Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone aka Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

(In theaters, November 2001) Is it possible for a movie to be too faithful to the original novel? It’s tempting to say so while watching this first film in the Harry Potter series as the second half of the film sinks in indulgent pacing and gratuitous scenes. Indeed, the film seldom exhibits signs of snappiness or extreme originality; it’s leisurely, even conventional in pure fantasy terms. Avid fantasy readers will have “seen” all of this before. But don’t let the above deter you from considering Harry Potter 1 to be one of the best films of 2001: The technical professionalism, good dialogue and acting talent of the film more than make up for any deficiencies, and the result is a long, conventional but very good film. It’s mind candy almost all the way through! Particular recognition goes to acting wizard Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, and newcomer Emma Watson as the irresistible Hermione. In a year where most blockbusters have fallen flat on their faces (Pearl Harbor, Tomb Raider, Planet Of The Apes, etc.), this is one hyper-hyped movie event that really does deliver.

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