Note: Harry Potter was created by J. K. Rowling and is a film series owned by Warner Bros.
Hermione Granger walked into class, while looking more relaxed and calmer than usual. She politely waved to her fellow students. Even a clumsy student, who dropped a valuable book into a garbage can, wasn't enough to ruin Hermione's good mood. She sat down and patiently waited for class to start.
Hermione's buddies, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter, noticed her peculiarly happy behavior, so Ron nudged Harry and said, "Something's wrong with Hermione."
Harry had a confused look on his face, while replying, "I don't think that Hermione being in a better mood is a problem."
Ron responded, "You're even more wrong than usual, Harry. If Hermione's being so cheerful, she must have a trick up her sleeve."
Harry replied, "A trick? She's our friend, Ron. It's not like she's one of Voldemort's goons."
Ron whispered, "I used to think Draco was worked for Voldemort."
Harry whispered back, "I'd believe that rumor."
Professor Dumbledore walked into the classroom. The classroom's teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart, had been taking a nap. After Dumbledore walked in, Mr. Lockhart got up. He tried to sound like a professional professor, but he was so tired, that he said, "I've been teaching the students about how to get balloons for their pillow."
Dumbledore looked weirded out, while saying, "That sounds like a big balloon adventure, which has nothing to do with this week's assignment."
Mr. Lockhart nervously laughed and said, "I was joking."
Dumbledore replied, "Anyways, you have a special task for this week, students. Each of you will have to make a short film, that explains the importance and magic of Hogwarts."
Hermione looked chill, while saying, "I won't have to do the assignment, right, Professor Dumbledore?"
Dumbledore replied, "That's true."
The students looked surprised. Ron punched his desk and asked, "What's going on?"
Hermione answered, "I predicated that this assignment would come up and it seemed really exciting, so I already did the assignment."
Dumbledore replied, "She did seven films, instead of one."
Hermione responded, "Well, the seventh one was too long, so I split it up into two parts. I'm thinking about making a prequel series."
Ron had an excited smile on his face, while saying, "If Hermione was able to make seven or eight films, it'll be easy to make one film."
Hermione shook her head and replied, "It's not so easy. It took me months to do that."
Ron punched his desk and asked, "Why did you put in so much work?"
Hermione answered, "Because putting effort into my work is important to me."
Ron asked, "Why?"
Dumbledore tried to get his students to pay attention, but they were chatting it up. Mr. Lockhart started dancing with a lamp, which got the students to pay attention and face the front of the classroom. Dumbledore said, "Anyways, you have the entire school week to get the assignment done. After you finish it, Hermione will be judging it."
Ron punched his desk again, which led to him accidentally punching a hole in the desk. He asked, "Why does Hermione get to judge our work? Isn't being judgmental a bad thing?"
Dumbledore explained, "Hermione has more experience with filmmaking than Mr. Lockhart, so her opinions will greatly affect your grade. If she gives you one thumb, you just barely pass and if she gives you thumbs, you're good to go."
Harry raised his hand and asked, "What if she raises no thumbs?"
Dumbledore answered, "You'd be doomed." The students started panicking, while Hermione chillingly smirked.
The class was sent to the projects room, so they could get started on their short films. Draco ran up to Hermione and said, "I have an offer for you."
Hermione turned around and asked, "Are you trying to offer a bribe?"
Draco had a smug smile on his face, while saying, "You can say that."
Hermione folded her arms and asked, "What's your offer?"
Draco said, "If you give my short film two thumbs up, no matter how good or bad it is, I'll go out with you."
Hermione replied, "Bribes are unacceptable, Mr. Malfoy. Besides, you're not my type."
Draco shook his fist at Hermione and responded, "I'm going to make a film that's so amazing, you'll have to grow more thumbs, just so you can give me the grade I deserve." He did a sneaky laugh and started running around the hallways.
Hermione walked up to Harry and Ron and said, "I'm sorry, but when I grade your assignments, I'll have to show you tough love."
Ron replied, "That's typical of you, although the love part is debatable."
Hermione said, "I won't be able to give you guys extra credit points just because we're friends. Each assignment will have to be judged fairly."
Ron replied, "That's a bloody ripoff."
Harry said, "I'm a bit worried. To be honest, I don't have much knowledge about films. My uncle would only let me watch films that I didn't like. In other words, he made me watch Oscar winning films."
