Fun with Franchises: Favorite Images from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
This is the first time we’re doing this here, so it’s gonna be a bit of a learning curve for us. The first two weeks are gonna be a bit bumpy, since the first two movies only have four parts to them. That gave us an extra day to deal with. But we figured out how to deal with that. I’ll explain that part later. For now, and for every other week except this one and next one where we do a Fun with Franchises article, they will be five parts to them, Monday to Friday, and then Saturday we’ll do the same article we’re doing here, and on Sunday, we’ll write up our final thoughts about the film we covered all week. And the process will reset on Monday again.
But for our purposes right now, what we’re doing is picking out what were our favorite images from the film we’ve just spent the week covering. It’s pretty simple. We’re just gonna pick out the shots we like best. For whatever reason. It doesn’t have to be because it’s a really famous image. We could just like it because it has boobies in it. You know us. We have no morals.
What we did was each set aside a group of like, 15 or 20 shots each, then compared lists and whittled them down to a final list of ten, mostly from going, “Hey, you like this one, and I like this one, so there we go.” It’s not a complicated process at all. And for fun, we’re also gonna list a couple honorable mentions that just missed the final cut but are shots we enjoy anyway.
This is the first time we’re doing this, so the process and such might change, but whatever. It’s a work in process. It’s like a pilot. We’ll tweak shit in season if need be. I remember when I started watching Burn Notice when it came out, and Gabrielle Anwar originally had the Irish accent, and by episode four they had her start doing an American accent and explained it by her saying, “I need to fit in and not seem like ex-IRA,” and then she spoke like that from there on out and they never mentioned it again. That’s how we operate around here.
That said — here are our favorite images from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:
We’re gonna put them in chronological order, since I don’t think ranking them would make much sense at all. Just picking ten is hard enough. To then rank them — not worth it. So here are our ten favorites, in chronological order:
1. Harry playing with the war figurines.
I love this shot. Just because it’s so simple, and it’s such a throwaway shot. And yet — we all remembered it. You know how I know that? Because in Deathly Hallows Part 1, when the Dursleys have left the house and Harry’s looking around, thinking about all he’s been through, he opens up the cupboard under the stairs, and there’s a shot inside it, and we see these figurines. And I guarantee you every single one of us when we saw that shot instantly thought back to this moment. That’s the sign of a powerful image.
“Man, I wanted a PS2, but I guess I’ll just have to play with this piece of shit.”
2. This face
There’s nothing as truly enjoyable as a fat guy making a crazy face. Griffiths’ expression here is reminiscent of the mad scientist in a 50s horror film. When I see this image, I hear cackling and, “Then ALL the eclairs will be mine! MINE, I TELL YOU!” Crazy faces are something that should never be underestimated in Hollywood. You can’t teach that.
It’s the nod that he does during it that truly makes it work. Like, “Yes… I am throwing all of our savings into the fire and wearing nothing but a burlap sack and clown makeup. I win!” Long live the crazy face.
3. “Are you guys doing magic?”
Mike has this way of taking screenshots that can turn a perfectly normal scene (or a yawn-inducing one, even) into something inappropriate. In fact, strike that. Mike has this way of taking anything and turning it into something inappropriate. This is a prime example. Look at this picture and tell me you don’t think this is funny. This is why a favorite screenshot article is very different from a favorite moment article — because you didn’t catch this while watching the film, and it’s only a skilled eye that’s able to pick out the dozens of times you look like a creep in between normal poses and facial expressions.
This is truly one of my skills. Taking an innocent scene of a girl wanting to see some idiot fail at doing magic and turning it into a girl turning her panties into the Everglades because she’s so turned on.
And we’re only at movie one.
