STARS: HARRY AND THE POTTERS, DRACO AND THE MALFOYS, BRAD NEELY, THE HUNGARIAN HORNTAILS, HEATHER LAWVER, THE WHOMPING WILLOWS, THE ORDER OF MERLIN, MELISSA ANELLI
Who would have thought a few years ago that a series of books could spawn a huge phenomenon?
The "Harry Potter" books have done just that. And the phenomenon is documented in this lovingly crafted, often sweetly hilarious documentary by filmmaker Josh Koury.
With most of the emphasis in the segments focusing on several groups who make music about Harry Potter – known to fans as "Wizard Rock" – the filmmaker focuses both on the people involved with the groups and the music they write. Wizard Rock has become a genre of music all its own, with over 100 groups and individuals devoting their songwriting skills to Potter-themed songs.
Chief amongst the musicians, and perhaps the best known of the Wizard Rockers, are the two brothers who front the band Harry and The Potters. Joe and Paul DeGeorge – as Harry Year Four and Harry Year Seven, respectively – dress as identical Harry Potters when on stage, and the band has been so successful that they are even the subject of a question in the Swedish version of Trivial Pursuit (a fact which isn’t mentioned in the movie, but on their website, complete with photos of the question card). Writing songs about the Potter universe has made the brothers true stars among Hogwarts fans, and they have played all over the world.
Their success inspired other groups to follow suit, and WE ARE WIZARDS talks to a number of the musicians, ranging from the two young men who make up Draco And The Malfoys, who write and sing songs with a decidely Malfoy bent, anti-Potter theme, to two pre-teen kids – one is 7, the other 4 – who make up the Hungarian Horntails.
In addition to the musicians, the film also focuses on several other aspects of Potter fandom, including Heather Lawver, who as a teenager took on Warner Brothers when the movie studio started trying to shut down fan websites with her PotterWar campaign to boycott everything Potter EXCEPT JK Rowling’s books; Brad Neely, a deliciously aserbic (and somewhat foul-mouthed) comic and artist who recorded his own bootleg commentary for the first Potter film; and Melissa Anelli, the webmaster of the popular fan website The Leaky Cauldron and host of the popular Pottercast podcast.
The film also showcases the parents of the Hungarian Horntails, who do everything they can to support their two sons’ quest for fame and more importantly, fun, in the world of Wizard Rock, and a christian filmmaker who subscribes to the theory that the Harry Potter books are actually primers for turning kids off God and onto the occult.
The inevitable comparisons to the 1998 Star Trek fan documentary Trekkies have already begun. The main difference between the two films – both document fans of pop culture icons – is that where Trekkies seemed t0 focus on the slightly bizarre aspects of the fandom, Wizards focuses primarily on the positive aspects of being a Potter fan and how fans come together to share their love for Potter and the rest of JK Rowling’s beloved characters.
Destined to take its deserved and rightful place among other similar pop culture documentaries like Wordplay, Air Guitar Nation, and The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters, We Are Wizards is accessible to non-Potter fans as well, and may help to explain to those people just WHY the young wizard-in-training is so popular today – because the fans CARE about the characters, and realize what the books are really about – love, tolerance, and understanding.
WE ARE WIZARDS is a MUST SEE for the true Potter devotees as well, because when those of you out there who are Potterfiles as well will be amongst your own brethren, and know WHY you are not alone.
MY SCORE: 4.0 (out of 5)
ON THE WEB: HTTP://wearewizards-themovie.com
WE ARE WIZARDS Trailer