Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Unless you’re still too young to earn your own income chances are this movie will not sweep you off your feet and give you the experience the hype has been promising. That is not to say you won’t enjoy the film, far from it! With some brilliant acting and a very original plot you can certainly expect to be entertained. However with the lack of some genuine fear and feeling for the characters on screen the promise of `the best movie ever’ is a little off the mark.

Creating the atmosphere that sucks an audience into a story is arguably what Hollywood struggles with most and this film is no exception. Despite the strong performance of Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and friends Rupert Grint (Ronald ‘Ron’ Weasley ) and Emma Watson(Hermione Granger), the fact the film is aimed at children creates a distinct lack of emotional involvement we are used to in some of the better pieces of recent cinema. Harry’s encounter with the snake at the beginning of the movie sums up the emotional level the film is aimed at.

The support cast is perhaps more relevant to older audiences and definitely provides the best moments in the film. Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman steel the show in with some authentic acting that makes the world of Harry seem much more real than the special effects make you feel. Coltrane provides most of the comedy relief and does so with the same line on a number of occasions.

The Special effects, whilst grand and definitely not cheap tend to overshadow a story that is beyond the need for extravagant computer generated effects. Besides the game of Quidditch, the Troll, and Fluffy, there were only minor requirements for the computer. Unfortunately there were a number of visually obvious computer additions that likened the awful Jar Jar Binks of Star Wars.

The films strength however lies in the story line. Whilst some scenes may seem oddly familiar to those well versed in Fantasy and Science Fiction, for the rest of us `main-stream’ folk the world of Harry Potter is a fresh sight. Without a clear beginning, middle, or end, the story instead builds from the basic premise that Harry is something special. With no strong and outward villain for most of the film the pace and motivation of the story surprisingly held together quite well and is nothing but a huge testament to the abilities of the books author J.K. Rowling.

A novel to film adaptation is and always will be an immense task, particularly when the novel has a following most authors can only dream about. What would make it even harder is the promise to keep true to the written word, which is exactly what director Christopher Columbus swore to do. The finished product, whilst a breath of fresh cinema, ultimately fails to deliver much more then another Children’s holiday adventure.

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Filed under Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Film Reviews

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