Guide: Films for a Harry Potter Fan

Sad that you're favorite series has finally finished its transition to the big screen? Looking for more entertainment that plays on the themes, storylines, and character types of J.K. Rowling's fantasy novels? Then have I got the guide for you. For the Young Harry Potter Fan: Halloweentown Series

Halloweentown is one of the sweetest little series about a young witch you'll ever see. The series follows the adventures of Marnie, a young girl who has no idea she has magical powers, as she is brought into the training school by her grandmother Aggie. Aggie has an ulterior motive for bringing Marnie to Halloweentown. Something evil is growing in the once good town and Marnie might be the only person who can stop it. While the world is not as expansive as the Harry Potter series, it does offer plenty of fun for young children. It's also clever and well-made enough to keep adults entertained. There are four films in the series and they all play into the same lighter territory as the first three Harry books and films.

For the Fan of the Fanciful Exploration of Growing Up: The Company of Wolves

One of the more intriguing decisions J.K. Rowling made in the Harry Potter series was to age up the main characters in believable ways. They got taller, stronger, smarter, and began to explore relationships. The Company of Wolves is one of the more unusual entries in the lycanthropy as metaphor for sexual maturation oeuvre. Rosaleen is warned through fanciful tales from her grandmother about the danger of men whose eyebrows meet. Still, Rosaleen explores all over the woods after being forbidden to go out because of the fear of wolves. She meets a wonderful young man and is pursued by a goofy young man as confused as she is. The film is full of fanciful shorter stories connected by Rosaleen trying to grow up as best she can. Though it is not a magical influence, it does hit the same tones as, say, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

For the Fan of the Play Between Muggles and Wizards: Curse of the Cat People

Where the original Cat People is a slow-burn horror film about sexual desire and ancient curses, Curse of the Cat People is a fantasy film about the belief in magic and the impact it can have on youth. Young Amy believes that there is a woman named Irena living in the woods behind her house. They play together all the time. Amy's parents are concerned because there is no way that Amy could know about her father's late first-wife Irena. The fantasies scare them and they believe she is very sick or making it all up. But Amy knows that Irena is really there to help her and teach her all she needs to know. Curse of the Cat People is a somber little fantasy film that leans towards the dark side.

For the Fan of the Action/Fantasy in the Final Two Films: Krull

Hear me out here. Krull hits on a lot of the same notes as the Harry Potter series. There is this bent, almost surreal, sense of humor that often hits at unexpected moments. The action scenes are clever, but do not distract from the greater story arcs. Krull might not hit everyone just right, but for the fans of the narrative/action/fantasy combinations in Deathly Hallows, it could be their next fix.

For the Fan of the Bizarre Fantasy Enviornments: MirrorMask

MirrorMask is a strange film. There is no denying that. It's a combined play between Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, only our Alice/Dorothy figure, Helena, already lives in a fanciful world. She's been raised in a traveling circus. When her mother becomes very ill and needs surgery, Helena escapes to a strange and beautiful world of her own invention. Everything is inspired by circus acts but twisted to strange flights of fancy. The expansive world will appeal to Harry Potter fans who loved seeing what new wonders awaited them in each new location of the films.

For the Adult Fan Looking for More Mature Fantasy: Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth uses the rise of fascism in Spain as a way for a young girl to discover a world of wonder. Ofelia discovers an unending series of fanciful creatures living in and around her new home. She is given a three part quest by a fawn to insure the safety of her family. She climbs through portals in trees, gardens, and wells to encounter unbelievable monsters. At the same time, her step-father Vidal is leading an assault against the local revolutionaries fighting against the new fascist regime. It's a dark, cold, and moving picture that refuses to take the easy way out. Think the trials and ending of Goblet of Fire, only stretched out for two hours and you see all of the dangers reveal themselves indiscriminately.

Hopefully this guide helps you find your next step-up from the 10 years of Harry Potter films.