A refresher course on the magical "Harry Potter" movies.
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001)
Director Chris Columbus creates the wizarding world that first introduces viewers to the Boy Who Lived, Harry Potter, at the young age of 11, when he first discovers he's not just an average schoolboy. He learns of the evils of Voldemort, especially against his late parents, and finally meets his magical peers as a first-year-student at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, led by the quirky, wise headmaster Albus Dumbledore. There, he befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, who help him keep the Sorcerer's Stone safe from Voldemort. Read our review here.
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002)
Harry's back to Hogwarts for his second year, also directed by Chris Columbus. This year, Hogwarts students are no longer safe within the school's walls, as kids are turning up "petrified," or frozen for the Muggles ("non-magic folk") still out there. An elusive, secret room of the Hogwarts castle, the Chamber of Secrets, is connected to these attacks on the students, and the finale of the flick has Harry heroically killing a giant snake-like creature, known as a basilisk, which lives in the chamber.
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004)
Alfonso Cuaron is the second of four directors to take on the challenge of putting the "Potter" series on the big screen. This time around, Sirius Black, a recent escapee from the dark wizard prison called Azkaban, is on the loose and he's after Harry. Little does everyone know, however, that he's not the felon everyone thinks he is. Turns out, Black was framed and he's Harry's godfather, a last, real connection to his parents. In the way of having an action-packed storyline, this film favors developing the intriguing wizarding world, and focuses on aging the main characters, as Harry is now 13. Read our review here.
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005)
This year, Hogwarts participates in the Triwizard Tournament, along with two other European wizarding schools, and -- you guessed it -- Harry Potter was selected to compete by the magic world's version of the lottery system, the Goblet of Fire. Directed by Mike Newell, in this movie Harry participates in a series of dangerous tournament challenges, ultimately posing as a trap to get him to face Voldemort who regains full power by the close of the film. It's not all darkness and danger -- a tradition of the tournament is to hold the Yule Ball, which allows for some lighthearted, awkward, typical teenage fun that any person, wizard or muggle, can relate to. Read our review here.
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007)
As Harry hits age 15, he acts moodier and darker, and the film reflects that, directed by David Yates, who finishes out the series. With the rest of the wizarding world against him and in denial of Voldemort's return, Harry's teenage angst phase is intensified. The Ministry of Magic is infiltrating Hogwarts and corrupting their education, and Harry and his friends fight back, forming "Dumbledore's Army," a secret defense club to prepare themselves for the inevitable battles ahead. Ending with a grand battle scene featuring Voldemort vs. Dumbledore, this movie also takes time to delve inward, as Professor Snape gives Harry private Occlumency lessons which teaches him to read minds, among other skills. Read our review here.
"Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" (2009)
Now that the Ministry of Magic believes Harry and Dumbledore that Voldemort is indeed back, the next task is to defeat the evil wizard. Dumbledore enlists Harry as his right-hand man, to find and destroy Voldemort's seven horcruxes -- objects cursed with dark magic that contain pieces of Voldemort's should to insure immortality. Saving the action until the end, this movie contains flashbacks which help Harry and the audience learn more about Voldemort's past and the how's and why's he became who he is. The end of the movie brings the shocking death of Albus Dumbledore, leaving Harry without his mentor to embark on killing Voldemort once and for all. Read our review here.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" (2010)
In the first half of the two-part finale of "Harry Potter," Harry, Ron and Hermione, are off looking for the last of Voldemort's horcruxes. On the run from the Ministry of Magic, now taken over by Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters, the trio travel all over for clues to discovering the horcruxes. One exciting adventure involves the friends infiltrating the Ministry offices in full disguise as employees to steal back a locket that holds a piece of Voldemort's soul. Plans go awry and they narrowly escape capture by the Ministry. The darkest of the films yet, surely only second to the newest and final movie to be released next week, viewers' emotions are toyed with as beloved characters heartbreakingly die. Read our review here.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" (2011)
In this image released by Warner Bros. Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe are shown in a scene from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2." Read our review here.