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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Reviews

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TomBowler
TomBowler

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2009
Though it may be a little overtly child-oriented for adult audiences, this is still a beautifully designed world full of wonder and a great start to a series. Full review later.
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

April 16, 2007
Ah, the first film adaptation of the beloved Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter is an 11-year-old boy who comes to find out that he is a wizard. He lives with his uncaring Muggle (non magic) aunt, uncle, and cousin since his parents died when he was a baby. They were murdered by a dark and powerful evil wizard named Lord Voldemort. Harry would be dead too, but was miraculously saved, making him something of a legend.

Upon learning of his guarded magic roots, Harry gets enrolled in Hogwarts- a British school for witches and wizards. While there he learns to come into his own, meet people that are actually good to him, and learn more of his dark past.

Looking back, I don't know if it was a good idea to have Chris Columbus direct this, as he does have a reputation for being something of a hack, albeit a decent one. I think his direction is okay here. Yeah, retrospectively it could have been better, but it could also have been much worse. At least with him at the helm we get a good amount of whimsy to go along with a bit of menace, and that's a good thing, as the book was likewise not too heavy on the darker stuff (though that sure changed as time went on).

Many liberties are taken, which is weird since the book is quite short, and the film is two and a half hours. It does get the point across decently enough though, and also works as a piece for those unfamiliar with the source material.

John Williams provides great music, there's wonderful art direction and set design, and there's some nifty set pieces too. Featuring an all-British cast, this film is impeccably cast, and the performances are good too. Finding decent child actors is hard, but they really scored here.

My enjoyment of this movie has waned over time, but it's still not a terrible piece of work by any means, so check it out.
Josh L

Super Reviewer

July 3, 2007
I'm taking a look back at the Harry Potter series with as unbiased of eyes as I possibly can being a massive fan of the books and films. Sorcerer's Stone starts the series off well with a great cast of newcomers and veterans stepping into roles that would shape some of their lives for the next decade. Christopher Columbus' direction leaves a little to be desired, but the atmosphere, set design, costumes, special effects, and music supplant themselves at almost instant classic status and would be excellent for years to come. The film itself is a little too slavish of all the details in the book and therefore the pacing gets hurt at times and it is a little long, but the magic is there and in full force and the tone is just right: not too dark and not too childish. We all know how dark the series gets by the end, so it is a little nice to get back and see how everything started. Overall, it's probably one of the least interesting in the series in terms of film making, but it is one of the most well liked entries in the series and sold the most tickets of them all, making it a pretty darn successful kick-off of the franchise.
Eugene B

Super Reviewer

August 11, 2012
Chris Columbus makes a magical bound from this first installment. 'Sorcerer's Stone' will leave its fans satisfied from the accurate direction as well as leave moviegoers a sensational feel. The film's young cast provide a charismatic charm that even modern-day stars could not possess. 4.5/5
Matthew Samuel M

Super Reviewer

May 28, 2012
It is flawed for sure, but the loyalty to the text, Williams' magical score, and the beautiful message of friendship and a mother's love make it an iconic film that will be remembered for its cultural significance.
Alexander D

Super Reviewer

June 14, 2011
Based on the novel of the same name by rags-to-riches author J.K. Rowling, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE was just the beginning of a cinematic legacy. It is a fantasy film for the entire family, twisting both clichà (C)d aspects of magic (i.e. magic wand becomes simply wand; various spells, charms, and curses are created rather than a corny "Abracadabra!") and Greek mythology into its own characters (i.e. Fluffy the Three-Headed Dog, though he went by a different name in mythology), and it goes far enough to even create its own magical sport.

Okay, so we have to give most, if not all of the credit for such brilliance to Rowling for spending years of her life creating such decent entertainment. But people who read "Sorcerer's Stone" (the book) when it first came out in 1997 (1998 in North America) were anticipating the book adapted for the screen. And in 2001, they got it. Maybe the characters weren't as imagined, but it was astounding for fans to see the dazzling visuals of Quidditch (the sport played on broomsticks), mountain trolls, Norwegian Ridgeback dragons, and spells. And it still is.

If you saw 1990's HOME ALONE, you know that Chris Columbus has some pretty good experience with family movies (though the humorous aspect of HOME ALONE was mostly because of the scripting by John Hughes). After Steven Spielberg was turned down for a directing role (he wanted to make this into an animated film--just imagine how terrible that would have been), Columbus was confirmed. He made this first film a work of art, with just as much magic and creepiness that the author intended.
Jason R

Super Reviewer

January 17, 2012
Gets the party started. Good enough for me.
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

November 10, 2011
A smart fantastic start to an ptherwise average franchise only really for action or potter fans.
Scott G

Super Reviewer

October 29, 2011
One of the best start's to a phenomenon ever recorded, my second favorite in the series, and a start to one of the most successful franchises ever created.
Eric A

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2011
Haven't read the books so can't compare, but this is a great film and a great start to the franchise.
Marc L.
Marc L.

