Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 8/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 8/10

BOOK ONE:
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (2001) - Chris Columbus

By now, everyone is already familiar with the boy who lived, the one survivor of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the wizard Harry Potter. For ten years of cinema, the film industry and J.K. Rowling have astounded us with great vision and imagination. Now that the magical journey has ended, it is about time to take a look back at the very beginning, the one that started it all, back when Harry is just a poor boy living under the stairs of the Dursley's home.

The Sorcerer's Stone follows eleven-year old Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) as he discovers that he is the orphaned son of powerful wizards. He is then offered a place at Hogwarts, a boarding school for young wizards that exists in a magical realm outside of the monotonous world of normal humans, or "Muggles." As he bonds with clumsy Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and schoolgirl Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), Harry learns of Lord Voldemort, the murderer of his parents, and a magical item called the Sorcerer's Stone, sitting somewhere in the halls of Hogwarts.

Being the first film that introduces Hogwarts, Sorcerer's Stone's greatest success is bringing the world of the magical school to life. Director Chris Columbus skillfully invites the audience to hop on the train alongside Harry, and learn about all the magical components that shape the school. When Harry gasps in amazement, so do we, whether it is observing moving paintings or seeing food appear on your plates in front of your eyes. In addition to brilliant visual effects, Columbus aids the film with great costume designs, makeup, and set pieces. As a result, Sorcerer's Stone quickly and efficiently immerses us into the world of Harry Potter.

Though this is the greatest strength of the film, it is also partially its weakness. At times, it pays too much attention at pleasing our eyes that it loses grip of storytelling. Thus, the pacing at times is a little bumpy. In addition, Sorcerer's Stone is also arguably one of the more loyal films to the original book. However, it is a little too faithful and in a way becomes unoriginal, especially if you have read the book first. In a way, it is as if the filmmakers tried too hard to please the Potter fans and thus end up offering little to no surprises. Nevertheless, the magic is still there and the film is still guaranteed to capture fascinating scenes and enchanting sequences, from a game of Quidditch to a deadly chess game.

Sorcerer's Stone is not a children's film nor is it an adult film, and it fits perfectly for a first entry to Harry Potter. It has enough dark content to intrigue and also enough delight to please.

In this critic's opinion, Sorcerer's Stone and the next entry Chamber of Secrets are the least compelling based on filmmaking. However, it is without a doubt one of the more entertaining entries, and Chris Columbus delivers for a simplistic film that does not have too much depth. If Columbus was handed Goblet of Fire or Order of the Phoenix, then things might have been ugly. Fortunately, the first story of the series is straightforward enough and enthralling enough to please all audience members. Visually, this is the best you can get out of a Sorcerer's Stone film adaptation.

In conclusion, The Sorcerer's Stone is a spellbinding start to a spellbinding series, and for an initial film that begins right, there is much hope that the film series will continue in respectable reputation. Probably one of the greatest factors about the first Harry Potter film is the fact that it still holds up when viewed today. Even when it suffers from a lack of cinematic filmmaking, it establishes the magical world effectively and visually triumphs. In the end, when we see Harry return home on the train like we return to our Muggle world after viewing Sorcerer's Stone, we are all excited to return to Hogwarts the next year and see what new journeys await the boy who lived.


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