(Review originally written at 6 June 2008)

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No, I'm not a big Harry Potter fan and probably never will be but I can appreciate the qualities of the movies. Definitely for a children movie this movie is of course of very high class, with fabulous looking sets, a whole load of well known British actors and an highly experienced crew involved.

The movie forms a nice first set up for the future series of Harry Potter movies. Still I'm glad the movies and its characters have matured a lot since this movie. Probably also has to do with the fact that this movie and the second were directed by Chris Columbus who is an experienced children movie director, while the other Harry Potter movies were directed by more 'serious' directors. Yes, it makes this movie a good children's movie to watch but also sort of makes this movie look and feel more outdated than any of the other Harry Potter movies, which also goes at the expense of its re-watchable value.

Nevertheless, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" remains good quality- and fun film. It knows to create an entire new world of its own with lots of often strange characters in it.

The movie is of course a set up and the first establishment of a long running series of movies. This means that the movie consists for a big part out of character introductions. Yes, this results in the fact that there are a bit too many characters in the movie, also since some of them don't even seem to serve a purpose at all for the story but this got resolved in the later movies, by simply leaving out some characters but by introducing many new ones as well. So its sort of problem solving with another problem.

Also a bit of a shame that the movie is lacking a real central villain. Professor Snape is treated as a villain, even though we learn by the end of the movie that he's not such a bad guy after all. The real main villain if the movie is of course Voldemort but he gets mostly only mentioned by name and basically doesn't do an awful lot in the movie and only sort of shows up in the very end of the movie. Not the way to treat a villain in my opinion, even though its of course clear from this movie on that he is going to play a much bigger and more important role in the future Harry Potter movies. I however in a case like this feel that they should had putted in a new and different villain besides Voldemort, since this movie is definitely lacking a sense of danger, excitement and action, even though the movie never bores, despite its quite long running time (for a children's movie anyway.).

The movie its quality is also surely being uplifted by its presence of well known and respected actors, such as Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman among many others. Each of them are giving fine performances but it are mostly Harris and Rickman that catch the eye with their performances. The child actors are also managing fine, although its definitely and luckily true that their acting improved throughout during the later movies.

The movie is great looking and knows to create a magic new world, with its set, costumes and make-up. It's not hard to see that this was a costly movie to make. The special effects are also mostly fine, though not really during the game of quidditch, or any other 'flying' sequence for that matter. The movie gets also greatly supported by the musical score from John Williams. Sort of a waste for the series that Williams only scored the music for the first 3 movies.

A good and fun enough start of the series, though luckily the movies improved more over the years.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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