AlloCiné was able to preview the special Harry Potter program for the 20th anniversary of the saga. So, was this reunion successful? Check out our spoiler-free review.
December 2001. Millions of spectators flock to theaters to discover the adventures of a young wizard, named Harry Potter. You were perhaps part of it, just like the author of its lines. It was the beginnings of a great cinematographic saga, which will have accompanied us for almost ten years.
A decade later, it’s time to reunite for a good part of the cast, at the invitation of the HBO Max platform and Warner studios. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are obviously back, alongside some quality guests: Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort), Gary Oldman (Sirius) or even Tom Felton (Draco) to name a few.
On paper, Back to Hogwarts looks like a Proust madeleine, tinged with magic. So, did the Time Turner work?
Touching and moving, but not essential
Warner has put the small dishes in the big ones, by posing his cameras in the sets of the saga (which the fans can discover in the London studios). There is something magical about the first images of the show: seeing the actors roam the halls of Hogwarts again, making warm hugs in the Great Hall or even playing the game of confidences in the Gryffindor living room, that’s Something.
We are surprised, with tears in our eyes and a little silly smile, discovering the actors present… who have obviously changed a lot: the aging but no less adorable Robbie Coltrane, the Phelps twins who sport beautiful brown hair, Helena Bonham Carter who has not lost any of his verve … On the nostalgia side, Retour à Hogwarts does the job well: we want to dive back into the universe and redo the films. But above all, it gives us a big shot of old.
Once the introduction is over, the show has fun deciphering the films one by one, with the help of archival footage. The directors (Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, David Yates) come in front of the camera to explain their work and their approach to the saga. The actors also recall their memories.
If you are a Potterhead, the archive images will not necessarily interest you, especially since we do not learn much … Do not expect big revelations or controversies. Everything is very smooth, very nice.
Return to Hogwarts will not address the famous subject concerning JK Rowling. Moreover, failing to have received her invitation letter for this reunion, the writer appears in the documentary, through archives dating from 2019 (the info is well noted in general, so as not to attracting the wrath of certain spectators).
We will also regret the short time presence on the screen of some guests, such as Evanna Lynch (Luna), Alfred Enoch (who is clearly part of the decor) and Bonnie Wright (Ginny). And yet in 1:45 of emission, there was something to do… Do not also expect a big reunion scene with all the actors, who are dispersed in groups of two or three per scene. Covid and distancing oblige?
In short, Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts is not the expected event, but still knows how to play with our nostalgia. What we remember above all is the love of the actors for this saga (and oh how Emma Watson is the heart of the trio), and the place they all played in this adventure. Even those who have left us and to whom the In Memoriam part pays homage.
Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts, a special program to be found from January 1 at 9:30 am on Salto.