Posted on 11/23/10 01:40 AM
This is where it all begins, the beginning of one of the most popular fantasy stories ever written. Or least, this is where the nearly decade old series of film adaptations begins. Either way, this is the start of 'Harry Potter'.
I'm a huge fan of the Harry Potter books. I've long loved the richly detailed world, surprising twists, lavish writing and lovable characters. When this film was first announced, I was more than excited, and I simply could not wait to see Ron, harry, Hermione, Dumbledore and the Dursleys on the big screen. Much to my untold joy, I was not let down.
Even though I love this film, I'd actually like to knock out the issues I have with it first, so as to put thing in what I feel will be a better perspective. First, although acting has never really been on the top of my list of important elements of a film (more like third or fourth down), the child actors in this entry, with the notable exception of Rupert Grint, are quite bad. Emma Watson is just barely tolerable and Radcliffe and the others just blend into the background talent wise. Also, despite being a very faithful adaptation of the book, there are a few little touches here and there altered for seemingly no reason. No one but the fans would notice or care, so why bother? Also, I'm not much of a fan of some of the dialogue, as it can come across as a bit wooden sometimes. But, really, all that's just nit picking.
This film is wonderfully immersive. The setting is so wonderfully realized that it feels as though you have been transported to Hogwarts. The sets, the visual style, the costumes, the trappings, all of it. Adding into that is the wonderful visual storytelling. The world and visual magic of Harry Potter weave just as much of the narrative as the characters and writing do.
The characters all come across very well too. each one is so well developed and personalized. Each one has a wide range of emotions and quirks that all come through very well. and with a supporting cast of great actors including the likes of Alan Rickman, everyone come across quite naturally.
And of course there's the story. The well thought out and vividly detailed plot of young Harry's first year of magical schooling is just as fascinating and multi-layered as it was in the book. Quite a lot of effort was put fourth to make the story resemble it's source material as much as possible, and that commendable effort is greatly appreciated, no matter what the critical consensus here on RT says. There's such a sense of wonder and enchantment (no pun intended)here, and it makes for a truly wonderous experience.
Roger Ebert called this film "this generations' 'Wizard of Oz'." I couldn't agree more. The feeling of wonder and mystery, coupled with the top tier visuals and great storytelling make 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' one of the best fantasy films in history, a stupendous adaption and one of the most heartfelt and excellent films I've ever scene.