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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.


I like you always avoided movies based on books I have read. My mental image is always far better than theirs.

The Harry Potter craze hasnt reached here yet.(Australia)It has but not fully fledged,would it be an ok movie for a 4 year old to see?

Sure, it's a pretty exciting and fun movie for a little kid. Just warn your kid ahead of time that they talk about Harry's parents being murdered.

I was disappointed with the pacing as well. My dad and I were joking that they need to make it four hours long with an intermission.

More Quidditch, though! The Quidditch was the one movie moment to surpass my imagination, I guess. I mean, I pictured it violent, but not that violent or zippy.

I saw the movie tonight as well, and I agree with your review completly. I'd probably have enjoyed it much more if I hadn't read the books, but I enjoyed it all the same.

I didn't go with a kid, but the theatre was full of them. I think hearing kids laugh, groan and gasp added to the experience greatly.

My review would read much like yours except that I wasn't unsatisfied with the depiction of Hermione. Character development seems to have taken a backseat to avoiding the wrath of fans who wanted every scene included - and this cost the movie somewhat. Some things they included didn't really even make sense (for instance, why include Norbert the Dragon at all if he's only going to be in that one scene?!?) given that the time could have been spent showing us who these wonderful characters really are. All in all, a fine movie, but one that failed by a nose to capture the "spark" of the books.

I think it is tough for someone who has read the books to find enough character development. We've all had 2000 pages of involvement in these characters lives', it would be impossible to fit all that into two and a half hours.

I haven't read any of the reviews or behind the scenes info, but I did see one short interview with director Chris Columbus. He said he'd been working up to last week. I imagine the original cut of the movie was much longer, and includes a lot of the scenes die-hard fans noticed missing. I've seen the movie, now I can't wait for the DVD to come so I can see all the extras.

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