Super Reviewer

July 26, 2011
While "The Lord of the Rings" remains VASTLY superior, this movie is still a great one. Great acting, fantastic sets and some of the best lighting I've ever seen. Great way to start of a great franchise.

The only thing I didn't like was the script. I always thought Chris Columbus was a bit overrated, and Harry Potter wasn't very well directed. Luckilly, the actors made the best of the script.

And oh those actors. This was one of the few films I've seen where the child actors actually do a good job. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. That's not to say the adult actors didn't do a good job too. Out of the adults, I particularly liked Alan Rickman as Snape and Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid.

The special affects were pretty good, albeit not spectacular, especially the CGI of the 3-Headed Dog. Little did 2001 audiences now it would get better in years to come.

Over all, like I said, it's no LOTR. But it's still amazing.
FilmFanatik
FilmFanatik

Super Reviewer

January 12, 2007
The first entry in the Harry Potter franchise is a very good one. While things start out rather playful and tame, they are no less entertaining. Unfortunately the first in a series means there's going to be a lot of setting up of characters and explaining what's going on and what it's all about as much as possible, which is where this film's weakness lies. It drags a bit during the exposition and doesn't quite barrel along like later entries. Still, that doesn't make it bad, just a little slow.
Fernando Rafael Q

Super Reviewer

October 29, 2006
The first two installments were the most kid-oriented of the series. Naturally, they're less nuanced and a lot cheesier but visually arresting as ever. Chris Columbus's lack of attention to detail is evident, though, and the film lags quite a lot around the middle. The cast is a delight, although they hadn't fully submerged into their roles, occasionally looking forced (except for Alan Rickman; he was born to play Snape). It's always nice to revisit the first chapter in what would become the most succesful movie franchise of all time.
blkbomb
blkbomb

Super Reviewer

April 24, 2011
Professor McGonagall: This boy will be famous. There won't be a child in our world who doesn't know his name.

"Let the Magic begin."

After wrapping the series up Thursday night; I got a strong impulse to go back and re-watch the entire series from beginning to end. Firstly, after this movie first came out when I was 8 it was the biggest thing to happen at my school. Everyone was talking about it and did the teachers hate that(I had the great pleasure of attending a Lutheran school.) One kid even got detention for having the book at school; as it was seen as promoting the Devil's work. This movie is what turned me on to the books and after reading the books that were out at the time, I was completely immersed in the series.

Sorcer's Stone is one of the most fun movies in the series. We are introduced to the world of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and all the things that inhabit it. Like: goblins, trolls, sorting hats, dragons, and spells. We also learn alongside Harry, his past. How he got his scar and who is after him. Then Voldermort makes his first attempt at coming back to full power.

I remember be surprised by who was helping Voldermort when I first saw this movie. Looking back, I was pretty stupid. It's completely obvious, but I guess being 8 can be my excuse. The story of the Sorcerer's Stone takes awhile to get going because of the need to introduce us to Hogwart's and to all the characters. Once the stones part of the story begins though, it is wrapped up quickly. Seeing again, the dungeon scenes feel a bit rushed and that's the only thing holding me back from giving it a 5. I don't feel as completely satisfied as I should with Harry's heroics at the end of this one. I know it's long and that's why a lot of the people who don't like this series; don't like it. But I think it could have used about 10 to 15 extra minutes with the dungeon scenes.

A magical(I know you haven't heard that one yet) start to one of the most entertaining franchises ever made. If you haven't seen this series yet; hurry up.
Matt G

Super Reviewer

January 22, 2011
Much has been said about Sorcerers Stone (Philosophers Stone, for you brits) but I'll shortly explain my thoughts in this short review. To me, this film stands as a classic, and is definitely in my top three favorite Potter films, first being Deathly Part 2 and second being Goblet, but I really loved this film. I saw this installment when I was about 8 years old, and besides being scared shitless at Voldemort at the end, I obsessed over this film, seeing it 5 or 6 times in theaters. Seeing everyone young-aged is refreshing and cute, and the visuals are impressive for it's time. Highly recommended.
Drake T

Super Reviewer

July 15, 2011
It's an immersive world of magic and wonder that leaves the viewer in much awe, but how the story unfolds leaves much to be desired. Not only are there too many characters and subplots that muddle the coherency of the story but the actual main climax itself is littered with unanswered plotholes.

For example, why on Earth would you guard the Philosophers Stone with a series of conveniently placed action-adventure themed obstacles? Some of which even a 1st year Hogwarts student has the knowledge of passing? (staying relaxed for the vines) and some that are stage in a manner that just don't make sense (Why didn't Ron just hop off the statue before the Queen SLOWLY moved towards it and destroyed the piece?)

