This is the tale of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), an ordinary eleven-year-old boy serving as a sort of slave for his aunt and uncle who learns that he is actually a wizard and has been invited to attend the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is snatched away from his mundane existence by Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), the groundskeeper for Hogwarts, and quickly thrown into a world completely foreign to both him and the viewer. Famous for an incident that happened at his birth, Harry makes friends easily at his new school. He soon finds, however, that the wizarding world is far more dangerous for him than he would have imagined, and he quickly learns that not all wizards are ones to be trusted.Written by
In the trophy cupboard, to the right of the Quidditch trophy, you can see the "Service to the School" trophy with part of "Tom M. Riddle" engraved on it; the trophy and the name on it are confirmed by Ron in a deleted scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). See more »
(at around 40 mins) When the first years climb the stairs and meet Professor McGonagall for the first time, Ron's robe is hanging partly open in one shot, but is closed in the next. See more »
[as a cat]
I should have known that you would be here, Professor McGonagall.
[Professor McGonagall transfigures into her human self]
See more »
Ian Hart is credited twice: as Quirrell and then at the end of the cast credits as Voldemort. See more »
The title of the source novel in the UK was "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" and the movie bears the same title in non-US releases. All scenes where the stone is mentioned by name have been be filmed/looped accordingly to produce two different versions of the film to adapt to the title. See more »
There's nothing like the first in a series, is there? The introduction to the characters, the immersion into the fictional world, the first time you laugh, cry, care, and fear for someone's safety can never be repeated. No matter how many Harry Potter movies they crank out, or if they ever remake them in the future, none will come close to the wonderful first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
I'm sure everyone has their own childhood memories of reading the Harry Potter books that they'll tell their grandkids about, but I'll never forget going to see the first movie in the theaters. The lights dimmed, John Williams's perfect theme played its first notes as Richard Harris walked down Privet Drive, and everyone in the theater was transported to another world. John Williams's numerous themes, all wonderful and a personification of the wizarding world, took the early movies to another level. As other composers tried their hands at the later films, that quality was missing. There's something truly special about going to see this movie on the big screen, and while the "magical" qualities might not all be credited to the music, it's certainly one of them.
Welcome to the world of Harry Potter, where if you're a ten-year-old kid who doesn't fit in, you might get a letter delivered by an owl telling you you have magical powers and should go to a special school to hone them. Believe it or not, there are people who watch this movie without reading the books, so a bit of description is necessary. Obviously the stars of the show are the children, who were selected out of millions of other kids to be able to memorize lines, not look in the camera, endear themselves to worldwide audiences, and hopefully act. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Tom Felton are so cute and tiny in this first movie, you'll undoubtedly find yourself re-watching it as the years pass just to see them as kids again. I always marvel that child actors train themselves not to look in the camera, so even if their performances aren't perfect, I cut them slack, knowing firsthand how hard it is. And these kids had to dress in funny costumes, recite incantations without laughing, and pretend they're looking at things that were added in post production!
Usually, in kids' movies, there's a grown-up or two who add to the cast and make the adult audience members feel less silly that they're watching it. In the Harry Potter movies, everyone wanted to be in them! Throughout the series you'll see a host of familiar faces as "guest stars" but the regulars will make special places in your heart. Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, and Robbie Coltrane are household names for little kids, because they're so convincing as the kindhearted Dumbledore, the wizened but sentimental McGonagall, the endlessly mimicable Snape, and the jolly Hagrid, kids today can't imagine they've had any other career prior to these movies! Is there any kid who doesn't immediately attribute the word "earwax" to Richard Harris, point out striped cats as "Maggie Smith cats", mumble "Shouldn't have said that," when they make a mistake, or practice putting pauses in their sentences like Alan Rickman?
First movies are so special, since they introduce audiences to a world that will hopefully capture their attention for however many more movies will be made. In J.K. Rowling's fantasy world, there's so much to fall in love with; and in the film adaptation you can really believe it exists. Seeing the Hogwarts structure for the first time creates a special feeling in your heart that can only be recaptured by watching the movie again or going to see the next in the series. The Great Hall, Quidditch, the Sorting Hat, talking portraits, flying lessons, selecting the perfect wand-all these Harry Potter moments are perfectly recreated in the first of a series that saw an entire generation grow up buying toy wands and trying Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.
Each installment has its special moments, and this first one has quite a few, even outside of the exposition. If a three-headed dog doesn't immediately conjure the name "Fluffy," chess pieces have never come to life in your imagination, you don't laugh at the idea of counting your birthday presents, and you don't know what Richard Harris wants most in the world, you're missing out on one of the great joys in life. If somehow 2001 passed you by without a trip to the movie theaters Thanksgiving weekend, go find yourself a copy of this iconic, lovely movie.
31 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this