HARRY POTTER & THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE (aka HARRY
POTTER & THE SORCERER'S STONE) (PG)
D: Chris Columbus
Warner Bros./Heyday/1492 (David Heyman)
W: Steve Kloves [based on the novel by J. K.
DP: John Seale
Ed: Richard Francis-Bruce
Mus: John Williams
PD: Stuart Craig
Cos: Judianna Makovsky
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron
Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermoine Granger), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Richard Harris (Albus Dumbledore), Richard Griffiths (Vernon Dursley), Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell), John Hurt (Mr.
Ollivander), Alan Rickman (Professor Severus Snape), Fiona Shaw (Petunia Dursley), Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall), Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley), John Cleese (Nearly Headless
It's not a pre-requisite to have read J. K. Rowling's
series of books, but it helps, especially if you're a big fan of them.
The Harry Potter series of books had already sold millions
of copies before the first film went into production, so there was always going to be a fanbase for these movies, and by that token it leaves them rather criticproof.
As someone who hasn't read the books (and has no
particular interest in doing so) the general premise of Harry Potter and his universe seems to be picked from other, different works of literature (Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch series of
books a prime example), ergo the Harry Potter stories aren't particularly original.
As for the film itself, it's a good introduction to the
schoolboy wizard and his adventures, opening with Harry mistreated by his foster parents, living under a staircase while they spoil their legitimate son rotten. An invitation is then received
for Harry to join Hogwarts, a fabled school for young wizards and witches which can only be reached by a magical train departing from Kings Cross station's platform 9 & 3/4.
During his first term at Hogwarts, Harry learns the basics
of spell casting as well as the truth of his parents' death, before he goes on a quest with his friends Ron Weasley & Hermoine Granger to find the magical philosopher's
It's a fine fantasy film for young kids, with some
brilliant aspects to the production, especially in the set design, costumes and most of the visual effects (although the troll and Minotaur CGI effects are absolutely terrible for such a huge
Personally, I have a minor gripe with the lack of
originality in the Potter stories, but they also encouraged an entire generation of kids to read more, which is always a good thing. One of the more original aspects in the stories is the
game of Quidditch, which the film dedicates quite an amount of time on. Though, to be harshly frank, it seems like the stupidest game ever devised. Perhaps it sounded more interesting in the
books, but in the film it's just farcical. Honestly, if catching a 'golden snitch' wins the game, why all the other scoring methods?
The story may be mostly plagiarised, but it has so many
fans I really can't be too harsh on it, especially since much of it was very enjoyable.