4. The first shot of Hogwarts
This is one of my favorites for a couple reasons. First, it’s the very first time we see Hogwarts in the films. Which makes it a great image for that reason. The other reason — it’s just beautiful. It’s a beautiful image. And it ties into my real reason for wanting it here — it evokes a real sense of wonderment. We are these characters. We’re in boats, traveling to this magical place of witchcraft and wizardry. There are a lot of these types of images in this film, but this one stuck out as the most powerful, because this is really the beginning of all the magic. (The one shot I was going to choose instead was “Happy Christmas, Harry,” but I realized that was more the moment that made me happy than the image itself, so I skipped it. But both of these shots evoke that sense of warmness and familiarity with the characters and the franchise that I was going for.)
I agree. It’s only for first-years cause they’re new, but it’s also for us because we’re new to the universe as well. They make it look like such a great place to go to school, especially if you were 10 and going to a crummy public middle school. While I do love how beautiful this shot is, I prefer the reverse shot.
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Now… number five is a dual choice. Colin and I both had the same idea with our selections, and yet we picked two different shots. But since they’re both for the same idea, we’ll put them both.
5. Water into rum / Boom
There’s something very funny to me about the idea of an eleven-year old being like, “I can do magic now? All right water, turn into some fucking alcohol!” And then the other one becomes the other major running gag with Seamus, that he blows himself up at every opportunity, which eventually turns itself into a deep and profound knowledge of pyrotechnics. It’s one of those things that starts as a joke, but actually turns into some nice characterization for someone (somehow) that manages to even have a satisfying payoff in the last movie.
The only byproduct of my Irish heritage is that I love to make fun of the Irish. We first see Seamus trying to turn water into rum, because of all the transfigurations you could do, THAT is what a ten-year-old Irish kid is going to be trying. I’m still trying. And the second one is great because it becomes a running gag. I’m a sucker for these gags, where you cut to someone who’s got soot all over their face after they’ve been involved in an explosion — like Merry and Pippin when they’re playing with fireworks. It’s more likely you end up blind or horribly burned, but this is cheeky and fun. And it gets practical use later, so many points there.
6. Professor Quirrell holding an iguana
Look at this image. This is the best image in the movie. It’s professor Quirrell holding an iguana. Come on.
There ain’t no iguana.
It’s Filius Flitwick putting up Christmas ornaments. What isn’t badass about this shot?
Look at him! He’s charming shit up onto the tree! I love it when tiny people do things, but this is just better because he’s so obviously putting care into it. Think about what we see in the franchise, with things being set up or repaired with a single swish of the wand. You’d expect this tree to go up in a flash, but he’s doing one ornament at a time. Flitwick doesn’t do anything slapdash.
8. This shot
I love a few things about this shot. First, I love the unique camera placement. It’s just not something you see a lot of in this franchise, especially in these early ones. Chris Columbus is not exactly a visual director. So that stands out to me as one. (I also really like this shot of the dorms, because of the camera placement.) I kind of made fun of it in the articles, as a shot like this comes off very differently, post-Halloween, but in actuality, I really like this shot for the exact opposite reason. It’s a simple moment, apropos of nothing too, that has no purpose in the film. Harry walks out to the center of the courtyard with Hedwig, pets her, then sets her loose and she flies around and we transition from winter to spring. That’s all this is. And yet this shot is such a tender moment of a boy and his owl. It’s such a sweet little image. We get a few of these over the course of the film, but for some reason, the camera placement of this one and the lack of them trying to put significance onto it made this one stand out the most for me.
This is nice, because owls are really pets. He’s supposed to have a relationship with Hedwig, and Hedwig’s supposed to be a boss, but we don’t get to see her all that much. This is one of those shots that’s sort of like all of our TV Series ideas — fundamentally mundane and an everyday sort of thing, but touching and interesting for those exact reasons.
9. Ghost in detention
It’s a ghost in detention. There is a ghost — in detention. I rest my case.
That ghost is in trouble for booing the choir.
“What did this motherfucker just say? I know I ain’t heard what I THINK I just heard.” Or, “God DAMN that is a ass.”
