JT Film Review

57 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone REVIEW

3.5/5 stars

Director – Chris Columbus

Cast – Daniel Redcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Griffiths, Ian Hart, Warwick Davis, John Hurt, Julie Walters, Tom Felton, John Cleese

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– followed by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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harrypotterandthesorcerersstoneIt was really only a matter of time before the best-selling Harry Potter books were turned into a film series. The series was shopped around for a while, with names such as Terry Gilliam (Monty Python alumni and director of Brazil, among others), Steven Speilberg (Schindler’s List, Indiana Jones, etc.), and even Peter Weir (The Truman Show, Mosquito Coast, Witness) thrown about. Speilberg even wanted an animated movie with Haley Joel Osment as Harry Potter’s voice. Eventually Chris Columbus was decided on. He has directed Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire, and wrote The Gremlins.

Now I’ll admit to not being the biggest Columbus fan, but this movie actually took me by surprise. I had always heard that the first two films of the Harry Potter series were the weakest, that they were the most child-like and, well, they were just bad. However while I still think the first two are definitely the worst of the 6 (soon to be 7 AND 8! Woot!), I was pleasantly surprised. The world presented in the movie is unique, yet grounded; and the characters are, for the most part, interesting without leaning towards cliche.

There are exceptions of course; Richard Harris’ Dumbledore is quite dissapointing. Richard Harris was great as frail old mentor types (see Gladiator for evidence of this), but Albus Dumbledore is a character of wit, charm, and power. Due to Harris’ unfortunate passing, he was replaced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by Michael Gambon, who played the role with much greater sucess.

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, along with Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as Hermione and Ron, are great in their roles, and we see them getting better and better with each harrypotter1passing movie. Alan Rickman as Severus Snape was an inspired choice for the role. He is one of the best things about the movie, all in all.

The ending of the movie is the biggest problem. It is formulaic, illogical, and opens up too many plot holes. The series also treats the dangerous elements of the story too frivolously, which does not mesh with the later movies at all. However, that could be said to be a problem with the books as well, so I shouldn’t quibble too much. The series was meant to get more adult-like as its readers grew older, so this represents a younger readership.

OVERALL

The Harry Potter franchise is certainly off to a good start here. While some aspects leave a bit to be desired, the good definitely outweighs the bad. The cast is top notch, and the effects are as well. This is a good start to a great series.

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TRAILER

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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October 26, 2009 - Posted by | 3.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Fantasy, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , ,

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