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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

July 15, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Ranking “Harry Potter”

I’m not usually one for ranking; even my annual Top Ten list (required, on pain of being banned from the popcorn counter, for all movie critics) is alphabetical rather than numerical. Distinguishing, say, the year’s sixth best film from the seventh best film has always seemed a mystery to me, as each great film is unique. How do you compare “The Dark Knight,” say, with “Milk” or “WALL*E”? How do you say that one is just a teeny bit better than another, and not change your mind the next day? I don’t know, but people do it all the time; clearly I’m missing the ranking gene.
But this won’t stop me from comparing the “Harry Potter” movies — that, I think, is a fair enough target. It’s apples to apples, or, maybe, a Golden Delicious vs. a MacIntosh. Having watched and liked all six, I nonetheless have favorites, and would rank them this way (from most favorite to least favorite):
1. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
3. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
4. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
[big gap in quality here between the top four — all of which are great — and the bottom two, which are just good]
5. “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone
6. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Here’s a fun Harry Potter ranking from New York magazine, which is pretty close to my own conclusions and includes some clips that remind us that Rupert Grint has come a long way as an actor, and that Richard Harris was a truly magical Dumbledore.
And here’s a clip from my favorite Potter film, featuring the great Alan Rickman’s ever-oily Snape.

Which is your favorite Potter film? How would you rank the new one? Or has the whole Potter phenomenon left you cold?

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