Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
- Chris Columbus
- Reviewed by
- Josť Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Wednesday, December 19, 2001
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has lived with the over-bearing Dursleys since he was a baby. Finally he is 11 and ready to go to Hogwarts, a school for wizards. Gatekeeper Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) is the first to befriend Harry and introduce him to his new home. Itís all new to him, as it is for Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), two kids who become Harryís best friends. The school is also run by a lot of teachers and magicians, of which headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris), professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) and Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) stand out. Slowly, Harry and his friends start to discover all the wonders of this place while also uncovering a possible robbery plot that might involve dark forces.
I want to put it clear first and foremost that I didnít completely love the movie. My problems with it have little to do with the fact that Iíd read the book. I decided to see it as a purely cinematic endeavor. Of course, that was almost impossible, but I managed my way.
Harry Potter could have been a more surprising movie. It is extremely faithful to the book, perhaps a bit too much. With the exception of some subplots tied up, a character that was completely vanished in the process and a couple of new scenes, the movie is almost an exact copy of the material it was based on. And I say ďalmostĒ because something was missed in the transition: the aforementioned element of surprise, of wonder. You get the sense that itís all too straightforward, too family-friendly, more than it should have been for its own good.
Thatís not to say the movie isnít fun, because it is. Iíve seen it two times now and the second viewing felt better, maybe because I knew what to expect and enjoyed it more that way. After all, the story is entertaining, the characters are highly charismatic and the magic is irresistible. This whole world is kind of a dream come true. Everything we always wished as kids is there. Itís fascinating, at least for me.
A lot of CGI was required to bring this world to life. Sometimes it looks fake, but thatís ok because itís all magic after all. I simply loved the sets and the visual design of the movie. Theyíre jaw-droppingly good. Not faring as good are the flying sequences, which look quite artificial for my taste. All of this is presented with a great John Williamsís score in the background. Itís amazing how he always manages to capture the spirit of whatís presented. His score screams magic!
The cast in Harry Potter is almost perfect. ďAlmost,Ē again, because I had one little problem and that was Harry himself. Daniel Radcliffe might look like Harry, but he isnít as charismatic as he should be, neither as good an actor as we mightíve expected. Heís wooden and always carries the same expression. One should look no further than to his companions to see what I mean.
Emma Watson, as Hermione, steals the movie. Sheís such a great find. A charming girl embodying a great character and making it hers. Rupert Gring, as Ron, is equally good. The older actors do a great job. Maggie Smith plays Professor McGonagall just as I had imagined her. But I was actually surprised by Alan Rickmanís performance as Professor Snape. Heís extraordinary. I loved the way he delivered his lines. As remarkable as Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid. Perfect casting!
Overall, I guess it all comes down to Chris Columbus and Steve Klovesís script. They made a solid movie. Charming and entertaining in a safe kind of way. I just wish theyíd go further...
ďMr. Harry Potter... our new celebrity.Ē
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Other reviews of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001): Groucho