Ron whined, "Those films suck."
Hermione responded, "I don't mean to be rude, but your film opinions have always puzzled me."
Ron proudly said, "I have great standards, especially when it comes to movies."
Hermione replied, "Considering that you cried during the first Pokemon animated film, I don't know how much I can trust you."
Ron defensively responded, "Hey, Mewtwo's backstory was so heartbreaking, I cried in Harry's popcorn bucket."
Harry asked, "Why didn't you cry in your own popcorn bucket?"
Ron explained, "I needed something to snack on, during the opening credits." Hermione rolled her eyes and Harry facepalmed.
The students went to the projects room and started working on their assignment.
Hermione started supervising her fellow classmates. She looked around and saw that Luna Lovegood was blasting random objects, including pencils, papers, and books. Hermione quickly walked up to her and nervously asked, "What are you doing?"
Luna calmly answered, "I'm making my film."
Hermione shook her head and said, "What you're really doing is putting the classroom in danger. How does blasting classroom property play a role in filmmaking?"
Luna replied, "Well the film's supposed to be about the magic of Hogwarts and wands are a very magical film. If I made a film, about magically blasting stuff, I think I'd get the message across."
Hermione didn't approve of Luna's film idea. She said, "It's more than just risky. Blasting stuff isn't what films are about."
Luna replied, "I respectfully disagree. Some of the most successful films are about random explosions and stylish violence."
Hermione realized that Luna was one of many students, who thought that mindless action films are what films should be like just because they make money. Hermione had a strong lack of fondness for such films, so she said, "Those films don't matter."
Luna asked, "If they don't matter, how come they make so much money?"
Hermione said, "Filmmakers cash off people's desire to see immature action, instead of trying to challenge their audience and give them some something truly heartfelt and special."
Luna replied, "So, I need to make something lovely and good?"
Hermione smiled and responded, "Sounds like you're catching on."
Hermione walked up to Ginny Weasley, who was drawing comic strips. Hermione had a confused look on her face, while saying, "Ginny, what are you up to?"
Ginny said, "I'm making my film script."
Hermione replied, "Those are a bunch of doodles."
Ginny responded, "My brother's the biggest film expert I know, so I listened to his helpful advice."
Hermione wasn't used to people trusting Ron's advice. The few times that people led to Ron's advice, led to chaos and trouble. Hermione asked, "What advice did Ron give up?"
Ginny answered, "He told me to make up whatever random nonsense came to my head. He said that people only care about cheap, mainstream action and humor, so he thinks the less effort we put into our films, the better they'll turn out."
Hermione angrily gritted her teeth and started walking up to Ron, who was fiddling with a movie camera. Hermione said, "Ron, why are you giving your sister lousy advice?"
Ron replied, "Hey, I give everybody thoughtful advice, except Harry. He's a hopeless case."
Harry responded, "Sounds about right."
Hermione said, "Films aren't about cheap thrills."
Harry replied, "Some of them are."
Hermione responded, "Fair enough, but those films are forgettable and don't leave an impact. Good films, like Studio Ghibli, leave strong and emotional feelings, that fill people's minds and hearts with important knowledge and lessons. If you want to make a cheap drivel of a film, go ahead, but expect to get two thumbs down." She walked away from Harry and Ron, while looking upset.
Ron whispered to Harry, "What's her problem?"
Harry sighed and said, "Ron, it seems like you do the opposite of what Hermione wants."
Ron thought about it and replied, "That sounds about right, but is that a problem?"
Harry responded, "Hermione's a little obsessive, but she's smart, so we should listen to her. I know you don't want to hear this, but I think we should put effort into our film."
Ron had a whiny look on his face, while asking, "Effort? You know that's one of my least favorite words."
Harry replied, "I'm not fond of putting passion into my work either, but if we want to get a good grade, we better listen to the boss."
Ron responded, "Lockhart's the teacher, not Hermione."
Harry replied, "That's true, but Lockhart is sleeping." He pointed down to Lockhart, who was napping on the floor.
Ron said, "I don't mind failing this assignment. It's hardly worth the effort."
Harry replied, "It might be worth more than you think." He pointed to Hermione, who was sitting on the ground and had her hands over her face.
Luna sat next to her and asked, "Are you okay?"
Hermione answered, "Maybe, but the class isn't. They've been ignoring my advice and if they do bad assignments, I'll have to give them thumbs down. That'll be a great way to lose my friends. Even Harry and Ron will probably give up on me."