What’s happening in this moment is Snape walked up on them talking about him and Hermione’s trying to explain what they’re doing. And he gives them this look. I’ll admit I missed this one while picking out shots and Colin brought it to my attention. It was just so funny to me, that look, and I loved the canted angle of it as well. I really love someone tilting their head one way and the camera tilting the other. Plus, this franchise was almost built on facial expressions, specifically Alan Rickman facial expressions, so there’s something about this shot that just makes the two of us very happy.
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And then here are five honorable mentions we’ll talk about less, that just missed the top ten, but are ones we still enjoy.
- Voldemort pointing his wand at Harry
I had this on my list for two reasons. First, it works in a story sense, being one of the most memorable and important images in the entire franchise. The second — because during this shot, and in this image specifically, baby Harry lowers his head a little bit and stares at Voldemort, giving off the impression that he’s like, “Go ahead… I dare you. I don’t give a fuck.” And that was so funny to me to see that. Watch this. You’ll see what I’m talking about. Tell me that’s not what he’s doing.
I like this because Baby Harry has a teeny mullet.
- This face
I already mentioned this with Unc V’s face above. This is a genuinely creepy, crazy face. It doesn’t make me as happy as Richard Griffiths did, but I can’t help but to chuckle at this. Filch is a creep.
What’s funny is that this isn’t even his funniest face in the movie. To me, his funniest one is when he turns to look down at Malfoy. But for some reason, this image is funnier because of the fact that you can’t see anything but his face. (This is him reacting to Hagrid crying about Norbert, by the way.) I just look at this image and laugh. It’s just naturally funny. This franchise really is a godsend for facial reactions.
- This shot
I love the sideways shot of the two heads. It’s one of those shots that’s kind of like in the magic act where they shot you how impossible what they’re doing is. Or like in a movie where one actor is playing twins and they put the two of them in the same frame and you’re like, “But wait… how are they doing that?” Just the idea of them doing a sideways shot here makes it seem impressive (even though it would be really easy to do), just because for the rest of the scene, it’s Voldemort reflected in the mirror and seen through reflection or a shot/reverse shot sort of deal. Plus, this is just a really great image anyway, of the two heads connected like that. Kind of like a comedy/tragedy deal. I don’t know, this just always stuck out to me as being a great image.
So that’s what’s under turbans. This is so freaking gross. It also reminds me of the GoldenEye title sequence when there’s a two-faced chick and the one on the right opens her mouth and a gun barrel comes out of it. And she looked like Angelina Jolie. What were we talking about?
- I’m a ghost ghost ghost ghost ghost
This is just a Platoon thing for me. Ghosts fly through people all the time. Did this hurt? Or was it just shocking and that’s why he looks like that?
He’s the king of the world.
- Unimpressed Hermione is unimpressed
I love this because it’s clearly them setting up the camera and being like, “All right, Emma… we need you to look angry. Now look upset. Now look sad because you lost.” And this is what she gave them. Plus they randomly cut to it in between Slytherin winning the House Cup. It’s almost one of those Terrence Malick shots. I mean, they work it into the plot via editing, but you could just cut to this randomly during the movie and linger on her sitting like that, and it becomes a thoughtful image where you read into the character. It’s just a really humorous shot on a lot of levels. (Also, this one. This is adorable.)
“This sucks. Man…I wonder what’s on TV tonight.”
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Now, the way this will normally work outside of this week and next week — the films will take up Monday to Friday, this will be the Saturday article, and our final thoughts on the films will be on Sunday. But this week, since there are only four articles for the film, we’re doing something special. Next week will also be something special, but not the same special as this week. So we’ll deal with that when we get there.
For now, what’s going to happen is, tomorrow we’ll post our final thoughts on the film. And then, we tried to figure out what to do on Sunday, and then I had a thought. I felt that it was kind of sad that Richard Griffiths died last week, and that we should find a way to pay tribute to him. And very quickly I thought of the perfect way to do that.
So, in honor of Richard Griffiths, this week on B+ Movie Blog, there will truly be — no post on Sunday.
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(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)