Spoiler alert, blah blah blah.
Lisa and I went through the first five Harry Potter films this past week to get ready for the big event. Not only did it get us in the mood, it also got us ready to compare.
I think Prisoner of Azkaban remains my favorite. In spite of the fact that it leaves out several things from the book that really tie things together (such as the identity of the “Marauders”), it all flows very well and there are so many nice touches here and there.
Order of the Phoenix is my least favorite. It’s just not very memorable, and it’s not clear what the point of the story is. Plus they leave out what I think is an important point: Voldemort wants the prophecy, but it turns out it wouldn’t have done him any good. It’s a recurring theme that one of his flaws is that he doesn’t understand things as well as he thinks he does.
Now on to Half-Blood Prince. Obviously it hasn’t replaced either my most or least favorite. But I’d rank it pretty high. The love triangles and such were fun and gave it a nice human touch. Luna was great fun, and it was a shame that she kind of disappeared from the story halfway through.
Draco’s portrayal is different from in the book. Rather than just seeing Harry watch the map and wonder what he is up to, we get to see Draco going about his task - and we see the burden of it nearly break him. Of all the changes from the books to the films, this is my favorite.
Conversely, there are two glaring omissions. It’s a close call, but I’ll rank the funeral as number one. Simply put, Dumbledore deserves better.
Second is the battle at the end. What was the point of bringing all those Death Eaters into the castle if they weren’t going to do anything? Draco and Snape were the ones tasked with killing Dumbledore, and they were already there. Once that was done, they all just broke some windows, set Hagrid’s house on fire, and ran away with nobody but Harry to chase them.
If it was a question of time or budget, I would have traded the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes scene for the battle at the tower. Sure it was a fun scene, but story-wise it only introduced the love potions and darkness powder (and the latter should probably have been omitted).
I could go on, but since I really enjoyed the film overall, that would be counterproductive. So I’ll just mention my two favorite quotes, which were omitted from the film. They’re both from Dumbledore:
“Oh, surely not. So crude.” (Disappointed that blood was required to enter the cave)
“Jokes? No, no, these are manners.” (Refusing to lose his composure in front of the Death Eaters even though he was about to die)