The stormy skies, thunder and lightning flashing, John Williams’ haunting melody’s opening chords and the Warner Bro’s Logo (that looks uncannily like a symbol for a fifth unnamed Hogwarts house). Is there any doubt what we’re talking about? Of course, it is the beginning of every Harry Potter movie. The beginning of each movie is slightly different but reminiscent enough of the series to send chills down every Potterhead’s spine.
Each of the eight movies in the Harry Potter series is described below in brief.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone- Released in 2001, this movie first gave the world of Hogwarts life on the big screen. Directed by Chris Columbus, It was the perfect way to ease audiences (especially those unfamiliar with the novels) into the series without boring the initiated fandom. With the screenplay written by Steve Kloves, the movie’s cast, primarily Daniel Radcliffe (The Boy Who Lived, Harry Potter himself), Emma Watson (The greatest revenge of the nerds, Hemione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Bringing ginger back, since 2001, Ronald Bilius Weasley), played a vital role in winning millions of hearts the world over. The film deals with Harry’s first year at Hogwarts and second encounter with Voldemort, and introduces a number of priceless characters like Rubeus Hagrid, Minerva McGonegall, Albus Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy, the Weasley bunch, Severus Snape, Neville Longbottom, the Dursleys and a host of others. The film was shot at the Leavesden Film Studio and historic buildings around the U.K. It stands as the nineteenth highest grosser of all time, with global revenue of US$974 million.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- Released in 2002, it is a sequel to ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’. Also directed by Chris Columbus, with screenplay by Steve Kloves and production by David Heyman, it deals with the Golden Trio – Harry, Ron and Hermione, and their second year at Hogwarts. This year, after having failed to gain Immortality by use of the Sorcerer’s Stone, Voldemort returns as the heir of Salazar Slytherin, opens the chamber of secrets and releases its monster- the basilisk that petrifies people. Harry has to take on and defeat Lord Voldemort when the latter was in the prime of his youth in the form of Tom Marvollo Riddle, another student of Hogwarts. The characters are slightly more fleshed out, with especial emphasis being laid on Dumbledore, the Trio and Voldemort himself. With global revenues of US$879 million, it went on to become the thirty first highest grosser of all time.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Released in 2004, this movie was directed by Alfonso Cuaron with screenplay by Steve Kloves. It was produced by the director of the first two movies, Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe and David Heyman. The film is the third instalment in the series and chronicles the Trio’s third year at Hogwarts. The central plot is around the escape from Azkaban of a prisoner named Sirius Black, who is looking to kill Harry. This film is devoted to Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew – three of the four Marauders, the fourth being James Potter, Harry’s father. This film grossed revenues of US$796.6 million worldwide and it currently stands as the forty-second highest-grossing film of all-time.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Released in 2005, this movie was directed by Mike Newell, written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. The story follows the Trio’s fourth year at Hogwarts as Harry is chosen by the Goblet of Fire (into which his name was put by Barty Couch Jr., despite him having been underage) to contend against Fleur, Victor and Cedric in the Triwizard Tournament. This movie revolves around the tournament and the visceral hatred of Lord Voldemort for Potter and the Death Eaters’ devotion to Voldemort. Cedric loses his life, while Harry is helplessly stuck in the maze with Voldemort (who has managed to return) and a horde of Death Eaters. This is the twenty eighth highest grossing film of all time, and the sixth-highest-grosser film in the Harry Potter series.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- Released in 2007, this movie was directed by David Yates, written by Michael Goldenberg and produced by David Heyman and David Barron. The story revolves around The Ministry Of Magic refuting Dumbledore’s claims of Voldemort’s resurrection. The Death Eaters want to bring back Voldemort in all his former, full blooded glory. The Order of The Phoenix is a secret society of which Sirius, Molly and Arthur Weasley and Remus Lupin are a part, and determined to prevent Voldemort’s return. The movie is the twenty second highest grosser of all time.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince- Released in 2009, this movie was directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman and David Barron. It is a movie dedicated to fleshing out the character of Severus Snape (played by Alan Rickman), during his time as a student of Hogwarts. The movie cleverly makes the audience buy into Snape as a negative, anti-Harry character. The story follows the Trio’s sixth year at Hogwarts in which Harry chances upon and becomes obsessed with a mysterious textbook of the “Half Blood Prince”, falls in love, and attempts to retrieve a memory that holds the key to Lord Voldemort’s defeat and decline. With a total gross of $934 million, it is the 8th highest grossing movie of all time.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1- Released in 2010, this movie was directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Barron and David Heyman and J K Rowling herself. The story pertains to the Trio’s quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort’s secret to immortality – his Horcruxes, which are essentially the seven segments of his soul. With a worldwide gross of $960 million, Part 1 is the 21st highest-grossing film of all-time.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 - Released in 2011, this movie was directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman, David Barron, and J K Rowling. The story continues with the Trio’s quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes. The initial six Horcruxes were easily destroyed, but the seventh horcrux had been secreted inside Harry himself: thus, destroying it would mean Harry’s death… The suspense, emotion and romance of unrequited love earned it $483.2 million, making it the fourth highest grosser of all time.