Harry Potter: A Retrospective July 12, 2011, The Stranger
Lindy West Goes Deep Nerd
Well, it's over, you guys. Seven books, eight movies, however many horcruxes, hella snogging, buckets of nerd tears, one gay Dumbledore, one million nonsense words about "wandlore," one billion dollars in J. K. Rowling's bank account, one trillion hilarious wizarding jokes by me ("Muggle, please"), and Harry has his mother's eyes and you can't apparate into or out of Hogwarts and Hermione is STILL the only person who fucking bothered to read Hogwarts: A History (HONESTLY, RON). I'm going to miss it all. So much.
That is, I mean, until the Great Harry Potter Movie Franchise Reboot of 2031 (I'm being generous with that date—they're probably starting on it as we speak), starring Hugh Grant as Dumbledore (he'll be 70!) and Zac Efron as Gilderoy Lockhart (he'll be 43!) and the kid who plays Neville Longbottom in a hilarious cameo as Florean Fortescue, the guy who sells wizard ice cream (RIP). But until then, all we have to keep us warm at night are seven books, eight movies, however many horcruxes, one gay Dumbledore, etc. (See paragraph one, above.) So in honor of the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, I decided to take a look back at everything we've been through together. Join me.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
This movie is notable/interesting/good for almost zero reasons (I'm sorry, but is director Chris Columbus a worse person than the actual Christopher Columbus?), besides the fact that it introduced us to the adorable actor-children that we'd be saddled with for the subsequent fucking decade no matter what kinds of weird shapes their heads grew into. It also introduced perhaps the greatest character in the entire Harry Potter universe: the witch who runs the snack trolley on the Hogwarts Express. Hey, lady. HOW SHITTY OF A WITCH DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO GET STUCK RUNNING A SNACK TROLLEY ON A TRAIN FOR CHILDREN!? For that matter, does the Hogwarts Express do anything besides take kids to and from Hogwarts twice a year? How is that a responsible allocation of funds? And who built it? Who laid the tracks? Where did they get the steel? Did they buy it from Muggle steel distributors? These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
This is the one with Kenneth Branagh and the big underground snake. Chris Columbus returned to direct, and to infect the local centaur population with smallpox. Dick.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
The only legitimately good Harry Potter movie, Azkaban was directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who is an actual movie director instead of an overturned bucket with eyebrows and "big ideas."
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Okay. Logistics question. So if the entire Tri-Wizard tournament—this entire year of school—was just a long con set up by Voldemort to get Harry to eventually touch a portkey and be transported to that stupid graveyard, then why didn't Mad-Eye Moody just say to Harry ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, "Oh hey, Harry, could you just hold this quill for me for one second—" BAM!!! Portkeyed. Done. Slice 'n' dice. Did Barty Crouch Jr. just really really like grading papers? Seriously, J. K. Seriously.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
AND WHILE WE'RE ASKING QUESTIONS, WHY DOES FUCKING SLYTHERIN EVEN EXIST!? Even the Sorting Hat's like, "Ohhhh, if you're brave like a lion, you can be in Gryffindor/And if you're boring and a nerd, it's Ravenclaw for you/And the rest of the people just go in Hufflepuff, because whatever/And for the evil fucks, let me direct you to our dark wizard factory in the basement called Slytheriiiiiiin!" It makes no sense.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Uhhhh, I'm running out of space. Snape kills Dumbledore.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
We're almost done, y'all. Here's what I wrote when this one came out: "Oh, dude, shit is going DOWN. V-mort is totally taking over the Ministry of Magic. Hermione just obliviated her parents' brainz. Snape is wearing more eyeliner than ever. Ron drank too much Muscle Milk and Hedwig is dead and wandlore is confusing and Dobby is gross and I sincerely hope you read the book because otherwise I'm basically Gary Busey speaking Esperanto right now. You're fucked." It's true. You are.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
And here we are!!! The final movie. If you still haven't read the books, go ahead and take the amount of fucked that you were in the last movie, multiply it by double-fucked, feed it to Gary Busey, wait two hours, fish it out of his bidet, and fuck it. Because you aren't going to understand a word. That said, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is slightly awesome. Director David Yates does something smart here: Rather than attempt loyalty to the book, he skims valiantly through the opening Gringotts set piece and goblin exposition (zzzzz) so that he can actually settle in, take his time with the Battle of Hogwarts, and build to an actual climax. The battle is the movie—slobbering giants, whispering horcruxes, embarrassing steampunk werewolves, the Snape-didn't-do-it montage, that horrible red baby, Kingsley Shacklebolt's stupid fucking hat, Voldemort's Nehru collar of doom (all rendered in outrageously pointless 3-D). See you in 2031, nerds. Hopefully, Chris Columbus will be dead by then.
(Originally published here.)