Editor’s Column #4

2 Dec

Harry Potter. The Lord of the Rings. These two film franchises certainly helped shape my childhood and many other students currently working hard (ahem) at university, not just in the UK but also all over the world.


Students born in the golden decade that was the 1990s will remember growing up with Harry Potter; first the brilliant books and then the magical films. Famous franchises become part of the probably the most important part of your life. The brain is at its most absorbent and malleable during the childhood and teen years so no wonder that Harry Potter and The Lord of the Ringsbecame some of the most beloved for the 90s kids. I think everyone remembers at least one spell that Harry, Ron, Hermione and co. learnt in the classrooms of Hogwarts, right?

The 90s kids aren’t alone in the franchised childhoods though, kids from the 1960s onwards will all remember the multitude of James Bond films released every decade since; 70s kids had Star Wars, 80s kids Indiana Jones and so on. Every generation has at least one, or more, franchises that they can relate to, as well as endlessly re-watch and quote – “Wingardium Leviosa”.

What is it about franchises that we love so much? There is no definite way of truly knowing; but a combination of likable characters locked in a battle of good versus evil, along with a great story and some memorable music and actors thrown into the mix tends to create an enchanting and well-loved franchise. “Expecto Patronum”… sorry, I digress; I’ll just stop now.

Unfortunately for every brilliant franchise, there has to be one that flops at the first hurdle, where the first film is also the last one. Since the beginning of this century alone, there have been numerous failed franchises, particularly book to film adaptions, which are all desperate to replace the gaping hole left when the Harry Potter films came to an end. The Golden Compass – based on the first book in the popular Phillip Pullman trilogy – stopped before it even really started, as didEragon, also based on the first book in a popular series. The Twilight Saga and more recently The Hunger Games managed to take-off with great success, but franchises are not immune to failure purely because they are based on popular books; it is a fine line between sink and swim.

When they do well, however, they really are milestones of cinema and life, measurable in equal doses of familiarity and childhood memories.



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