Considering that it focuses on a group of extreme Harry Potter fans, We Are Wizards ostensibly treads Trekkies territory, though mercifully, this slight documentary is less a look-at-the-nerds freakshow than a portrait of the means by which J.K. Rowling’s popular fantasy series has inspired others’ creativity. Josh Koury’s film is a compendium of sketches, from two teens who formed Harry and the Potters (a band that helped give birth to a subgenre known as “wizard rock”), an artistic family in the South whose young sons are also wizard rockers, an ill teen who spearheaded a boycott after Warner Bros. threatened Harry Potter fans for copyright infringement, and a cartoonist who gained attention for producing an adult-narration track designed to be played with the first Potter film. All of these people have channeled their Potter love into unique creative enterprises, and thus serve as examples of how cherished fictions can spark and stir the imagination. Yet Koury leaves it at that. We Are Wizards champions the Potter franchise’s ability to motivate kids to both read and invent, but it’s largely uninterested in digging deeper to wrestle with the way that Rowlings’s work has roused readers. In the doc’s most interesting moment, cartoonist Brad Neely reflects on the fact that, as a nonstop mass media consumer, he can’t help but express himself in pop-cultural terms, an astute statement that suggests an explanation for why so many Potter devotees are compelled to formulate not self-sustained original works, but rather those that are intricately tied into the Potter universe. How the dynamic between inspiration and creation operates is a topic that We Are Wizards tantalizingly puts forward but fails to fully examine, content for most of its runtime—which, at a scant 79 minutes, is still padded out with repetitive sequences, a superfluous upbeat music montage, and inconsequential contrarian viewpoints from a woman who thinks Harry Potter promotes hazardous pro-witchcraft dogma—to celebrate rather than seriously investigate.
- Brooklyn Underground Films
- 79 min
- Josh Koury
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