Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Reviews
However the imagination & creativity of the piece is routed solely in the designers corner - their work allowing the viewer to witness the strange new world they have created as if they themselves were Harry Potter.
Despite a star-studded supporting cast, it's only Alan Rickman & Ian Hart who stand-out, delivering decent performances that keep you guessing as to their true motivations. The three lead children are exactly that - three children with no prior acting experience - which is all too obvious & remains a problem throughout the sequels.
Columbus' directing is clearly standard & lacking substance despite his success. Being a Terry Gilliam fan & knowing Rowling wanted Gilliam to direct the film - I still believe that despite his ability to portray work from a child's point of view without talking down at them (see 'Time Bandits' & 'Tideland'), I think Gilliam would be better suited to one of the latter instalments of the series, which would allow him more room & freedom for his creative & 'oddball' style.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Also like most franchise starters, it fails rather dramatically in some story departments. Instead of a compelling sequence of events, we're left with a group of magical obstacle courses where the stakes seem somewhat forced and the reasoning is weak - even for my small brain.
VERDICT: It was a good start, but the franchise hadn't really got going yet at this point.