THE WIZARDING MARATHON OF HARRY POTTER REVIEW: The first release to pick apart is “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which stars Daniel Radcliffe (Horns, What If), Rupert Grint (Moonwalkers, Charlie Countryman), Emma Watson (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Noah), Robbie Coltrane (Brave, GoldenEye), Richard Harris (Gladiator, Unforgiven), Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Downton Abbey [TV series]), Alan Rickman (Die Hard, Galaxy Quest), Richard Griffiths (Bedtime Stories, The History Boys), Harry Melling (Joe Mistry [TV movie], Winds of Change [short]), Fiona Shaw (True Blood [TV series], We Believed), Ian Hart (Michael Collins, Finding Neverland), John Hurt (Alien, Hellboy), Oliver Phelps (Danny and the Human Zoo [TV movie], Own Worst Enemy), James Phelps (Ward 3, Patchwork), Tom Felton (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Against the Sun), Matthew Lewis (Bluestone 42 [TV series], Me Before You), David Bradley (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Strain [TV series]), and John Cleese (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, A Fish Called Wanda). It is directed by Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire) and the screenplay is written by Steve Cloves (The Amazing Spider-Man, Wonder Boys). It is based on the book “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling. When Harry Potter (Radcliffe) is told that he is a wizard, his whole world changes as he attends the magic-teaching school of Hogwarts and becomes friends with Ron Weasley (Grint) and Hermione Granger (Watson). New, fun experiences are to be had as Harry finally breaks free from his rotten childhood under the care of the Dursley’s, but soon enough, Harry realizes that Hogwarts has some dark secrets, some of which spell danger for years to come.
I’m not going to lie, it was a struggle to get through this movie. Not because it was bad (this is actually a good film), but because I’ve seen it at least forty times in my life so far. No, my family isn’t filled with “Harry Potter” fans. In fact, most of them haven’t even seen any of the movies past the first one. It’s just whenever we got it on DVD a couple of years after it was first released, I haven’t stopped seeing it. There’s no explanation. We’ve had cars that have TVs in them and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was one that went around in rotation many times. I know a lot of it by heart, but yet I had to watch it again to get a good evaluation. So it was hard to say the least, especially since the picture is two hours and thirty minutes long. With that in mind, onto the review itself. Everyone has heard of “Harry Potter.” It’s a ginormous book franchise and the films have grossed a lot of money. The most famous of them all, however, has to be the first one. It has many iconic scenes in it, several of which I have seen during commercials and DVD and VHS ads around the time it came out. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard Hagrid (Coltrane) tell Harry “you’re a wizard Harry.” Too many to count. But that is what gives this film its glory. It started a fantastic journey of fantasy and even inspired other books to do the same (“Hunger Games,” “Twilight”). What reels me in for this movie has to be the atmosphere. The world of “Harry Potter” is a fascinating one. There’s so much to do and explore. The four houses, the quittich games, the many magical candies. You can’t help but get a warm feeling when Harry and Hagrid walk around Diagon Alley. This is such a lovable film that can be cherished forever. One thing that really helps with this fact is the musical score. My goodness it is fantastic! It’s such an iconic score that everyone can know where it comes from by just listening. I could just listen to the music alone and be pleased. Thank you John Williams for once again granting cinema beautiful music. The landscapes and wardrobe are masterfully crafted in this and I loved watching every detail of every shot. The directing in this was great and I give props for his endurance. Working with children is not something that is fun to do in Hollywood and I know that it must’ve been a struggle to keep all the kids focused during every scene. Their acting was really good for kid actors, and I enjoyed seeing their performances as well as the adults. Of course the characters are interesting that they play, and there is a lot of originality in every one of them. Although there is a lot to enjoy with this release, there is also quite a bit to be discouraged of. For one, the story can be predictable. I know, I’ve seen this several times, but by picking apart the directing and acting, it’s hard not to predict what will happen, especially the end result, which brings me to my next issue. The ending was very cliché. I liked how questions that concerned me with the conflict at the end were answered, but they were answered in a way that would make it feel like something Hallmark would come up with. The very ending with the house cup was also overly-cliché. It puts a warm feeling in my stomach, but now that I’m older, I can’t help but roll my eyes at how simplistic and unrealistic the odds are. Finally, the last con I have is the biggest of them all: it can drag. This is a two-hour and thirty minute film (a little more than that actually) and there is a lot to compress in that time. So much in fact that the plot goes everywhere. I like build-up, and we sure get a lot of that in this, but at times it can be a bit too much. Only forty-five minutes (and I’m estimating) of this movie really deals with the conflict at hand, the rest showing Harry’s first year at Hogwarts. Cool special effects, that still relatively hold up, are shown throughout, but it isn’t enough to make me feel like it is going somewhere. I like seeing the classes and the formations of friends and enemies, but what I want to get to is the conflict at hand, and there are a lot of roadblocks along the way. Overall, this is a classic movie that should at least be seen once by everyone, no matter what wrong things I’ve said about it. I’m sure kids, at the right age, will appreciate it and so will adults too. FINAL SCORE: 89%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: