Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
release year: 2001
viewing setting: home DVD, 7/13/09 and 1/4/04
synopsis: A normal 11-year-old boy is whisked away from an unhappy existence to fullfill his destiny and become a wizard.
impressions: Pretty entertaining and well-done, and a close adaptation of the book. This movie instills a sense of wonder, the sort that drives a kid to dream. It's also got enough to keep adults happy, including a few parts that may be too scary for young children. There is plenty of detail and nice little touches of magic (e.g. in the magic world, the people in pictures move around.) My only complaint stems from something present in the books: a school run by powerful wizards should be inherently able to detect/punish/expel the bad kids - BEFORE they grow up to be bad wizards. Oh well.
things to watch for: the 3-headed dog
something this movie has that no other movie has: a hat that knows if you're good or bad
acting: There are too many good performances to list here. This is one of those movies whose sequels all have pretty much the same actors and actresses - everyone is in it for the long haul. Daniel Radcliffe is Harry Potter, who knows nothing of his origin or destiny and whose life all changes suddenly. Rupert Grint is Ron Weasley, Harry's friend who worries about almost everything. Emma Watson is Hermione, their other friend who's the magic-geek and tends to know everything. Richard Harris is Dumbledore, the headmaster of the school of magic. Maggie Smith is Professor McGonagall, second in command and another senior good guy. Alan Rickman is Severus Snape, a generally hostile professor. Robbie Coltrane is Hagrid, a gigantic and friendly groundskeeper.
final word: Worth watching and owning.
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