movie film review | chris tookey

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone / Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone / Harry Potter

© 2001 - Warner Bros. - all rights reserved
  Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone / Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone / Harry Potter Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
8.50 /10
Harry Potter: Daniel Radcliffe, Ron Weasley: Rupert Grint, Hermione Granger: Emma Watson
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Directed by: Chris Columbus
Written by: Steve Kloves, from the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K.Rowling

Released: 2001
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US/ GB
Length: 152

PRO Reviews

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An enchanting classic that does full justice to a story that was a daunting challenge. The novel by J.K. Rowling was muscular and vivid, and the danger was that the movie would make things too cute and cuddly. It doesn't.
(Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
An absolutely outstanding movie. It exceeded all my expectations. Neither a movie overly loaded with action or comedy, the film plays out like a well written book with lots of character and English charm. Even with all the outstanding special effects in this film, the story and characters still remain the focal point, and this is the kind of filmmaking that we seldom see these days - the kind of film that even George Lucas couldn't pull off... With a running length of 2 hours and 30 minutes, Harry Potter slowly unfolds like a good mystery book you don't want to close. The movie doesn't rush to get you anywhere, but rather concentrates on Harry Potter's training, the characters he meets, and the reasons why he has become the most popular name in the Wizard community. After all, this is just the first film in what will be a continued series.
(Ronald Epstein)
Columbus gets full marks for not dumbing it down, and not removing any of the fearful elements - it remains a story that has elements of dark danger beautifully balanced by lightness, absurdity and humour... The special effects throughout are first rate and magical. But it is the Quidditch game that makes the movie fly. From Harry's look of worry before walking onto the field, to the unbelievable flying broomstick scenes, the audience immediately is caught up in the match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. There were audible cheers from the crowd when Harry catches the elusive golden Snitch, winning the game for his house. After watching the film, it seems almost impossible and completely dissappointing that Quidditch in fact isn't a real sport.
(Andrea Hazard)
The young actors in the major roles all but pop out of Rowling's pages. Daniel Radcliffe plays the Oliver Twist-like Harry with an unaffected, intelligent approach that maintains his wide-eyed wonder yet grounds Harry in a realistic sense of loyalty and honor. A beautiful young girl named Emma Watson nails precocious Hermione Granger. She makes scholarly ambition and determination admirable virtues, even if these don't always go down well with fellow students. Rupert Grint's Ron Weasley gamely bucks a class system that exists even in a magic school and looks to exploit talents he does possess to maximum effect. As their snotty nemesis Draco Malfoy, Tom Felton is the personification of upper-class insolence... In striving to include nearly every major episode from the book, Columbus' movie clocks in at over 2 1/2 hours. While this may create problems for parents of restless youngsters, the greater problem is this: Harry Potter feels like a movie in which its makers are afraid to make a single creative move. Rowling's book is Holy Writ. No liberties are allowed. Consequently, the film, while slavishly faithful, contains little innovative juice outside of its visual richness... Technical credits are top-notch, save for John Williams' score - a great clanging, banging music box that simply will not shut up.
(Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter)
Charming, entertaining transcription of the hugely popular novel by J.K. Rowling, miraculously faithful to its source and clocking in at an incredible two and a half hours. Even more incredibly, the film holds attention throughout and never flags in pace in spite of the fact that it is essentially a collection of incidents from the novel accurately reconstructed on film... Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a film which plays like excerpts from a story rather than a complete narrative. The broad strokes of the plot are certainly present, and yes there is a requisite amount of character development in the course of the story. All of the major scenes from the novel are there and the story is both comprehensible and coherent. Yet it is difficult to escape the sense that it has been assembled in large blocks rather than woven and crafted into a visual narrative. What is missing is the sense of subtlety in characterisation and sub-plot which Rowling managed so skilfully in the novel. The freedom to move in time and mental space evident in good writing does not have a cinematic equivalent in this film. There are no truly “cinematic” flourishes during which director Chris Columbus demonstrates anything more than solid Hollywood workmanship, no uneasy seams over which a delicate membrane of visual art has been used in adaptation. The dialogue more or less tells us everything we need, the images merely underline it.
(Harvey O'Brien)
Eye-popping grandeur, dazzling special effects and sumptuous production values... Critics will certainly point out that the book is a more transporting piece of entertainment. (The movie assumes a sometimes too-heavy load in its ambitious attempt to bring all the novel's most memorable elements to the screen.) And child actors often require some patience on the part of viewers... At the same time, for fans of the novels, there will be much pleasure in seeing Sorcerer's Stone brought to the screen with all the attention to detail that a budget north of $125 million can buy. And those familiar with Columbus' previous work will be glad to know that he hasn't poured on too much sugar. Despite his solid box-office track record, Columbus, 43, wasn't a natural choice for the much-sought-after Potter job. Even Steven Spielberg was eyeing it at one point, envisioning a computer-animated film, like Toy Story, with Haley Joel Osment supplying Harry's voice.
(Jess Cagle, Time)
It was really good and it totally blew me away... I think Ron, Harry, Hermione and all the rest of the children were really good. Harry was exactly like I thought he would be. They were funny and they play their parts very well - they seemed really focused. But I didn't find Professor Quirrell very believable. Perhaps it's because I'd never heard of the actor but I didn't think he played the part as I thought he would... I was a bit disappointed at the ending. When I read the book the last bit was really scary but in the film it wasn't as scary as you expected it to be - it could have been scarier. But all in all I'd give the film 10 out of 10 because it was really good. My mum's already booked tickets to go and see it again and I'd recommend it to anyone.
(Geraint, 10, from Newcastle, on CBBC’s Newsround)
Has all the hallmarks of a hit, a magical mystery tour packed with all the thrills of a roller-coaster ride and all the fun of the fair. I suspect it is not going to be a classic of the cinema, but it is going to be a monster hit. People who were wild about the Harry of the books, will go potty about Potter all over again in the cinema.
(William Russell, Glasgow Herald)
Although filmed with the lushness of a Los Angeles budget, Chris Columbus’s direction never slides into heavyhanded pulling of heart strings. There is British backbone throughout. Radcliffe is never allowed to have tears well up (except just possibly in the last scene), which, if the film had been shot Hollywood-style would have occurred at least three times an hour. Hogwarts Castle is a star in its own right — much as it is in the books. The great edifice rises glowing out of the dark lake waters, and deep inside lie all its secrets, the staircases that change direction, the weirdos in the oil paintings, the trolls in the girls’ loo. The Quidditch match looks like scenes from Henry V shot at Wembley, and you get the feeling watching it that Quidditch might well go on to be a popular sport among the British masses. It was delightfully realistic, fast and violent.
(Kate Muir, Times)
Richly accomplished entertainment spectacular, the quickest, zappiest two and a half hours you'll spend in the cinema.
(Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
I went into the movie prejudiced by the hype. I left having enjoyed it immensely and admiring the skill which had gone into the making.
(Philip French, Observer)

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