Harry Potter: a review
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: A review
I normally stay away from movies which are adapted from books I've read and enjoyed. I like the way I envision stories in my head. I like the way my imagination makes the book come alive for me. It is a very rare movie that captures the comination of the author's words and my vision of them in the way I anticipate it should be done. Harry Potter is not one of those rare moments.
I had high hopes for Harry. Judging from the trailers I had seen, I thought they had completed the task of giving full fledged flight to every detail in the book. Impossible, I know. But the trailers made it look so. I should know better than to trust trailers.
The movie wasn't bad, per se. It wasn't even disappointing. Had I not read the book, I probably would be giving the movie a much better review. I felt there was so much in the book that was not broached on the screen. In their effort to include every scenario of the book in the script, they were only able to skim over each episode, never giving full depth to the stories or the characters. The movie was 2 1/2 hours as it was, to include everything in the book would have made it an unweildy epic. They would have been better off leaving off some of the minor parts and giving more thought to the major moments.
The characters were not fleshed out at all. If you haven't read the book, you will probably be left wondering about a lot of things. The book offered us the soul of each character. The movie offers only a glimpse at the personalities.
Yes, most of the magic was there; Diagon Alley, Platfrom 9 3/4, wands and potions and dragons and everything that made the book so fascinating. But they were fleeting, as if the scritpwriter assumed that everyone was as familiar with the book as he, and he needn't bother going into details.
The acting of Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry was very one dimensional. He had the same dumbstruck look on his face for most of the movie, occasionally subsituting the look of awe for a goofy grin. Harry, as seen through Radcliffe, came off rather stiff and awkward. Hermione (Emma Watson) was pretty much as I pictured her, snooty and obnoxious, and Watson seemed to have learned all her acting skills from watching Meg Ryan movies, practicing her "I'm strong willed and smart but damn perky" look for hours on end. Rupert Grint as Ron Weasely was wonderful. He was the one character whose personality really came through. Goofy, witty and immediately likeable, just as he was in the book. The grown up characters were all cast perfectly. Alan Rickman as Snape was a brilliant stroke of genius. He communicates more in just one look than most actors take a whole page of dialogue to convey.
Mostly, it was an enjoyable experience. Had I not read the book, I probably would have enjoyed it more. I'm probably going to get hate mail for speaking out against the wonder that is the Harry Potter movie, but so be it. I anticipated this movie for quite some time and while it did not let me down in the way that another much anticpated movie did, [insert Jar-Jar joke here] I still feel a bit cheated.