It’s ‘Guess The Harry Potter Movie’ Quiz Time

July 12, 2011 by Simon Kinnear in Nonsense with 0 Comments

Apparently, there’s a new Harry Potter movie in cinemas this Friday. And not just any old Harry Potter movie. The last Harry Potter movie. Sob.

Presumably, you’ve been keeping up with cinematic developments at Hogwarts over the last decade – or longer, if you read those book thingymajigs. Which means you’ll be able to tell one Potter adventure from another. Right?

Here’s the challenge. I’ve cobbled together excerpts from the critics’ original reviews of every film from The Philosopher’s Stone (or, if you insist, The Sorceror’s Stone) to The Deathly Hallows Part 1. Can you work out which movie each quote refers to?

Just so you can’t go and Google all of them (and also to indulge my narcissism) I’ve thrown in some of my own reviews as wildcards alongside the Roger Eberts and Peter Bradshaws of the world.

There’s no prize beyond glory, but please ‘comment’ with your answers. I’ll reveal who said what on release date – Friday 15th.


1) The movie is dense — every millimeter of screen space is art-directed up the wazoo — but not congested, Terry Gilliam-style. Each of the thousand elements knows its place: in the background, ceding eye-focus to the story and its increasingly plausible and compelling characters.

2) That any sense of play and pleasure remains amid all the doom and the dust, the poisonous potions and murderous sentiments, is partly a testament to the remarkable sturdiness of this movie franchise.

3) Less a $120 million movie than an expensive, elaborately planned military operation. Caution is the watchword, and securing territory the imperative—victory achieved by simply eliminating defeat. There’s a palpable avoidance of risk

4) Newcomers be damned: if making a good movie means leaving them in the cold, then so be it. The result is that, where the books form a consistent whole, the films have become closer to the Alien series, each one trying on a new director – and even genre – as if it’s passing through the movie wardrobe en route to a date with the audience.

5) Eliot’s Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons; British film writers measure out theirs by Daniel Radcliffe’s growth spurts… Soon Harry Potter will be actually doing the noisome deed itself, going for trendier glasses at Specsavers, or contact lenses, or zipping over to Moscow for corrective eye surgery; he’ll be going on Facebook and going tombstoning every weekend.

6) This witches’ brew is eminently drinkable. Those of us who regard the source books as literary junk shops also forget how colourful, varied and mustily reassuring they can be.

7) The kids may also, at this point, be feeling a bit blasé about Harry himself… The first generation of Potterphiles has moved on to other forms of fantasy… while their younger siblings now encounter the Potter series as a hand-me-down, rather than as their own special discovery.

8) It’s inexcusably lazy as cinema, but somewhere the Harry Potter films have begun to borrow the logic and form of modern boxset television. This might not make sense now, but it will when a (long) day can be spent watching the films back-to-back.

9) Dazzlingly well made and perhaps deliberately less fanciful than the previous entries, this one is played in a mode closer to palpable life-or-death drama than any of the others and is quite effective as such.

10) Structurally, the picture is jerky and episodic, a jumble of events connected by tenuous threads; after seeing it, those who haven’t read the book might be inspired to do so, just so they can be sure of what really happened.

11) Half-smoked Marlboro and Diamond White in hand, Harry turns to Ron and belches, “That Cho Chang is really hot. But she’s well out of my league and, like, I’ve got all that Voldemort stuff to sort out.”

12) It would be wrong to say that this Harry Potter movie lacks magic. It is in effect all magic, but of the Magicians’ Circle variety. The true absence is wonder, as well as surprise.

13) With Rowling’s tight narrative structures denying the variety of, say, the Alien series, I can’t help but foresee Harry becoming the new James Bond – always good value but always the same, simply a fixture in the schedules.

14) To be fair, the filmmakers have tried hard to fill the proceedings with battles and chases and debilitating curses. Genuine filmmaking excitement, however, is harder to provide.

15) Though Potter is set in a magical realm with an ethereal beauty, there is an honest and grounded quality to the human interactions. To paraphrase one of Harry’s spells, this… Potter film has managed mischief brilliantly.

Good luck passing those O.W.L exams!

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