Imagine for a moment that author J.K. Rowling had not exercised so much control over the films made from her ridiculously successful Harry Potter novels. What if she’d simply signed a contract, taken the money, and said, “Do whatever the hell you want to with these bloody books. I’ll be in Bimini. Don’t call”? Certainly, the Harry Potter movie franchise could have gone in a much different, more crass direction. That’s the premise of “Harry Potter Spring Teen Comedy,” a clever YouTube video that reimagines Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, the sixth of eight films in the series, as a raunchy, rowdy high school movie. The video apparently originated on a now-defunct David Thewlis fan website, but was reposted on the YouTube channel of pleiades14.

What is especially gratifying about “Harry Potter Spring Teen Comedy” is that it plays very fair with its source material. Even the most un-John-Williams-like rock song on the soundtrack, “Big Beat Repeat” by Josh Powell, is a genuine cut from the Half-Blood Prince soundtrack album. At heart, the Harry Potter franchise is about hormone-crazed adolescents, magical though they might be, who really would have sex on the brain while they’re trying to learn about spells and potions and whatnot. All the video really does is take the film’s lighter, less-magical moments and string them together in a way that suggests that the film is just another teen movie. The original film provides plenty of convincing raw material. The only thing that gives the trickery away is the rather dour, desaturated appearance of the Harry Potter footage. Not too many teen comedies would opt for a “mud and concrete” color scheme.

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