Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

I was in college when the first Harry Potter movie came out and a critic for my school newspaper. When it first came out my review lovingly gushed about the film. Thanks to a summer job working with grade school kids I knew all about the Harry Potter books and had become a huge fan.  So when the movie faithfully adapted the book I got a little over excited.  I compared it to E.T. (anyone knows me knows that is HIGH praise) and predicted it would be loved for generations to come much like Wizard of Oz. I might have gotten caught up in the excitement.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is not a bad movie.  I like the film and it set the groundwork for the franchise.  I just don’t think that it is the best family film of all time, or even of the last decade.  The one thing that keeps the movie from reaching its true potential is its steadfast dedication to adapting everything faithfully.

Beautiful scenery and locations really help this movie feel like the books.

I watched the film again a little less than ten years after it was released and had the hindsight into being able to see how the franchise had evolved over seven movies.  While the movies seemed to grow into themselves as the series progressed I believe that Columbus (the director of the first 2 films) is unfairly maligned for his part in the franchise.  There are many points you have to give him for the success of the films.

  • He cast the film perfectly from the main kids to the teachers all the way down to the smaller roles. Everyone embodies their roles perfectly and I am glad the cast has stuck with the franchise throughout because I could not imagine anyone else playing Harry, Ron, Snape or many of the other characters.
  • The look and the feel of the movie fit the vision of the book.  The sets and locations for the film were beautiful. Hogwarts was just as imagined and the whole film made you feel like you stepped in the world of Harry Potter.
  • He made the first film a huge success.  This might not seem like that hard of a feat since the books were the biggest things at the turn of the century.  But you cant discount the fact that Columbus gave the people what they wanted and guaranteed the rest of the series would be made into films.

Our fearless heroes.

With the third point I think Columbus and all the creators of The Sorcerer’s Stone went a step too far in making sure everyone loved the movie.  The film is very faithful to the source material and all the favorite scenes are devotedly recreated for the screen and cost the film its own identity and soul.  The movie felt like an illustrated version of the book and not a movie in its’ own right. And although the design and look were great the movie did not feel lived in.

Until the third movie the films did not have any identity of the own.  From The Prisoner of Azkabahan on the directors felt like they had a little leeway to change, tweak and make the story their own.  By this time the groundwork had been set and the series was a runaway success so there was more freedom. That is why accessing the first Harry Potter movie on its own is a tricky task.  Was the rigid adaptation a necessary evil for the first movie to set the tone and gain support?  If the film would have taken risks would we have seen all the films adapted or would it have been as big a success and petered out after the third or fourth movie?  Should the first movie be punished for a few flaws or be celebrated for creating a franchise that will in quoting my ten-year old review, “be popular for generations to come.”

Daniel Radcliffe looking quite young

Posted by Ryan

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  1. great pics.wish i waz hp

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