Phil's Quick Capsule Review

Rated: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

RATED takes a look at EVERY film in the Harry Potter Wizarding World franchise, and gives each a patented QuickReview and score!  And then we order them from best to, urm,  Crimes Of Grindelwald.

(Note scores reflect my original IMDB ratings)

Best:  Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban (2004)

Harry Potter grows up… whilst Prisoner of Azkaban keeps a lot of the tropes from the earlier films, there’s defiantly a sense that the story is progressing here and getting dark as the kids themselves get older.  Adding Gary Oldman and David Thewlis works well but for me Michael Gambon is a bit too angry as Dumbledore and looses so of the charm that Harris brought to the role. Still – Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban remains as one of the the series highlights.

8 out of 10 stars

2. Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix (2007)

On reflection Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix is very nearly my favourite Potter film.  It has real stakes, a real story at its heart and a driving narrative that grows each of the series leads whilst finally making the threat of Voldemort feel very real.   It also has a cracking finale with wands a flying – a true battle of good vs evil.  It’s all brilliantly done.  What also works here is Harry taking charge of his Dumbledore’s army… it gives some of the films more minor characters moments to shine and really plays on the series strengths.

8 out of 10 stars

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

The Goblet of Fire no longer pretends that the Harry Potter series is just for kids. And whilst the tournament itself is just a mcguffin to get us to the rebirth of you know who, it works to start to add some levels of shade to characters that previously have been pretty thinly drawn.  Again the addition of another British stalwart in the shape of Brendan Gleeson to the cast works well and the twisty turns plot shows Rowling’s writing at its best.  As with all the Harry Potters i’d have liked better layering of characters like Cedrick (maybe in the previous film) so when he finally is killed we actually care but small points aside Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is one of the series most re-watchable films.

7 out of 10 stars

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

The issue with The Philosopher’s Stone is that is has a LOT of heavy lifting to do.  Not only did it need to set up this new Wizarding world but also introduce a host of characters, concepts and ideas. Which is why a workhorse director like Chris Columbus was probably the perfect choice – solid but far from spectacular.  Nearly 20 years on the effects have aged more than the cast but there’s a charm and heart here that no raging will ever dent.  So not the Bets Potter but probably the one that has the most to do.

7 out of 10 stars

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

Described a bit disingenuously by Mark Kermode as Harry on Camping,  Deathly Hallow Part 1 isn’t the most action packed of the franchise but it has a series sof pivotal and essential moments that help the set up the finale.   From the death of key characters to the titular Deathly Hallows, there’s a lot of set up but also a lot of action.  Okay so maybe it focuses a bit too much on teenagers in tents and sidelines some of the more interesting stories at play but with director David Yates you were always going to get steady over spectacular.

7 out of 10 stars

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

Chamber of Secrets does a good job picking up on the world created in The Philosopher’s Stone but with a more dense story and even more pages of the book to deliver on screen, the film does manage to both drag and rush through its narrative (and over 2hr 30 min run time).   So where you want more detail about the how, what you get instead is more crowd pleasing Quidditch and character moments, leaving the story suffering a bit at the edges. That said the addition  Kenneth Branagh is a major plus and the cast are really starting to gel.

6 out of 10 stars

7. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)

The Half Blood prince isn’t a terrible film but it is one of the messiest.  In fact the bulk of the run time it’s more about whose kissing who or whose in love with who rather than the fact that, just a film before, the return of Lord Voldemort was confirmed along with the death of yet another of Harry’s family.  And don’t even get me started on the Half Blood Prince of the title – a mystery solved in 5 seconds after hardly being relevant during the film.  That said the death of Dumbledore, everything with Snape., the horcrux rescue and Draco’s turn to true darkness is captivating and saves what otherwise would have been a much bigger miss.

6 out of 10 stars

8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them or The Harry Potter Spin off that’s isn’t as good Harry Potter but hey there’s no more Potter films so this will do. Once again directed by David Yates who has never shown the aptitude to do anything outstanding, Fantastic Beasts showcases the world of Potter but yet feels oddly disconnected from the franchise even if it does try to shoehorn in reference after reference .  Overall it’s fine but I hope Yates can step aside for a more interesting helmer…

6 out of 10 stars

Worst: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has more than the titular bad guy to tend to… it had the stigma of an actor playing its lead villain whose lustre had been scrapped off.  And never doubt that these kind of things can damage a film’s arrival – FBTCOG has been scorned in reviews when actually the film is (overall) pretty good.  Yes it’s not going to break any new ground and director David Yate’s dower tone does little to help pick it up, but’s its a familiar world and one that’s really nice to be back in.  So Depp aside there’s lots to like here but equally there’s also a story that makes no sense and a film that feels like it’s missing good half hour or so.  Fans will love it, haters will hate it and everyone else will think it’s okay.

6 out of 10 stars



Phil Hobden

Phil Hobden is the former Film Editor & Writer for renowned martial arts focused COMBAT MAGAZINE in the UK. He is also a filmmaker in his own right, having produced two cult Independent action films in LEFT FOR DEAD and TEN DEAD MEN. He was the host for the award nominated Filmsploitation podcast for 4 years, currently co-hosts Ross And Phil Talk Movies and is a writer/editor for his own blog Phil's Quick Capsule Review...