Friday, December 9

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: ​​Return to Hogwarts review – dangerously close to emetic | Television and radio

TJohn Williams’ score plays (with additional bells for the festive season), the camera is raised over a fake Victorian street, wax-sealed letters appear, and so anyone who has reached the age of reading or seeing as of 1997 is at home. The Harry Potter reunion special, Return to Hogwarts, which marks 20 years since the first film adaptation of JK Rowling’s game-changing, multi-million dollar fantasy series was released on the boy wizard. fits as closely as possible to the original aesthetic from the start. .

The talks between the three main stars, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry himself), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), take place in the Gryffindor common room, there is an opening piece in the dining room of Hogwarts, Radcliffe and the Headmaster. of the first two movies, Chris Columbus speaks in Dumbledore’s office and so on. It provides a surge of nostalgia that only increases when the lasting affection between everyone becomes apparent. There’s a lot – increasing dangerously, if perhaps inevitably near emetic levels – that the cast and crew are like family. There are always in shows like this, but at least here it is more justified than usual. The actors began working on the franchise as children, and their audience grew alongside them in near real time when the films were released between 2001 and 2011.

As a family … Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. Photograph: Nick Wall / HBO / The Hollywood Archive / Avalon

However, one of those who you might assume is a central member of the family is conspicuous by its absence: the creator of Harry Potter and his world, author JK Rowling. An essay she published in 2020 expressing her views on the impact of gender ideology on women’s rights was widely denounced as transphobic. Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson distanced themselves from her. According to his agents, the controversy did not influence his decision not to participate in the meeting and he felt that the images from the 2019 interview he used here (mostly recalling the difficulty of finding someone to play Harry) would be enough presence. Whatever the true degree of your choice on the matter, and despite several fond mentions of “Jo” by Radcliffe and others throughout the special, a void remains.

But all around her is charm, warmth, charisma, especially when Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) blows like the world’s most glorious hurricane, and even a bit of new information amidst spent anecdotes. Yes, we replay how Alfonso Cuarón, who directed the third Potter film, had the central trio write essays on their characters and true to form, Watson turned in a perfect dozen pages, Radcliffe put together a half-face of A4, and Grint didn’t. did. bother. But we also heard that Alan Rickman understood Rowling’s inner line early on about Snape’s ultimate motivation and didn’t tell anyone, Watson’s growing loneliness as the pressures on her mounted, and about the deep affection between Watson and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy). and Radcliffe’s crush on Bonham Carter. There are also moments of tangential perception of the scale of the effort (such as when one of the three remembers being told that the casting announcement would be made that afternoon and that the media would descend: “So you can’t go home.”) , and Radcliffe’s maturity beyond his years from the start. He makes several references to watching the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Timothy Spall, and many others from the firmament of British theater do “a proper performance,” and his longing and delight in learning from them is still palpable.

It’s a skillful and calculated production, designed to give Potterheads exactly what they want, how they want it. But it contains enough untold stories and honesty from the participants and unfailing camaraderie to give you a more genuine heart than anyone probably expected. Perhaps in another 20 years they will also allow Rowling to come back in.

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