I feel like I’m being pulled in 100 different directions during playoff season for high school sports. These past few weeks have been a beast, and I’m having a blast.
That also means I usually take a day to recharge. Last Friday, I was pretty drained from a couple of long trips to road games. I was planning on going to Fargo to catch “Dune” again in Dolby. I’ve already seen it twice, once in theaters and on HBO Max, but I wanted the best experience possible.
I woke up and wasn’t feeling it. I decided to take the day and go for a hike with my dog and catch a game on TV before I went to bed. After I got home, I saw one of the dozens of Harry Potter marathons that roll throughout a weekend each year. It got me thinking, where does Harry Potter actually stack up with some of the other great sci-fi franchises?
While I think the Marvel Cinematic Universe should definitely be in the conversation, I also don’t know if we can compare it to the others. There’s just so much more content when it comes to the MCU. For the sake of this conversation, it’s omitted.
What would you choose if you had to pick the best cinematic franchise between Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or Harry Potter?
My gut reaction tells me Star Wars is the pick, but when I break it down, I think I’m wrong. Star Wars might have the lowest aggregate score despite having the best sci-fi movie ever made, “Empire Strikes Back,” if you rate every single movie from the prequel trilogy to the new trilogy. I think George Lucas had the greatest three-movie run in the history of cinema, but the following projects don’t live up.
The second greatest sci-fi trilogy belongs to Lord of the Rings. I think it’s one of the rare occurrences where the final movie in a set of three is the best. “Return of the King” is right up there with “Empire Strike Back,” but the series falls off in the Hobbit movies. How much do you value a franchise’s peak over its overall quality? That’s what you’re asking yourself when you compare these three.
Harry Potter is easily the most consistent of the three. I don’t think there’s a movie below a 70/100 or anything itching the high 90s. I find the older films to be a little better and a more buttoned-up script. Visually, the later movies are all fantastic.
It’s a shame the Fantastic Beasts movies are in this equation because those really stink. I think the Fantastic Beasts and the Hobbit films are really what drags each franchise down. I’m sure some people love them, and that’s perfectly fine. The beauty of cinema is what you, as a viewer, take away from a film.
Ranking the three in terms of quality, I would go Harry Potter at the top, followed by Lord of the Rings and Star Wars at Nos. 2 and 3. I think the sheer volume of consistency with Harry Potter drowns out the Fantastic Beast films.
What separates Lord of the Rings and Star Wars is what came after the original trilogies. If we aren’t counting Star Wars television shows such as Clone Wars, Rebels, The Mandalorian and Visions, it has to take a back seat. While charming in their own ways, the prequel and new trilogies just aren’t that good.
If I were ranking these in terms of favorite instead of best, the order would be flipped. I like Harry Potter, but the story really loses me in the final few movies. It’s not to say that it isn’t suitable for some people, but everything started to feel regurgitated and depressing.
I want to know how you would rank these three? How wrong do you think I am?