longest film in the movie franchise – which is incredible when you think about the later entries – and was the last to be directed by Chris Columbus. With the films taking a much darker approach with the third film, people often look down up the first two films and usually for good reason. The acting isn’t quite as good, the effects aren’t as impressive and the stories are inherently weaker. However it’s 82% on Rotten Tomatoes does put it ahead of many of its contemporaries, with Jeff Strickler of Minneapolis Star Tribune calling it, “the kind of magic that Hollywood rarely displays: A sequel that’s better than the original.” Clearly our writing team disagreed. To be honest, this film should be bottom of the pile simply for its introduction to Dobby, the Jar Jar Binks of the Harry Potter world. In terms of box office, it’s the second lowest just ahead of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Yates, 2007) – 58 points
With their warning about Lord Voldemort’s return scoffed at, Harry and Dumbledore are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.
The first film on the list to be directed by David Yates – who would helm the next five Potterverse movies including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – but Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is usually forgotten about. The series was riding a high after Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but Order of the Phoenix is almost the Iron Man 2 of the franchise, a holding pattern until the real story kicks into gear. People do stuff, and then the film ends. There are no stand-out scenes or anything memorable. In fact, Order of the Phoenix has the joint-lowest Rotten Tomatoes score along with Deathly Hallows Part 1. With that said, it’s also the fourth highest grossing entry with $939 million, so it certainly had some success. In terms of our rankings, Order of the Phoenix was always ahead of Chamber of Secrets and even topped a couple of submissions, but was always in the bottom tier overall. Some late voting against it pushed it further down the list though, and it ended up just one point behind sixth place. So close, yet so far.
6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone (Columbus, 2001) – 59 points
Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Get out your awkward acting, naff CGI and bumbling direction for the first installment of a franchise and sixth on our list, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone if you’re American and don’t know what a Philosopher is). Going back and looking at the reviews for the movie when it came out, and they all go along the lines of ‘this is a very safe movie and that’s what we all expected’. In hindsight that was a very good assessment of the movie. Columbus is a safe director and you know exactly what you’re going to get when you put a family-friendly movie in his hands (Pixels notwithstanding), and he doesn’t try anything too creative while playing everything very down the line. Is that a bad thing? Well not for our writers who voted it over two other movies in the series – one of which was trying to be more grown up. In fact, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone even topped one of our writer’s lists who argues it’s still the best entry in the entire franchise. The box office figures also back this up (although it had the benefit of being the first film in a series that was wildly popular) and it has the second biggest takings of the whole series. In terms of our rankings, it was also only two points behind number five on our list.
5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Yates, 2009) – 61 points
As Harry Potter begins his sixth year at Hogwarts, he discovers an old book marked as “the property of the Half-Blood Prince” and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s dark past.
It’s American Pie with wizards as Harry turns into a hormonal teenager trying to get laid while a plot about a Half-Blood Prince finds its way into the film during the third act. At least that was my reading of it. Although I don’t think I’m alone. Along with Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was always a ‘mid-table’ nomination and didn’t top anyone’s lists or make a major impact on the rest of the rankings. It was two points ahead of Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone and two points behind the fourth placed film in the list. It’s the pure definition of mid table, an average movie. It’s Rotten Tomatoes score puts it right in the middle of the pack, as does it’s box office takings. Although it’s a film that sticks into audience’s minds as it features “the unfortunate incident” in the final act, it’s the only worthwhile thing to take away from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Click next to see who got the number one spot…