I first saw this movie shortly after it was released in 2001. It was the first movie I’d ever seen that wasn’t cartoon and in the first few minutes, I thought I might have been put in the wrong theatre because it seemed scary enough to be The Lord of the Rings which was in theatres at the same time. At the time I knew next to nothing about either saga so this movie gave me my first ever impression of Harry Potter. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was directed by Chris Columbus, written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. Despite my first impressions, the movie wasn’t really scary at all, not even to my 7-year-old brain. Instead it has a very magical feel to it the whole way through; one of wonder and new discoveries. The movie is straight-forward and easy to understand. There aren’t any strange twists or complicated storylines; it’s simple. Even the fact that Voldemort is with Quirrel and not Snape, isn’t as big a deal as it is in the book.
As far as it goes compared to the book, it is nearly identical. There are chapters here and there (such as the chapter about Sir Nick’s death day party) that are completely missing and some characters that are never mentioned (such as Peeves), but other than this it is very true to the novel. It even has the same child-like feel as the book. It is designed for the age group that Rowling intended, 11-year-olds. For adults, though, it isn’t the best movie. Despite this, the animation is pretty good for the time.
The acting of the child-actors is average, at best. I would have to say that out of Daniel Radcliff (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger); Grint is easily the best actor. As far as the casting goes, the adult roles were chosen reasonably well. Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall), Richard Griffiths (Vernon Dursley) and many others. Although, some of the movie’s lines are hard to understand because they are not said loud enough or aren’t delivered clearly (for example, when Petunia says “What a lovely day to go to the zoo”.
Harry Potter was lucky when it came to its music. The composer was John Williams (also known for his work in Star Wars, Jaws and Indiana Jones) who came up with the catchy and universally known song; Hedwig’s Theme. You’ll notice that all of the other movies he wrote the music for also have very unique and well-known sound tracks. While the music isn’t the best I’ve ever heard, it definitely helps sets the magical (and sometimes creepy) mood of the movie and gave a great standing point for the music used for the future movies. Although, it some parts it seems unnecessary and overdone. The best type of music is music that you don’t notice when you’re not supposed to, and in some parts, I did notice it. A link to Hedwig’s Theme is here: .
Favourite portrayal/character: Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith)
Least favourite portrayal/character: Seamus Finnigan (Devon Murray)
Favourite scene: The Quidditch Scene
Least favourite scene: When Percy is showing the Griffindor’s to their common room and the trios reaction to Fluffy
Rating; 3.5/5 stars