O.W.L. Results Now In

July 15, 2011 by Simon Kinnear in Nonsense with 2 Comments

Earlier this week, I set a fiendish Harry Potter quiz to name the film from what the critics said at the time.

It was so fiendish that few dared publically to guess the answers.  Frankly, it was too fiendish for me.  At one point, I looked at the questions and couldn’t remember the answers even through I’d set the damn thing.

Naming all of the Horcruxes at gunpoint would probably be easier.

Still, for those who at least bothered to read it, here are the answers:

Harry and Ron weren't happy about their latest exam, and even Hermione was having second thoughts

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.

Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire
Richard Corliss, TIME

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.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Manohlia Dargis, New York Times

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

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s (or Sorceror’s) Stone
J. Hoberman, Village Voice

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.

Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix

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.

Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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.

Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets
Wally Hammond, Time Out 

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.

– Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
A.O. Scott, New York Times

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.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1

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.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Todd McCarthy, Variety

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.

Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix
Stephanie Zacharek, Salon

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.”

Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire
Total Film

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.

Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets
Philip French, The Observer

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.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban

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.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1
Kenneth Turan, L.A. Times

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.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban
Claudia Puig, USA Today

How many did you get right?

Related posts


Spread the word


  1. iFlicksJul 16, 2011 at 8:09 amReply

    Blimey, that was difficult!

    I ended up getting five of them right (2,4,7,11,15).

    Given that no-one else has publicly declared their shame of failing so miserably, can I claim some kind of prize for getting more than 20% right?

  2. kinnemaniacAug 23, 2011 at 4:08 pmReply

    Thanks for taking part in the quiz. Mildly flattered that (with one exception) my own reviews baffled you as much as everyone else's!

What do you think? Please leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Social Network
A Brief History