SXSW Review: We Are Wizards


Aloha Amigos! Thanks for checking out our We are Wizards Review from SXSW

The General Idea

Plot outline from the official website: In 1997 the book Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone exploded onto the literary scene, captivating readers all over the world, and quickly spawning cinematic versions. WE ARE WIZARDS tracks the influential figures leading the creative subculture surrounding the popular series. The film follows a set of individuals ranging from web journalists, authors, artists, filmmakers and musicians, as they enhance and expand the Harry Potter story, often in unexpected ways. WE ARE WIZARDS is a portrayal of creative fans with a common goal: to make their voices heard.

The Good

This documentary is blessed with a number of very charming individuals. You may not be into Harry Potter, and initially you make assume all members of Wizard Rock Bands (bands that are Harry Potter themed) are pedophile losers. But as you get to know the characters, you cannot help but like them. Almost instantly your guard drops and you begin to care about what they have to tell you regarding their art/hobbies that are inspired by Harry Potter. Of all the projects in the film 2 stood out to my delight and I will discuss them now.

Brad Neeley is responsible for an overdub commentary track for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone called Wizard People, Dear Readers. It is played and spoken live at different parts of the film and is always hilarious. Brad Neeley gave up on acting and was doing his own comic strip work when an unknown force pushed him to do a commentary track. It caught on in the Harry Potter fan community and soon he found himself doing live readings over the film.

As a person Neely is instantly likable and gushing with slacker charisma. His comic strip work is delightfully dark and worth checking out. Part of the reason I enjoyed this film so much is because it introduced me to this extremely talented cartoonist.

A few Wizard Rock bands are featured in this film, the leader amongst them (and my personal favorite) is Harry and the Potters. It features the brothers Paul And Joe. When Paul was playing a concert with another band someone screamed “I Love You Harry Potter” and the idea for a Harry Potter band was born. The two brothers dress as Harry (from different books) and rock out to some pretty catchy songs. It’s their vision that birthed the genre of Wizard Rock; soon others began to play songs about Harry Potter and all involved were surprised at the overwhelming acceptance and enthusiasm for the Harry Potter fan community. They rock hard, and are funny, smart dudes – Harry would be proud to call them friends.

The Bad

They kept using old 50’s stock footage throughout the film as a visual aid to what was being discussed. The images took me out of the film and did not lend themselves well to the overall theme of the movie.

Although much of the footage is great, some just seems to drag and I think the movie would have been better with a trim. At 79 minutes it certainly wasn’t too long but at 60 minutes I think it would have been flat out awesome.


This was a documentary that focused on people that have used the Harry Potter universe to inspire their own work, and a means to share their art. I would have liked to have seen more fans in the mix, but I can see how that would have taken away from the directors direction (and this was not my film). This is a fun, endearing tale about passionate people discussing their beloved work. I recommend this film – and will investigate other show-times when i get a chance – Off too another movie!

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