The start of 2022 was nothing short of spectacular for all the Potterheads worldwide. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the crew celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first film’s premiere with another flick for the fans called Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts. So, is Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts a movie or a series?
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is a documentary movie where the cast and crew reunited to reminisce and talk about the wonderful days of the magic behind them. It’s around 100 minutes long, touching upon the most heartwarming moments on and off-screen.
It’s an homage to the world of magic created by the author J.K. Rowling but brought to life by the actors, directors, and other crew members that turned it from a best-selling book series into a global pop-cultural phenomenon. Here’s all you need to know about Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts.
Is Harry Potter: Return To Hogwarts A Movie, Series, Or Documentary?
Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts is a wonderful documentary about the magical world created throughout the eight movies from 2001 to 2011. It’s an HBO Max original product directed by Eran Creevy, Joe Pearlman, and Giorgio Testi.
In the documentary, the cast and crew members are taken back to “Hogwarts” and other filming locations where the films took place. The most focus is, of course, put on the main three – Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, Emma Watson, who was Hermione Granger, and Rupert Grint, portraying Ron Weasley.
Other cast members from the movies appeared in the documentary, including Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), and others.
The movie was conceived as an event that was 1h 42m long. It premiered on HBO Max, and the streaming started at midnight on Jan 1, 2022. I don’t have to tell you what was the first thing I’ve watched this year.
What Is Harry Potter: Return To Hogwarts About?
Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts is a documentary celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first film that premiered in 2001. The movie’s tagline says, “Welcome back to where the magic began,” and that’s exactly what the movie brings.
The cast and crew members from all eight films reunited to celebrate the magical world they’ve created. The movie highly revolves around their mutual conversations about the old days and their interviews with the producers of the documentary, talking about the magical world they were a part of.
One particular segment I loved the most was the three main actors (Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint) sitting in the Gryffindor common room, laughing, crying, and remembering the good old days.
I would’ve loved the movie more if it dived deeper into the technical part of the film series – how it was created, how the magic scenes were shot, and overall more talk with the crew members whose efforts often get overlooked.
It seems that they were overlooked a bit in the documentary as well, but it’s only logical that the actors who people love and relate to for twenty years will get more space to talk about their memories and experience on the sets of the films.
Fans also get some snippets and information from cast members that happened behind the scenes, making the documentary so much funnier and more interesting.
For instance, fans already knew that a young Daniel Radcliffe had a big crush on Helena Bonham Carter during the filming. Now, in the documentary, Helena shared a note that Daniel gave her on set, saying he wished he was ten years older to be old enough for her. The little things like that make the documentary all the more heartwarming, interesting, and nostalgic.
Overall, the documentary is a reunion of the cast, taking us down memory lane through a world we’ve loved for twenty years. It doesn’t deliver something new, per se, and it won’t make you want to watch the movies if you haven’t seen them before.
It’s conceived to target the Potterheads worldwide, and if you’re a fan, it hits you right in the feelings – especially my generation, who grew up at about the same time when Daniel, Emma, and Ron grew up. We watched them grow together with us, making us feel all the more a part of the magical world of Hogwarts.
How And Where To Watch Harry Potter: Return To Hogwarts?
Harry Potter: Return To Hogwarts is an HBO Max exclusive event, streaming only on the platform. That includes the US version of the platform as well as international versions. The subscription costs $10 (with ads) – $15 (no ads) a month, or $100 (with ads) – $150 (no ads) a year.
However, not all the countries in the world have HBO Max. Don’t worry, though; you can still watch the reunion. For instance, in India, you can rent the documentary via Amazon Prime Video.
If you can’t get HBO Max for some reason, you can wait for a few months, as WarnerMedia confirmed that Return to Hogwarts would air on Cartoon Network and TBS in the days before Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore premieres. It’s unclear when exactly the documentary will air, but seeing that The Secrets of Dumbledore is scheduled for an April 15 release, Return to Hogwarts will air somewhere in the early spring of 2022.
British audience will have a chance to watch the special exclusively on Sky and NOW streaming services.