St John Karp

Ramblings of an Ornamental Hermit

Harry Potter with Guns

Harry Potter and the Deathly Weapons (2020)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Weapons

Earlier this month someone posted Harry Potter and the Deathly Weapons on the Internet, an edit of the first Harry Potter movie with all the wands digitally replaced with guns. Warner Brothers had the thing taken down almost immediately, so everyone agreed not to watch it. Hah! I don’t want to live in a world where that sentence is true. Of course that’s not what happened, Warner Brothers took it down so everyone started sharing the movie by more nefarious means. You can’t put that cat back in the bag. So before we do today’s movie, I want to make a quick aside about copyright infringement.

A table full of guns.
Dudley gets a table full of guns for his birthday.

For a start I don’t think this is copyright infringement in any meaningful sense. This movie is clearly satirical, the maker isn’t getting any money for it, and a handful of nerds on the Internet watching a joke movie isn’t going to make any kind of dent in Warner Brothers’ or J.K. Rowling’s profits. No-one is watching this instead of the real Harry Potter movie. Even if I really were watching this instead of the real movie, Rowling’s made enough squillions of pounds off Harry Potter, she’s not going to miss my $3.99. Also, she’s a TERF. Hmmm. Maybe today’s post needs another aside before we get going.

A Hogwarts invitation from the NRA.

J.K. Rowling has been making anti-trans comments, specifically in a long blog post that has been labeled a screed. I’m cis, so I don’t get a say in whether her comments are offensive. I have trans friends who think that Rowling is actively hurting trans people, that she has betrayed her fans, and that she’s now firmly in the canceled basket and never to be spoken of again. I’ve even heard people refer to her as She Who Must Not Be Named — hah! But then I have other trans friends who read Rowling’s blog post and think that, while Rowling is clearly misguided and guilty of some wrong-headed thinking, she’s not out to get trans people and is ultimately not the real enemy. I have to side with the people who are most hurt. I do believe that this is an actively hurtful line for Rowling to take and that we should not be funding her. Even if Rowling’s opinion really is just a well-intentioned mistake, that doesn’t change the fact that she’s hurting people. Don’t take the fact I watched this movie as any kind of endorsement of Rowling. Take it for what it is — a joke movie that undermines a large part of our childhoods and that sends up a franchise made by a TERF. I think that’s a pretty good reason to watch anything.

Vernon Dursley pointing a gun at Harry.

It’s fair to say these aren’t great movies. The design and the acting talent are second to none, but then you’ve got these trite, boring scripts that plod along. There is no wit or ingenuity in the them, which is a huge shame because the books were full of gentle humor. In the movie Hermione says, “I’m going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed, or worse, expelled.” Then Ron says, “She needs to sort out her priorities.” In Charms class someone accidentally annihilates their feather and Harry quips dryly, “I think we’re going to need another feather over here, professor.” I’m a comedy writer and I can tell you this is crap. Really weak, unfunny, obvious jokes, and a script that’s full of “As you know, Bob” dialogue. These movies are for kids and it’s hard to imagine what an adult would get out of them. At least, that’s in the version without guns…

Hagrid pointing a shotgun at the Dursleys.

The title says it all — someone’s gone all the way through the first Harry Potter movie and put a bunch of guns in it. And. It’s. GREAT. It’s so stupid, but damned if I didn’t crack up every time one of these shaky-ass guns pops up. This must have taken a ton of work (the website says it took five years, and I believe it). The digital jiggery-pokery is sophisticated enough that you can almost believe it in the moment, but janky enough that it looks shaky as hell.

Harry with a gun in his face.
Hermione fixes Harry’s glasses.

But between you and me, the effects in the original movie haven’t aged that well either, so the pasted-in guns really don’t stand out as badly as you’d expect. And we’re all here for the guns anyway, so no-one’s complaining too hard. You just spend all your time marveling at how much they’re getting away with.

A drawing of a gun.
Harry doodles in Potions class.

There’s just enough time between gun bits for you to forget you’re watching an edit, and then another gun comes along and you crack up again.

Quirrell shoots himself in the head.
Quirrell with a band-aid on his head.

Hah! Quirrell shoots himself in the head when he bursts into the dining hall shouting, “Troll in the dungeon!” Then the next time we see him he’s got this giant band-aid on his forehead.

Filch holds up a used condom.

Filch is holding a used condom! This edit is so stupid, but it’s hitting all the right spots. Whoever made it was smart enough to realize you can’t float this whole thing just with guns, so they gave Hermione a barbecue lighter and Quirrell a band-aid and Filch a condom. Disgusting and brilliant. I don’t want to know where they got the graphic of a used condom right now.

While we’re taking about Filch, has anyone talked about how Harry Potter has a secret eugenics undertone? On the surface the books are against bigotry. We burn with injustice when Malfoy calls Hermione a “mudblood”, clearly a racist slur. We’re invited to embrace everyone no matter what their origins. And yet you have witches and wizards born with an innate level of talent and there’s nothing they can do if they happen to be weaker. Filch is this pitiable, abject character because he’s a squib (a non-magical person born to magical parents). The magical world has this inbuilt hierarchy that’s entirely based on what level of ability you happen to be born with. It’s a class system based on the wizarding equivalent of your genes. If that’s not a eugenic society then I don’t know what is. But here we go on a tangent again. Back to the movie…

Hermione with her mouth open.

Emma Watson’s really going for that Oscar, isn’t she? I really get the feeling the director told her, “No, open your mouth wider. Be more annoying. You’re not supposed to be likable, you’re supposed to be a turd.” At this point in the movie the kids are fucking around after curfew and getting detention, blah blah blah. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone really is just White Privilege: The Movie. Everyone automatically loves him and trusts him and gives him lots of money. He breaks the rules and gets rewarded.

Hermione with her gun drawn.

Hermione shoots Neville in the head! I’m aware I’m just repeating what’s happening on the screen at this point, but what else is there to do when the movie’s this good?

Ron with 'saliva' on his shoulder.
The three-headed dog drools on Ron.

Urgh, is it just me or does the three-headed dog’s saliva look like jizz? They should have edited in that giant condom again.

Neville bleeding and covered in flies.

Neville’s back but he’s not quite his usual self. In fact he’s looking quite peaky. I guess Quirrell shot himself in the head and only needed a band-aid because he was secretly Voldemort, but Neville wasn’t so lucky. Yes, that’s internally consistent. Am I reading too much into this?

A female bodybuilder in an American flag bikini shooting a gun. Yes, this is still Harry Potter.
Hagrid gives Harry a photo album with a picture of a female bodybuilder in a bikini.

What is it with straight men? Sometimes they’re gay beyond belief. I think they secretly want to get with a really beefy bodybuilder but they can’t just come out and say it so they get Arnold Schwarzenegger with a vagina instead.

The Skinny

Harry holding a gun.

“He Who Must Not Be Named did great things. Terrible, yes. But great.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Weapons is audacious and hilarious, and even if it didn’t quite come off you’d have to give it points for sheer moxie. Fortunately it does come off — the whole thing is done with so much devious imagination and weaselly cunning, you can’t help but love it. I was hooked from the moment Dumbledore shows up at the start and begins shooting out in the streetlamps on Privet Drive. What really made it for me is all the other extra bits, like the letter from the NRA and zombie Neville. Of course Warner Brothers had this movie taken down because CAPITALISM, but it’s worth finding a copy. You have to see it to believe it.