Folks weren't too happy with my "Shelf Life" assessment of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation two weeks ago, and perhaps understandably so: the holidays, and holiday movies in particular, bring out the sentimentality, nostalgia, and often otherwise muted affection that folks feel at other times of the year and for other movies. But while I still plan to revisit It's a Wonderful Life next week – a film, I pre-emptively admit, I have no particular allegiance or fondness for – I figured I'd instead choose something safer, less passionately followed, less contentious: Harry Potter.
Of course I'm kidding. Few fan bases are as impassioned as those of J.K. Rowling's book series and their cinematic adaptations, and as a non-participant in its cultural phenomena, I recognize the shark-infested waters in which I find myself as I examine the artistic merits of a movie that is beloved by so, so, so many people. That said, I always liked the first film when I saw it in theaters, and was only too happy to revisit it when Warner Brothers re-released it in a deluxe Blu-ray set earlier this month.