Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Movie Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Year Released: 2001

Rated: PG

Runtime: 2h 39min

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Adventure

Director: Chris Columbus

Writer: Steve Kloves

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Tom Felton, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Ian Hart, John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Verne Troyer, Julie Walters

Review: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), a boy who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own. He is summoned from his life as an unwanted child to become a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards. There, he meets several friends and its legendary headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris), who become his closest allies and help him discover the truth about his parents' mysterious deaths.

I should disclose that I am a huge Harry Potter nerd, and all seven books, eight films, and even some of the controversial supplemental material are all near and dear to my heart. I began reading this book series in 5th grade and never looked back. The Harry Potter film series, for me, is the epitome of comfort TV. I can throw these films on for no reason whatsoever, in any random order, and enjoy myself thoroughly. I will always hold Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in high regard because it is the book, and film, that started it all. This is the first time we get to see the magical world created by J.K. Rowling brought to the big screen. The wizards, the goblins, the ghosts, Diagon Alley, Hogwarts; it's all there like we had previously never seen before. This movie really set the standard for this universe that became a worldwide phenomenon.

I think this movie is very cool to watch because in retrospect all of the actors are children in comparison to how much older and more mature they are at the conclusion of the series. There's a level of innocence to this movie that I think really shines through. Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) really have no idea what they're up against when they end up having to go toe-to-toe with Lord Voldemort in their first year at Hogwarts. We kind of forget that these are 11-year-olds trying to fight off the most infamous dark wizard of all time. This movie is a lot of fun, and I think a great first entry into this legendary series. Make no mistake, this isn't the best of the eight films, but it really sets the tone as the characters grow and mature as this series progresses. There's never a bad time to start watching Harry Potter. I can promise you that!

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Alan Rickman was hand picked to play Snape by J.K. Rowling, and received special instructions from her about character. Rowling even provided him with vital details of Snape's backstory, not revealed until the final novel.


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