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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (A Movie Review)

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Ian Hart, John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith and Julie Waters.

Screenplay by Steve Kloves.

Directed by Chris Columbus.

Distributed by Warner Brothers.  152 minutes.  Rated PG.

I am one of five people in the world who has never read one of the Harry Potter books.  So I don’t go into the movie with the expectations or prejudices built up by the own mind while reading.  But, I also don’t have the great love of the story and its world, either.  I hope I came to it with a totally open mind, just as a movie, not as a cultural phenomenon.

Just as a movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is very entertaining.  The young children playing Harry and his friends are terrific and able to keep up with venerable British actors like Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, John Hurt and Alan Rickman.  Not that this is a film about acting, but the fact that most of it is top-notch certainly can only help.  What the film is about is special effects and magic, and this is where Harry Potter soars.  The imagination of the situations and the technique with which they are put together are by turns charming, funny and scary.

If I have a minor quibble, it’s that too many of these situations seemed a little familiar from other fantasy books and films, but it still comes together nicely in the scope of the story.  Too many blockbuster films skimp on story and make it all about the effects.  Harry Potter takes its world very seriously.  This movie makes me want to pick up the book, and that’s about the best compliment a movie can get.  (11/01)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright © 2001 All rights reserved. Posted: November 30, 2001.

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