These conveniently placed set pieces just cheapen the experience. For gods sake, I would've just kept it in a chest under a heavy spell in Dumbledore's office that set off an alarm when opened by anyone else.

An enticing fantasy world, too bad it had to hold up such an absurd story.
KJ P

Super Reviewer

January 12, 2010
Harry Potter begins it's wonderful journey on an amazing foot, with laughs, horror and chills. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone is just plain fun for all ages! As the magical world of Hogwarts is introduced, we are also introduced to all of the characters that we will have to come to love in order to continue through the series. I find that this film was adapted beautifully and with brilliant charm. The acting is exceptional by the three young leads and the story of a stone which can bring pain to the most powerful dark wizard of all time, is almost as fascinating as if it had been the first fantasy film ever made. This first instalment in the potter franchise is pure excellence!
Edward B

Super Reviewer

October 21, 2006
Only a franchise that spans 8 movies can get away with spending 90 minutes to set up its story. That's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The mystery takes about an hour to resolve, but the hour and a half before that is spent introducing the viewer to the world of Hogwarts. And what an enchanting world this is. J.K. Rowling has quite an imagination. This world is bursting with originality, intrigue, and colourful characters who are delightfully likeable. The British humour that can be found in almost every scene of this film is a much welcome addition.
The set design team has done an incredible job bringing Rowling's book to life. While a few things are changed, and the overall tone a slight bit darker, Chris Columbus and his crew capture the essence and the feel of the book. They also manage to re-create Quidditch as the coolest sport since soccer.
All the characters are perfectly cast, and John Williams' score creates the feeling of a magical world that is only going to become more realized with each subsequent film.
As for the story, well, there's a line in this film where a character tells Harry that he "is destined for great things." Likewise, this franchise is destined for greatness, and will be remembered as one of fantasy's greatest works. This film however is only an introduction. It is not a great stand alone film; I have many issues with the numerous plot holes and silly creature designs. But it's an exemplary introduction. Time will tell how great this franchise will be, but judging from the quality of the books, I don't think that will be a problem.
Zach B

Super Reviewer

July 10, 2011
Ever sense the days of ancient Europe, there has been tales of magic, witchcraft, sorcery, and the works like that. With the advent of film and modern times, there has been many attempts to recreate the sense of magic that the original tales had. Even more when those had been burnt into our subconscious and everyday lives (Merlin, King Arthur, etc). Then in 1996, a poor woman by the name of J.K. Rowling became an overnight millionaire with the creation of her Harry Potter novels. The first of them, which could have worked as a stand alone novel, was not that huge at first. But, reading the novel and then seeing this, you would wonder why it took so long for the world to catch on (basically by the time the third novel came out). Now, enough of the back story, let's get to the film. First off, the direction. One thing about film adaptations is there there is always too much room for things to go wrong and disastrous regardless if it is making things too dark or too cute and bubbly. Thankfully, Chris Columbus was able to find a perfect balance between those two to deliver a film that is dark, but not too dark. Next we have the acting. The main thing that shocked people when this came out was that the main cast of young actors were basically nobodies and first time actors that, more then likely, got their start with school plays and the works of that. This film was lucky to have the fresh talent from their young actors that they got. For the adults, that is where we have some of the best British actors at the time. But the one thing that I like the best was how serious they all took themselves with this film. Most of the time, it would have failed. This is one of those times that it did not. Next the script. As I have stated earlier, it is hard to adapt a book into a film. Even more when you have a novel that is rich like the novel that this film is based on. So, props to Steve Kloves for making the tale faithful to the source material. Finally the score. For me, this is probably where the weakest spot comes in. I mean, there is the one piece that is played through out the film and that would be the principal piece for subsequent films in the franchise, but other then that, the rest of the score never really stuck with me as much as I would have liked. Overall, great film that deals with magic and wonderful adaptation.
DreamExtractor
DreamExtractor

Super Reviewer

February 26, 2011
People say this is the worst of the series, if it were, it wouldnt be the beginning of the biggest franchise ever. It was superb in every level. After his parents being killed by a dark wizard named Voldemort, infant Harry Potter is famous for surviving and defeating the wizard that night, to kepp Harry from the fame and to live a normal life, wizard Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris) gives him to his awful cousins until he is ready to come back to the Wizarding World. After 11 years, a giant named Hagrid comes and tells Harry of who he really is, and offers him a letter to go to Hogwarts, a school for magic. Harry accepts and makes friends like Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson), and while there he fights Trolls, becomes astar at Quidditch, and discovers a secret in the school that vould make Voldemort return. I love the acting and plot of this movie, the Potter franchise is my favorite of all time, you will never convince me they are bad movies or books. Christopher Columbus may have only made the first two, but remember everyone, if it weren't for him we wouldn't have Harry Potter movies or at least not as perfect as they are.
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