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Harry Potter Reunion Special Review: HBO Max Ignores JK Rowling Flaws

The “Harry Potter twentieth Anniversary Reunion Particular” is actually a protracted bonus characteristic you’d in all probability discover on a DVD or Blu-ray field set.

Like many individuals of my technology, I can recall the primary time I learn “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” and the primary time I noticed one of many films in theaters. By no means a die-hard fan, the films and books had been nonetheless part of my childhood. However the entirety of the Harry Potter universe has modified for me, because it has for a lot of, within the wake of collection creator J.Okay. Rowling’s anti-trans feedback, and time has brought about us to query most of the selections made within the movies and novels.

Did I count on any of this to be touched on throughout HBO Max’s almost two-hour reunion particular? No. Warner Bros. has been pretty clear that they nonetheless plan to work with Rowling, no matter what she says. However I did hope that perhaps, 20 years after the discharge of the primary characteristic movie, there may be a want to have a look at one thing, something. And, certain, there are moments that contact on darkness introduced on this hour and 45 minutes, however they’re few and fleeting.

The tone is about from the primary minute, when a choose few solid members are “found” simply hanging round random locations that aren’t in any respect a set. Emma Watson is casually perusing a second-hand e book store, Matthew Lewis is speaking to a cab driver. Numerous invites to come back to this reunion are magically introduced and we’re off to completely not deliberate moments the place the solid is reunited for large hugs and shiny smiles.

This is likely one of the most important incongruities that’s instantly obvious in regards to the particular: scripted moments handed off as pure authenticity. There are not any criticisms that may be lobbed at this collection, as a result of every part has been stage-managed to ban that. The “Mates” reunion had the core six again collectively once more. Right here, whether or not due to COVID or simply particular person schedules, we get extra of a piecemeal reunion the place actors are made to look like they’re collectively extra usually than they’re.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson are collectively probably the most, however extra usually we get Radcliffe, Grint, or Watson quasi-interviewing different necessary members of the franchise, like director Chris Columbus. Different performers, like Lewis, Tom Felton, and Bonnie Wright are simply particular person speaking heads, which solely enhances the sensation that these are leftover interviews saved up for a second like this. And people current really feel selective. Michael Gambon, who performed Dumbledore for six of the eight movies, isn’t even included in inventory interviews for causes that really feel bizarre. In direction of the tip, Emma Watson refers to Katie Leung, who performed Harry Potter’s paramour Cho Chang, as a outstanding activist, but Leung is barely current in footage from the movies, and there’s completely no dialogue of the racism she skilled whereas making the movies.

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, 2001

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

Courtesy Everett Assortment

It’s been 20 years and the dearth of any want to introspectively have a look at the nice and, sure, the unhealthy the collection has created seems like a lazy method to money in on nostalgia. Take the reference to Leung, for instance. In one of many extra real moments, Emma Watson discusses how she nearly left the collection after the third characteristic. Why she wished to go away is rarely defined — although most individuals who keep in mind that time know Watson was certainly one of a number of pre-teen women to expertise a “countdown to 18.” Add to that Radcliffe and Grint saying they knew there was a distinction in how they had been handled versus Watson — although what that distinction was, once more, is unclear — and there may simply have been a dialogue about rising up as a girl, as a minority, and making a beloved collection like this.

The aim of the particular is to invoke heat fuzzies, and people creating it perceive that those watching shall be superfans who eat up every part Harry Potter. So it doesn’t matter that Rowling is slapped into the particular in some badly Photoshopped moments that would simply be lifted out relying on how individuals react on-line. It doesn’t matter that those self same followers who harassed Leung are those so usually cited by the assembled solid as being important to the collection, thought-about among the “kindest” individuals on the market. There’s such a want to give attention to the rose-colored glasses parts that not even Robert Pattinson’s first characteristic movie position being in “The Goblet of Hearth” is mentioned. As an alternative, we get copious clips of the producer giving us a movie faculty evaluation of what subtext in sure scenes is supposed to convey or how adolescence is formed by these films.

The “Harry Potter twentieth Anniversary Reunion Particular” is actually a protracted bonus characteristic you’d in all probability discover on a DVD or Blu-ray field set. I wasn’t satisfied a time or two that outdated interviews weren’t simply reused. In case you’re a “Harry Potter” superfan, you’ll in all probability discover returning to Hogwarts and seeing your favourite characters reunited nice sufficient. Simply don’t count on something passing for development.

Grade: D

Harry Potter twentieth Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” streams on HBO Max January 1.

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