REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

Being a child of the 1990s and having read four of the seven novels that were released at the time until the release of the first film adaptation in the series – Philosopher’s Stone, there were excitements tingling all over. This truly became the first installment and a taste of excitement, intension and drama that was coming up in the remaining novels in the series. Many would say that Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone is like a warm-up in the series, that it’s just something to not take so seriously and is just a fine piece of entertainment. Quite frankly, that is exactly what I think what I think of this first film.

As the films in the series progress, they get darker and darker so The Philosopher’s Stone is perhaps the most child-friendly film in the franchise. It obviously does have its dark moments every now and again but as I said, it was a warm-up to the series so therefore we get to know more about the characters, the wizarding world and the basics of the series before things got really personal. It perhaps is one of the most perfect films for an entire family because this has all that a family film must require: good fun, and a strong story with lovable characters.

It is the tale of Harry Potter, an ordinary 11-year-old boy serving as a sort of slave for his aunt and uncle who learns that he is actually a wizard and has been invited to attend the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is snatched away from his mundane existence by Hagrid, the grounds keeper for Hogwarts, and quickly thrown into a world completely foreign to both him and the viewer. Famous for an incident that happened at his birth, Harry makes friends easily at his new school. He soon finds, however, that the wizarding world is far more dangerous for him than he would have imagined, and he quickly learns that not all wizards are ones to be trusted.

Back in the late 90s when during pre-production of the first installment of the series, the roles of Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger were huge and we needed three great child actors who can deeply affect the audience and make them pleasurable to watch. First off, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry James Potter. Although, Dan was a little kid at the time, he delivered a disappointing performance as Harry. His acting was a bit forced and quite flat at times, but there have been worse debut child stars. For example, Jake Lloyd in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. We got used to Dan as Harry as the films progressed and, quite frankly, I think he played the character brilliantly. It just took him a few films to get into the character, that’s all. Secondly, Rupert Grint as Ronald Weasley: out of all of the films released in the series, Rupert has always made me laugh as Ron (especially with his quote in the first couple of films ”bloody hell” and using ‘bloody’ a lot), and not just with looks but personality as well, he suits the character pretty well. Emma Watson was brilliant as Hermione Granger. In my opinion, she is the best actor of the three main characters. Yeah, she did act a bit overdramatic in this first installment and a lot how Dan acted, but still decent enough to enjoy.

The late Richard Harris portrayed Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, and is easily the best of the two actors to have played Dumbledore throughout the franchise. Robbie Coltrane’s performance as Rubeus Hagrid was just fantastic! He is perfect for Hagrid, and gives a supporting performance that could have been worthy of an Oscar nomination; similar to Alec Guinness in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and Ian McKellen in The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. The main thing that they all have in common is that they are the supporter and comforter of the protagonist of the stories and become like father figures to them. Hagrid’s involvement inPhilosopher’s Stone is perhaps the longest time we see throughout the entire series but he still remains a very crucial character in the franchise.

Honestly, there must be a very talented film director to be able to pull off a fantastic start in a film series, especially when the books they are based on received critical acclaim. Before Philosopher’s Stone, director Chris Columbus bought us the likes of the first two Home Alonefilms (so had a bit of experience with introducing franchises) and Mrs. Doubtfire and they were successful, so he really knows how to satisfy a family from the big screen. However, his work on Philosopher’s Stone is exactly what was required and hit the nail on the head by achieving exactly what was required out of it. He made it a very dark story despite being precisely suitable enough for children’s eyes. Steve Kloves wrote the scripts for every single Harry Potter and he begins with a bang! He makes this first installment something both very modern and in an enchanting world that can capture the audience’s imagination and heart as they watch it.

Overall, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone truly is a fantastic start to a series of films that has defined a generation. Although, despite one or two flaws (including Daniel Radcliffe’s weak role as Harry), it still manages to be a successful film that is a great, great film for all family members to watch. It ended brilliantly that became an outstanding build-up to The Chamber Of Secrets and the rest of the series.


~ by SJMJ91 on 18/05/2012.

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