Harry and Ron overheard her, so Harry said, "We can't let Hermione down."
Ron asked, "You know what? Maybe effort isn't such a bad thing."
Harry replied, "I'll work hard, if you do the same thing."
Ron thought about it and responded, "Sounds good." The two friends shook hands.
A few days later, it was the end of the school week, so it was time for Hermione to judge the students' short films about the magic of Hogwarts. The presentations were held in Mr. Lockhart's classroom. Lockhart ate a big bucket of popcorn, while barely paying attention to his own students.
Draco went up first. He had a boastful look on his face, while saying, "My film is amazing." He played his short film. Instead of his film talking about Hogwarts and what makes the wizard school so special, the film had Draco talk about how magical his personality and looks are. After the film was over, he stared at Hermione and asked, "Are you going to give that a bunch of thumbs?"
Hermione shook her head and said, "I'm afraid not, Mr. Malfoy. You missed the point of the assignment, so you get no thumbs."
Luna went up next. She had a relaxed look on her face, while saying, "I was going to make a film about random action, but Hermione inspired me to make something different." She started playing her film. Her film was a short, but sweet explanation about how Hogwarts' brilliant professors and eccentric students are what gives the school true magic.
Hermione replied, "Very nice film, Ms. Lovegood." She raised two thumbs up. Luna raised two thumbs too. Hermione asked, "Why did you do that?"
Luna answered, "When it comes to giving helpful advice, you get two thumbs up." Hermione smiled.
Harry went up next. He said, "I was going to make a lazy, mediocre film, but a special advice giver inspired me." Mr. Lockhart thought that Harry was referring to him, so he bowed. Harry put time and effort into giving his film more a plot and a purpose, than he originally intended.
Hermione raised her hands in the air and replied, "Very well done, Mr. Potter."
Harry responded, "I couldn't have done it without your support."
Ron jumped to the front of the class and said, "I was planning on making a dumb piece of garbage, because I thought that was what films are about. However, Hermione taught me that films are about much more." He started playing his film. HIs film had more of a plot than Hermione and the others were expecting. However, Ron's acting was very robotic and was hardly convincing.
Hermione raised one thumb up and said, "I'm impressed, Mr. Weasley. However, I can only give it one thumb."
Ron punched another hole in his desk and asked, "How come?"
Hermione said, "First off, Dumbledore's probably going to give you a detention for breaking that desk. Second off, you need to work on your acting. If you want to leave a positive impact, you have to have convincing acting."
Ron replied, "Very well then. My hands really hurt from punching the desk. I need something to cry in." He grabbed Lockhart's popcorn bucket and cried in it.
Mr. Lockhart put his thumbs down and responded, "You failed this assignment."
Hermione replied, "Hey, Dumbledore put me in charge of grading the assignments."
Mr. Lockhart looked at her and asked, "How do you know so much about filmmaking and stuff like that?"
Hermione thought of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, while saying, "Two very smart and thoughtful film reviewers taught me that films can be so much more than mindless entertainment. They can emotionally move people and give them experiences better than anything they could ever imagine. They did much more than make thumbs a way of reviewing films. They understood the magic of films more than anybody ever had before. Their legacies will forever live on, as their way of thinking is an irreplaceable treasure that'll bring magic to Hogwarts and the world, forever." She opened a window, looked at the sky, and stuck her thumbs out.
Hermione looked back at her friends and asked, "Am I being weird?"
Harry asked, "What's weird about honoring heroes?" He walked up to the window and stuck his thumbs out. Ron decided to join him.
Ron looked at Hermione and said, "Thank you for helping us not fail, Hermione."
Hermione asked, "What made you put in effort?"
Ron said, "Harry and I were worried about losing our friendship with you if we failed."
Hermione replied, "And I was worried about losing my friendship if I had to give you a failing grade."
Harry responded, "We owe you a lot of thanks."
Hermione shook her head and said, "The real credit goes to Siskel and Ebert, the most magical reviewers of all time." Harry and Ron raised their thumbs in approval. Hermione smiled at them and gave them a hug. The three friends had learned that friendship and thoughtful lessons were forever lasting. They couldn't be happier or more thankful to Siskel and Ebert, who raised the stakes of quality of filmmaking, thanks to their brilliant and thoughtful opinions, which were represented by the thumbs of magic.