‘Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts’ Review – A Celebration Of Imagination


Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, brings back all those fond memories, and we get a chance to witness it all over again. It felt like going through an old photo album. The pictures make you reminisce about the good old days. You can’t help but get drenched in nostalgia. You get reminded of a time when life was easy, and we thought that the world would be at our fingertips. Seeing the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron once again on screen, made us realize how fast time passes as it still feels like yesterday when three inquisitive kids met in the train compartment for the first time. How a skeptical Harry didn’t know where to find a platform that was strangely numbered 9 and 3 quarters. How he met the whole Weasley entourage and got a homelike feeling which he had craved for throughout his life.

The Harry Potter Special Episode shows us what happened behind the scenes, how the comradery grew between the actors, how being on the sets of Harry Potter became an intrinsic part of their lives, what complications they had to deal with considering the amount of fame and recognition they were getting at such an early age and many more things that the fans would love to know about the life of their favorite Witches and Wizards.

Evan Creevy, Giorgio Testi, and Joe Pearlman have directed this TV special and, in the process, have left every Potterhead with a feeling of fulfillment and extreme gratification.

Harry Potter – The Life Behind The Scenes

Harry Potter novels had become a rage, and the casting for the movie was about to begin. It was an extremely tough task to select the cast and create the world so intricately thought out by J.K Rowling. It had ceased to be just a figment of imagination because of the kind of detailing J.K Rowling had done. It compelled makers to be objective in their approach. Stuart Craig was vested with the most complex task of designing the set and bringing to life a world that only existed in the imagination of the prolific writer. Stuart Craig was able to accomplish something so great that even J.K Rowling was stunned when she saw it for the first time. As viewers, we often don’t realize the importance of the set design and how it aids in the storytelling, and one poorly designed setting can put you off big time. You know that what’s happening on the screen is a work of fiction, you know that the Diagon alley does not exist in reality, you know there is no school called Hogwarts, you know there is no Quidditch playground, but still, you are compelled to believe that it is a reality.

The casting had to be just about perfect. Luckily for the makers, they found child artists who bore an uncanny resemblance in characteristics with the characters created by J.K Rowling. Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Tom Felton share how fun it was to be on the sets of Harry Potter. Their life was to change 360 degrees, and they were aware of that fact. After the first film was a big hit, the director, Chris Columbus, knew that he had successfully accomplished one of the most challenging tasks, i.e., getting acceptance from the audience. The chosen ones enjoyed unparalleled fame and success, but it didn’t come without complexities. They were still school-going kids, and to get such recognition at such a stage could really impact your sensibilities and bring about a complete change in perceptions. Emma Watson opened about how she wanted to leave the franchise after a point of time. She went into this very lonely space where she craved a much simpler life and devoid of any limelight that gave her the freedom to not care about public perceptions.

Chris Columbus took great care about the fact that he does justice to the imagination of J.K Rowling. From the great performers like Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Late Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter to the younger lot of actors, one thing everybody knew after the release of the first film that even if they are not around to witness it, their legacy will live on for the generations to come. The immortal characters like Hagrid, Dumbledore, and Severus Snape will always be around to take us on a journey that not only entertains us but teaches us a lot of things.

The Strength of Harry Potter – The Characters and Their Core Values

There was a reason why Harry Potter garnered such a huge fan following and acclamation. There was a set of beliefs that the world of J.K Rowling propagated. The beautiful family bonds, the power of sacrifice, the comradeship and the promises, the acts of selflessness and the passion, the unconditional love, and taking a stand for something that was far greater in its essence, were some significant aspects that profoundly affected the audiences. We grew with the characters. When the series ended, a beautiful chapter of our childhood also ended with it. With every film, we became wiser and got ready for the real world that we once saw in a very different tint. We understood deeper emotions that were once alien to us. More than glory, we now understood loss. We understood that real happiness didn’t lie in fame, money, or any other materialistic aspect, but it lay in seeing how much you mean to your loved ones.

Harry Potter and their core characters

The character arcs were created by J.K Rowling in such a manner that sometimes it left you utterly satisfied and sometimes bereaved. Nobody could have guessed what was in store for a boy living in a cupboard under the stairs, or that we would actually have some sympathy for the character of Draco Malfoy in the end. Nobody would have imagined that the shy and introverted Neville Longbottom would stand up to the Dark Lord himself. Still, the cherry on the cake was the character arc of a dreaded professor who made the greatest sacrifice for love. It left us thinking how we held one perception for years, and it took only 20 seconds to shatter it all and leave us speechless.

From Books To Screen – A Great Refuge

Escapism often has a negative connotation attached to it. But I would advocate that it is not always the case. Imagine a boy whom society considers a misfit. He might be looking for validation all the time. He tries to fit in but often does not understand the absurdity of man-made systems and hypocritical behavior. He acts in the manner he is expected but has chained his authentic self somewhere deep inside, where even he cannot find it. He thinks if he voices out his opinions, then he would be mercilessly judged. But then he is transported to a world where there are limitless possibilities. A world devoid of any social parameters, a world that acts as a shelter for him and his thoughts. Maybe in the real world, he wouldn’t be able to change people’s opinions, but he could mold his reality and, in the process, be a beacon of hope for all those who are in the same boat.

J.K Rowling created this world of misfits where not necessarily everybody was a winner. Not necessarily everybody had talent. But they all had one thing in common, a big heart and a willingness to accommodate everyone without discrimination. You could be weird, crooked, hairy, long, or short. This world only cared about whether you were honest in your approach and earnest in your efforts.

Streaming on Amazon Prime, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts takes us back to the time when we desperately hoped that one fine morning we would also receive a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and we would realize that we were always capable of creating magic in our own lives, a fact that we often forget as we grow up.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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