Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
I’m was never totally sold on this one. It brings an interesting style to the series, and while it doesn’t necessarily stick out like Prisoner of Azkaban does, it just doesn’t work somehow. The whole film is framed like a political thriller – appropriate, given director David Yates’s previous experience with the subject matter – but it doesn’t do the story justice. The plot is more “teenage rebellion” than “political rebellion”. In a Venn-diagram with those two, the term “fight-the-power” falls in the middle, and because of this, Yates confuses the tone and really ruins the picture.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
This one is often maligned in the fanbase because it cut a lot of stuff from the books while using that time to add new scenes that weren’t in the book. My message to those people? Shut up. You know what a lot more filmmakers should do when adapting material? Not slavishly follow the source material down to the letter. It ruined the Chris Columbus films, after all. Yates made the incredibly smart decision to ignore fanboy gripes and simply do his best to make a good movie. And in my opinion, he did. The added material really improves the story. It improves the tone and streamlines the story. It’s a great improvement from his first entry in the series.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I:
I truly believe that this will be the forgotten film in the Harry Potter franchise. It’s slow-paced, it doesn’t have many iconic moments, and it has a dark, pessimistic, inconclusive finale. However, this is the best film in the whole series.
Now, the tone that Yates chose for Order of the Phoenix may have been misguided, but he put it into effect, well, effectively. It showed that he knew what he was doing, as a director. And he really nails this entry. Everything works perfectly. The plot flows beautifully, certain strange plot elements from the book are eliminated (I always wondered why Harry would want to go back to Godric’s Hollow in disguise), the characters make realistic decisions, the cinematography is better than it has ever been, and each emotional beat resonates just as intended. As far as Potter films go, this one is pretty much flawless.
And now, I will rank the Harry Potter franchise, from worst to best. A review of Deathly Hallows – Part II will be coming in the immediate future, but for now, this list will have to suffice.
8.) Sorcerer’s Stone
7.) Chamber of Secrets
6.) Order of the Phoenix
5.) Deathly Hallows – Part II
4.) Half-Blood Prince
3.) Goblet of Fire
2.) Prisoner of Azkaban
1.) Deathly Hallows – Part I