This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter franchise and its 10th anniversary. From Philosopher’s Stone to Deathly Hallows Part 2 , the young actors became phenomenal and established names became known to an even wider audience. There was always something special about the Harry Potter cast, especially because they all seemed to love the series so much themselves. It still seems that way after all this time and so the FRIENDS reunion is followed by the now equally (or more) hyped Harry Potter reunion in Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts .
simple is better
We already saw in the announcement trailer that they weren’t just going to put the actors together in a room and let them talk. Some work has indeed been put into it. For example, the special begins with some attendees receiving a Hogwarts letter with their name and location at (eg Matthew Lewis, Taxi in London, Stuck in Traffic. Good one!) inviting them to the reunion. Then we follow the cast, but especially Emma Watson, who board the Hogwarts Express after which Watson finally steps into the Great Hall. At first we only see professional dancers there, but as soon as she steps past them, hugs with former castmates follow. Har
The opening piece felt a bit overproduced and I was already afraid that it would be too made all the time. Fortunately not, although the further format does follow a fixed pattern. Different combinations of actors are put together in an earlier set to reminisce. (Handy, that Warner Bros Studio Tour !) In addition, there are also junket-like interviews with the actors individually. What is striking is the absence of recent interviews with writer JK Rowling, who was apparently invited but declined. On the other hand, she didn’t have much to do with the production of the films, so that wasn’t so bad for me.
So there is never really a roundtable with all the actors present, and there are also some big names that are missing, but I suspect that COVID is also something in between. In total, the special lasts an hour and 40 minutes, about as long as FRIENDS’s. So they don’t just talk about the first movie that turns 20 , but really about all of them. A certain memory or scene usually turns out to be the trigger for a piece of conversation, some fragments and other visual material.
What you especially want to hear from such a Harry Potter reunion are the actors’ own experiences on the set. And there is certainly no shortage of that. I’ve already watched a lot of extras from DVDs and read from books, so I had heard some stories before, but it’s still nice to hear the actors tell about them themselves. In addition, there is quite a lot of unseen footage from behind the scenes, sometimes filmed by the cast and crew themselves, and that is also a great added value.
And I think I’ve kept myself professional long enough because HOW FUN IS IT TO SEE THIS CAST I LOVE SO MUCH BACK TOGETHER?? (First time using caps in a review but it was necessary.) To describe myself in the past (and now) as “obsessed with all things Harry Potter” was actually an understatement. So the first conversation between Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe immediately gave me goosebumps and a smile from here to there. They also don’t seem to have changed much from the way they used to be in behind-the-scenes interviews: Watson still sincere and on the border between serious and funny, Radcliffe his sarcastic self and Grint the calm himself.
Above all, it is very striking how much these people love each other, the time they have spent on the set and also the movies themselves. As a super fan, I still love to hear that. This is also a celebration of the series, so don’t expect any self-criticism either. If you’re not particularly fond of Harry Potter yourself, this reunion isn’t really for you either. The three main actors in particular have always been very private, but we still find out a few things like the doubts Emma had after the fifth film about returning, or what’s up with those rumors about her and Tom Felton . Of course they also stop to think about the actors who are no longer there and that was very moving anyway. Luckily it wasn’t stretched too long for the emotions either.
I eagerly accept any new piece I can get about the behind-the-scenes work at Harry Potter. And when the farewell to the films is discussed again, the emotions are no longer with anyone (including myself). That produces very moving statements that I also sincerely believe. The whole reunion is of course a production and not completely spontaneous but even then everyone seemed quite candid. It could have taken me two hours longer. This series of films and the people who worked on it will always have a special place in my heart. So I gladly let myself be carried away by this love letter to it.
The Harry Potter reunion (officially named Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts) will be available on Streamz from January 2 . In addition, all films will also appear on the platform.