Because I am a visual person and not much of a fiction book fan (ironic, I know...), it really helps me to see the movie first before reading the book. I tried to read the first Harry Potter book 6 years ago, but didn't make it past the first chapter. Now that I have seen the movies, I am certain I will be more engaged in the books.
As I watched the movies (mostly for research purposes...) I was deeply moved by the character of Harry Potter. I believe he is the crowning achievement of J.K. Rowling. Not only do you feel compassion for this boy, but you really begin to like him as the story unfolds.
The next brilliant achievement of Rowling was the world she created. I can definitely see why the imaginations of so many children all over the world were captured by it. I, as an adult, was enthralled in all the details of the world she created and how the producers brought that world to life.
Finally, the part of the movies (and books...) that I didn't not enjoy was the over all dependence on magic (whether viewers see it as good or bad magic...) by the characters. One of the many things about the Lord of the Rings books and the Narnia books is how the main characters must endure overwhelming trials and still complete amazingly arduous tasks ON THEIR OWN without the assistance of magic spells, wands, or wizards. Even Gandalf, although a wizard, did not use his magic to assist Frodo and Sam on their journey. Frodo suffered through and completed his task.
I feel that because Frodo had to make this journey on his own and considered the burden his alone to bear, most readers admired him all the more when he finally succeeded in ridding the world of the evil Sauron by using Sauron's prize against him in the end. We see that when Frodo did use the magic (the ring) he suffered the consequences: Sauron was able to see him and his location putting Frodo in even more danger.
In the Narnia books and movies, we see much of the same thing. The kids are in a magical world where animals talk and mythical creatures exist. Yet the task set before the kids is one they must endure without magical powers.
I feel my opinion was justified when, in The Deathly Hallows Part I, Harry Potter loses a dear friend and wants to bury him....without the use of magic. He insists they bury him with their own hands. When I heard this line, I thought, why? Why does Harry insist upon using his own hands instead of his wand? Could it be that to him, using magic is too easy. But burying his friend with his hands would mean more or be more significant?
Of course, as a Christian, the biggest part of the Harry Potter movies is the fact that the good guys use magic to battle the bad guys when to me, all magic is evil.
So, how can you use evil to combat evil? Answer: you can't.
Only good can defeat evil. And that's what Jesus Christ taught us. He, being the only truly Good person because He was God incarnate, could not be held down by death. Only He, being truly Good, could defeat evil once and for all. And that's what He did. I think that is why I was most disappointed in the way the movie series ended. I felt there could have been a more satisfying way to end the series...so SPOILER ALERT! You may want to skip this section if you haven't seen the movie or read the last book!!
I feel the story would have had more impact had Harry Potter died at the end. He, being the owner of the Elder wand, should have destroyed its owner by falling off the bridge so that no one could wield the dangerous power again. As sad as this idea is, I feel it would have had more impact on fans. The last scene should have been of Hermione and Ron sending their kids off to Hogwarts with one of their kids named Harry Albus Sirius Weasley. That would have been fun!
But, as far as movies go, they were well made. The directors all did outstanding jobs and I was pleasantly surprised with the consistency. I wish George Lucas had done the same thing with the Star Wars series: selected different and talented directors & writers to complete each film. That would have added a depth to each story that Lucas wasn't able to accomplish on his own.
I look forward to reading the Harry Potter books mostly to see how Rowling handles dialogue, scene transitions, and detail in her writing. Since my next series involves teens in a private preparatory school setting, I want to glean what I can from her technique.
Well, that's my review of the Harry Potter movies. I am a fan of Mr. Potter. I liked his character a lot. I wouldn't recommend the books or movies to kids younger than 13, though. The story and magic seem to be too dark for younger kids to fathom. Parents should engage in dialogue with their kids, as we have with our son, about the story and use of magic. I explained to my son that, although tempting, getting out of a difficult task by using alternative supernatural means may seem like a good idea, it isn't. Satan tempted Jesus with his powers, but Jesus withstood the temptations to teach us how to do the same. God rewards hard work. He rewards those who endure trials. He rewards suffering because He suffered and endured even though He could have ordered his angels to destroy His enemy. He did not....He endured to the end.
So should we.