Now that all the Harry Potter movies have been released, it seems like an opportune moment to try to size them all up.
I have tried to rank/grade all eight of them individually based on their objective quality as films, but I don't feel able to do this properly because what I really know about film is comparatively limited and because the books and the characters are so close to my heart that it's hard to look objectively at the movies. So rather than rank them all individually, I've divided them into three tiers, with the first tier being the best:
FIRST TIER: Order of the Phoenix, Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2.
SECOND TIER: Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire.
THIRD TIER: Sorceror's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Half-Blood Prince.
Now, it's much easier to rank them all individually based on my own personal enjoyment of them, so here is that list, ranked from most favorite to least favorite, based on my most recent viewing for those that I have seen more than once:
1. Deathly Hallows--Part 2
2. Deathly Hallows--Part 1
3. Order of the Phoenix
4. Chamber of Secrets
5. Sorceror's Stone/Prisoner of Azkaban
6. Goblet of Fire
7. Half-Blood Prince
I feel that the strongest aspect of all of the movies has been the casting. It's been said countless times already that the cast has included many of the finest actors in Britain and/or the world, which probably has a lot to do with the films' tremendous success. Some casting decisions I have been skeptical about, others I have fully embraced from the first announcement, but there has only been one case in which I've been genuinely disappointed in one of their casting decisions.
But as impressive as the adult cast has been, the young actors have been truly phenomenal. The stamina that they have shown to keep making these movies all these years is mind-boggling. I imagine, and have kind of gleaned from press cuttings and such, that they made the first movie with a sort of cautious optimism toward eventually filming the entire book series, and it seems to me that it must have been something of a risky endeavor to cast these children with an eye toward the future because, to a certain extent, children that young are an unknown quantity, even to themselves. Maybe especially to themselves. I know that when I was 11, I had only the vaguest idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and have changed my mind several times since then. So I used to worry about the young Harry Potter actors, that the burden of filmmaking and of celebrity, etc., would be too much for them, but it seems like it's been an overwhelmingly positive experience for them and they all seem to be reasonably happy and well-adjusted young adults now, in addition to being very talented and well-trained actors, which does my heart good.