Friday, December 28, 2012

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Chris Columbus, 2001) Review

It all starts here. It's finally time that we take a look at one of the biggest film franchises of all time. Not big as in that it's long (it's only 8 films long) but that's insanely popular. It lasted exactly 10 years (2001-2011) so there is quite a lot of ground to cover...okay, this review will be as long as any other one but I was just trying to make things special. So, has this giant film franchise aged well...after 11 years (does anything even age after that long?). Let's find out!

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is an 11 year old boy who is stuck with his horrible Uncle Vernon (Richard Griffiths) and Aunt Petunia (Fiona Shaw). Harry discovers that he is actually a young wizard and is sent invitations to attend Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Vernon tries his best to get the letters away from Harry but the groundskeepers of Hogwarts, Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), is sent to retirieve Harry and the two of them depart to Hogwarts. After making new friends, Ron Wealsey (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), Harry discovers that a villain named Voldemort is out to get revenge on Harry for something Harry doesn't even remember. Now Harry and his friends must surive their first year at Hogwarts and stop Voldemort from returning.

We all know this film. If you haven't heard of Harry Potter...I don't think even living under a rock would suffice. Everyone has. It's impossible not to have. Does that mean it instantly has to be good. No, of course not. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone earns it's goodness. It introduces us into an amazing world with lots of great magic and creatures that are seen. Hogwarts is an amazing place and the use of special effects and some amazing sets and make up really help bring the world of Harry Potter alive. The characters also help this as they fit in with the world. The headmaster, Dumbledore (Richard Harris), looks like a wizard should and Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) looks like a witch should (you know, a witch that isn't an ugly hag). It's so cliché that it's not cliché (yeah, that's not totally confusing at all).

Normally when you have child actors who haven't really that much experience they are really, really annoying...or bad. This is not the case here. The three stars are excellent, especially Daniel Radcliffe who clearly was into the role (and who wouldn't be!) especially in the climax. I was surprised at how good this film was when I went back and watched it, especially with the child actors. Whoever the casting director was, you done good. Congratulations.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a great introduction to the Harry Potter franchise. It's full of so many good things such as the magic aspect and the actors that protray some very iconic characters. Harry Potter has become one of the biggest franchises of all time (books and films included) and this film does the source material justice. If you haven't seen this film yet...what the hell?

A great start to one of the biggest film franchises of all time. The actors are great and the magic that is shown is juts wonderful.

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