Richard Linklater’s autobiographical 2014 film Boyhood drew critical praise for following a young actor (Ellar Coltrane) for a number of years as he progressed from childhood to adolescence and onto young adulthood. But the Warner Bros. Harry Potter film franchise, based on the novels by J.K. Rowling, basically did the same thing with Daniel Radcliffe. It just took eight movies and a lot more special effects to get the job done. Now, New York-based filmmaker Tim Stiefler has brought these two worlds together with Wizardhood, a 78-minute fan edit that condenses the entire Potter series into one manageable feature. For anyone who wants a refresher course on all things Potter, if only to understand some of the references in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, this is a very helpful video.
Apart from being a CliffsNotes version of an unwieldy cinematic saga, how does Wizardhood play as a standalone feature? Eh, not bad. It’s probably best to have some foreknowledge of the basic characters and setup before venturing into this thing. Otherwise, it could all be a bit overwhelming: a nonstop barrage of character introductions, plot points, and quidditch matches. The first film, 2001’s Harry Potter And The Sorceror’s Stone, gets a lion’s share of screen time, as it contains a shitload of crucial exposition.
What really gets drawn into focus here is the effect of time on the Harry Potter franchise. The actors, including Radcliffe and co-stars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, grow up over the course of eight movies. But the tone of the series grows darker and more complex with each passing film, too, so the early scenes in Wizardhood are much more bright and colorful than the ones at the end.