Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts. Review. Exactly What you Would Expect.

Let’s finish off our coverage of material produced for the 20th anniversary of the theatrical release of the Philosopher’s Stone film. It’s time for the big one. The much-advertised reunion special. Released on New Year’s Day to a great amount of fanfare it was going to do gangbuster streaming numbers regardless of quality. Even if the special wasn’t a great deal more than in glorified DVD special feature. Ten years ago it would have been ported onto one of the Ultimate Edition Blu ray releases. The question is did it satisfy the Potterhead within this reviewer?.
This megafan is pleased to report that it did. This is the sort of special one might expect from a franchise of this magnitude. Handsomely mounted, emotionally resonant, Perhaps a little safe. Ultimately very aware that just getting the main trio back together in the same room will prove very effective and affecting for fans,
The special leans hard on one basic but effective theme. The sense of found family between all the returning actors through the process of making the films. From a creative perspective, this effectively means two things. The creators know that the original ten year run of the film series is effectively the genre film edition of Boyhood ( beyond this surface-level connection that the characters go to one of the midnight book releases in Richerd Linklater’s film.) The other critical factor is the clear create a decision to only focus on the surviving actors who had an emotional connection to the franchise. Some may question why the likes of Robert Pattinson aren’t here. That should be blatantly obvious. You wouldn’t want everyone back when this author is sure plenty of the cast and creative team saw the series as nothing more than a job on their broader creative CV. Limiting the participants in this way and effectively only focusing on actors and directors results in an admittedly safe but effective reunion that should please fans around the world. It’s incredibly comforting to see these actors who were such a part of an entire generations collective childhood back together. They are successful in replicating some of the chemistry that makes the film series as a whole such a singular achievement. We watch the former child actors re-live the process, growing up in the eye of one of the worlds biggest media phenomena. We see the adults reminisce about being parachuted into the franchise at various points and the Emotional bonds that developed watching these children grow up over 10 years. For as safe as the entire thing might feel even if you have a small connexion to the film series, this should be very pleasant viewing.
There is one giant elephant in the room. This would of course be JK Rowling. Rowlings Twitter account and Online presence generally would result in her inclusion being somewhat frosty if she was with the other participants. For the points where discussion of her is impossible to get around this, the creative team splice in existing footage from a 2019 interview. They make this incredibly clear so that Social Justice Twitter won’t get up in arms and review bomb this streaming tentpole release. Meanwhile, those that would expect to see more of Rowling and maybe only partially aware of her social media ( which is more of the world than certain accounts will have you believe) immediately question her very awkward inclusion. Nobody wins
Some may also question while there is less focus on the behind the scenes crew. In many ways were the backbone of the series. Especially since For the reunion those involved are Are sitting on the gorgeously preserved sets of Leavesden Studios. Within that last statement is your answer. The wildly popular Leavesden Studios t is a lot more than a collection of Harry Potter knickknacks designed exclusively for fans. In the same way, the special is an acknowledgement of the on-camera talents singular achievement in growing up on screen and seeing the project to a conclusion, Leavesden is now effectively a shrine to the behind the scenes talent also responsible for this. Regardless of one emotional attachment or lack thereof to the series the studio tour is a fantastic insight into the world of large scale film making. A Fluffy reunion special like this can only go so far in exploring this. Meanwhile, the studio tour offers a lot more as an attraction experience than any form of visual media ever can Is there an argument for producing some kind of pro-shot presentation for the tour experience? Definitely. However, this is an entirely separate debate from discussing the merits of the reunion special viewers were actively presented with.
The Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts reunion special is in many ways exactly what fans would expect it to be. A pleasant and warm reminder that these stories, characters and performances will live on far beyond the legacy of one individual actor. It’s fun to watch those in front of camera talents for whom the franchise left a big impression to get together and reminisce about their experiences. Even if the majority of the behind the scenes stuff here is not a great deal more than a cut-down version Of existing material from the Ultimate Edition documentaries. not every fan will have immediate access to those. If Potter fans are looking for an emotionally resident trip down memory lane the reunion will satisfy their cravings.

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