10 Years Since We Said Good Bye: The Lasting Impact of Harry Potter on Film

It’s hard to believe it all started with a bespectacled boy living under a staircase in Privet Drive. The eight installments of hair-raising, goosebump-inducing adventures would define not only my childhood to maturity but also those of millions of fans all over the world. Where to begin? Watching all the Harry Potter films felt like a unofficial rite of passage. Certain films are lucky to get a prequel or sequel. 

A whole trilogy is always fun. But a slew of eight individual films, each with their own set of stakes and thrills that captivate, came together and changed the game for fiction. Even though cinematic universes are all the rage now, at the time, this was truly unparalleled. Just one sliver of the maestro John Williams’ timeless orchestrations take me back to being a kid. 

I find rewatches of the series comparable to slices of a really good box of pizza. You’ve got some entries that are more cheesy than others (Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets) and when one’s done, you have to have another. There’s burnt and darker slices along the way(Goblet of Fire, Half Blood Prince) that seem intimidating at first but after finishing them, you’re glad you did. Okay, maybe I overdid it with the metaphors but you get my point.

Case in point

The Harry Potter films were truly lighting captured in a bottle shot on 35 mm film. The costumes were on point. The production design was truly immersive in making you believe riding on broomstick was a legit means of transportation. The incomparable John Williams with yet another memorable score for yet another otherworldly franchise. The classes the kids would take made being in school actually look fun and enjoyable. Everything about these movies just came together with the right people at the right time to create a cinematic masterpiece. 

They’re the type of films that make me put down whatever chore or assignment I have at the time just to truly appreciate the sheer time and energy dedicated to making these films that still stand the test of time. I still remember clearly the day I rented Prisoner of Azkaban from my school’s library and being so eager to head home with the latest wizarding world adventure in my hands. 

I must’ve come close to wearing out the tape re-watching Hermione clock Malfoy over a dozen times. The films taught me to face fears and that friendship is a powerful thing. Many friendships were forged through mutual admiration of the saga. By the time the first trailer for later installments dropped, it was all we could talk about. By the time the trailer for Deathly Hallows Part Two was released, I could anticipate the hype we’d have for how it might all end. 

Today, young adult adaptations are all the rage and we have J.K Rowling to thank for that. Hunger Games. Twilight. Maze Runner. Countless more novels are being made into blockbusters and it was popularized all thanks to the Boy who Lived. It’s hard to believe the films never got much love at the Academy Awards when the Lord of the Rings raked in 11 Oscars but I still love them all regardless. 

Career-defining performances from the likes of Dame Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge,the late and great Alan Rickman as Snape, Gary Oldman as Siruius, and of course, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry. Their iconic scenes and quotes play in my head on repeat. Always.

-Michael Omoruan