Let’s have fun with an old school review. (Don’t worry if you feel old knowing that this movie came out 15 years ago. I feel it, too.)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Family
Starring: Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Martin Freeman, John Hurt, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane
Let me start by saying something that may enrage you. Back in school, I called Harry Potter a fad. A story of magic and fantasy which was more fluff than substance. I considered things like fantasy and science fiction lesser works of fiction. Please keep in mind that I was a young teenager and going through a fair amount of personal angst. It may have helped if I bothered to try and read the novels. I will say that while I still have not read the novels, I have admitted that I was wrong. Not only did it not die out, but it grew in popularity. I do have respect for the name, author, and franchise now. As for the movies, I actually enjoy the majority of them to varying degree.
The first film is about a neglected orphan by the name Harry Potter (not the one from Troll (1986)) proves his value while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardr
What I Didn’t Like
Again, I’m looking at this film from the film aspect alone. The cast of young actors aren’t particularly great, but they are young and will grow. There is clearly a lot of details missing from the book to movie transition. While I understand some things will be missing because of time restraints. Some of it feels important.
Taking into account that this film is now 15 years old (Time waits for no man). The CGI feels dated in many areas. Still, considering the age of the film, it holds together well enough not to destroy the movie.
I didn’t love all the fantasy details, but that is more personal taste.
There are periods of the movie that didn’t have much action. A lot of exposition. Setting up future events and details. Again, there is so much information being transferred from written to visual form. It can be tough to do well.
What I Liked
There are quite a lot of beautiful scenes in this movie. I love the various holiday scenes with a magical taste to it. Very imaginative and beautiful.
The older cast featuring Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Martin Freeman are all wonderful.
Despite the periods lacking action, there always seemed some tension or drama surrounding the characters. That kept you into the movie.
The story is quite complex, but you get to see the gradual development. The friendships and other various dynamics are impressive. You can tell that J.K. Rowling is a good writer even with these movies.
Voldemort is a pretty good villain and they set him up incredibly well.
This first Harry Potter film has some flaws, the book is almost certainly better. However, I think the visuals, the cast, and the gradual development of the villain Voldemort really work. It sets up this whole universe and the various complicated relationships between characters.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)- B