Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts Review: Golden trio fly their broomsticks down memory lane

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint sit inside the Gryffindor Common Room and reminiscence their good ol' days of being in the eight magical Harry Potter movies. Read Pinkvilla's review of Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts below.

Updated on Jan 03, 2022 01:57 AM IST  |  268.2K
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary Return to Hogwarts
The cast of Harry Potter enters Hogwarts after 20 years.

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts Stars: 3/5

Watching the magical Harry Potter movies, or reading the incredibly scripted books have been some of our happiest memories from childhood. Anybody who has been invested in the mysterious Wizarding World shall know how important Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, is for the Potterheads. However, like the Quidditch games, which do not end as one might expect them to, the reunion special episode takes hours to catch the 'golden snitch', making the project go on longer than one might want or possess the energy to tolerate.

The reunion special feels stretched to the point of being a bore at several moments (recall reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, twice at one go!) It features interviews from the cast members and several directors of the movies, but such didn't feel necessary as it caters intimately to the personal experiences of the actors and the production team, which seemed of no merit. When the audience tunes in to a Harry Potter movie, they love the idea of being surrounded by magic, fantasy and that Hogwarts shall never leave your back! However, while the reunion decided to ponder upon the magical aspects of the Harry Potter universe, it failed to stick to it, and had the 'muggles' steal the show!

Some of the first appearances had my heart beating faster. When Emma Watson (who played Hermione Granger) approached Tom Felton (who played Draco Malfoy) for *that* hug, I think I paused for a while and arranged myself to complete the rest of the episode. Potterheads have been teased the same in the trailer, but it feels extremely special when the greatest rivals, aka a Gryffindor and a Slytherin, happen to spot each other and go for (ahem!) that hug. Dramione, all the way! Daniel Radcliffe (our Harry Potter) sat for a hearty chat with Rupert Grint (Ronald Weasley) and Emma Watson where they happened to chance upon several behind-the-scenes stories from the filming of the eight movies. The other actors including Bonnie Wright (who essayed the role of Ginny Weasley), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom - the one that slew Nagini), James and Oliver Phelps (the notorious Fred and George Weasley), Mark Williams (the rubber duck enthusiast, Arthur Weasley) Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas) recalled the joyous moments from the sets and continued putting in their own facts about the rich Harry Potter legacy. Mind you, the tissue box shall be mandatory while one attempts to watch the special as there are moments where you might happen to experience some extreme form of emotions. The 20th Anniversary reunion has been full of nostalgia and homesickness (cue: "After all this time? Always")

However, if someone looks out for something light-hearted amidst all the teary-eyed recollections, tales from the past and clips from the movies, then one shouldn't miss out on Bellatrix Lestrange aka Helena Bonham Carter's interview from the reunion special. She singlehandedly saved the entire project from being a literal sobfest, and I mean in the nicest way possible! Her interaction with Gary Oldman (Sirius Black) had me laughing my heart out, as she reinstated how important Bellatrix's fun-spirited, psychotic Death Eater was in the entire narrative. The cast recounted memories of the ones who left us too soon. No, they didn't raise their wands, nonetheless, Emma, Rupert and Dan discussed precious moments with Professor Snape aka Alan Rickman, Professor Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone aka Richard Harris, and Vernon Dursley aka Richard Griffiths. The Malfoys paid their respects to the incredible Helen McCrory who charmingly essayed the role of Narcissa Malfoy but is no more among us. What was incredible in the recollections was how none of it felt forced, and that indeed was proof enough about the bond these actors shared offscreen which reflected onscreen.

ALSO READ: ALSO READ: Then vs Now: Here's where the cast members of Harry Potter are 19 years later

What has been bugging me, is how none of the cast members or the narrator mentioned Michael Gambon or his legacy as Professor Dumbledore after Richard Harris passed away. While there are (many) bits and pieces of Dumbledore shown alongside the various interviews because neither the books nor the movies make any sense without him, the actor himself isn't lauded for his genius portrayal of the mighty Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dame Maggie Smith, our beloved Professor McGonagall receives little to no praise and Julie Walters is remembered as the great mama Weasley, however, that definitely doesn't seem enough in comparison to how the other actors have been hailed in the special reunion. Keep your pain-relief ointments handy, for the episode (which is long enough to be considered as an entire movie in itself), moves back and forth constantly which might be off-putting, especially for Potterheads who are already aware of what each and every scene, dialogue and actions comprise, and needn't be reminded so with never-ending videos from the movies, put together to somehow make the long reunion, seem longer.

Being a Potterhead myself, I have mixed reactions to Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts! I have enjoyed how the entire cast huddled together for a final goodbye (it felt THAT emotional), however, pardon me for not having the urge to give in to the unnecessarily long moments where they discuss particular scenes at great lengths because, after 20 years, it feels heavily out of place. It particularly intrigued me to return back and witness the camaraderie that the actors shared, especially our sweet, sweet Harry, Ron and Hermione. They made me feel like I'm back home, cozying up at the Gryffindor Common Room, enjoying myself with my three best friends, and laughing a great deal about our incredible childhoods. The other cast members who have grown up on set alongside the Golden Trio really brought back many memories from the times that have passed by. However, the reunion special would've truly received all my candies had it been compressed into a noiseless tribute to the magic of Harry Potter, and Harry Potter only. Everything else just felt pointless after 20 years.


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