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Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone
(aka Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone)
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Richard Griffiths, Julie Walters, Leslie Phillips,Ian Hart, Verne Troyer, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Derek Jacobi
Written by Steve Kloves
Based on the popular book by J.K. Rowling
Produced by David Heyman
Directed by Chris Columbus

Trailer: Quicktime Teaser: Low Res | Med Res | High Res

One of the most anticipated films of the year, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” has finally arrived amidst much hype and circumstance to the delight of fans the word over. The film is based on a popular book series by J.K. Rowling that tell of the adventures of young wizard Harry Potter and his friends while attending Hogwarts Academy of Wizardry and Witchcraft. The four books published to date have been bestsellers the world over and have inspired legions of devoted fans, so it seemed only a matter of time until Harry made his debut on the big screen.

Not since the last Star Wars film “The Phantom Menace”, has their been this much hype around a film, and advanced tickets to the first weekend have been sold out in many places for weeks in advance, and this is just the tip of the iceberg for a film that many predict will break box office records.

The movie tells of the orphaned Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), who is raised by his mean and neglectful aunt and uncle. Harry’s relatives pay him little attention and force Harry to live in a cupboard under the stairs and wait on them hand and foot. His relatives never buy him gifts or treat him as family even on his birthday and punish him for anything they believe he has done wrong, even when he has not. Worse yet, Harry’s aunt and uncle spend all of the attention spoiling his obnoxious cousin as they shower him with gifts and praise despite the fact he is a greedy and rude child. Things change for Harry on his 11th birthday when he learns that his parents were great wizards and he is to attend Hogwarts in order to develop his amazing talents. It seems his relatives have kept his parents abilities and true fate from Harry, and were determined to keep him from following in his parent’s footsteps.

Aided by the schools caring caretaker Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) Harry equips himself with the items he will need to attend school all the while learning about his parents. It is learned that Harry was orphaned when an evil wizard killed his parents and for some unknown reason, spared Harry although leaving a mark upon the child’s forehead.

As Harry travels to his new school, He meets Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger( Emma Watson). Like Harry the two are new students and they soon become good friends. No sooner do Harry and his friends arrive, when strange things start to happen ranging from a Troll running loose in the school, hidden secrets, and a suspicious Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) who seems to be up to something.

Along the way, Harry and his friends learn about the fabled Sorcer’s Stone. A magical stone that can not only turn anything into gold, but can create a elixir of immortality that the evil wizard who killed Harry’s parents seems intent on capturing for himself. Despite Harry’s warning, his notions are dismissed by the faculty at Hogwarts as many believe the evil wizard vanished for good long ago. Undaunted by the dangers that face them, Harry and his friends set out to stop the forces of evil and save the day.

The film is a triumph of imagination as it blends, fantasy, humor, and special effects in way that is charming and delightful for all ages. A sporting match played on broomsticks is a visual delight as characters zoom all over the screen in a scene that will delight audiences of all ages. Despite having some nice effects, the film never relies on eye candy to be its drawing card. An interesting, if not to deep story and likeable, well-written characters are what makes this film shine. The acting is first rate and young Radcliffe seems to be a star in the making. Coltrane gives an outstanding performance as do Maggie Smith, and Richard Harris as the wizards that not only teach Harry about magic, but about life as well.

The film moves along at a good pace, and despite its 150-minute running time, there are few slow moments in the film, and Director Chris Columbus paces the film to perfection. It should be noted that despite its PG rating, some younger people in the press screener were frightened by some moments of the film. That aside, “Harry Potter” is a modern day classic that more than lives up to the hype and is well worth seeing for fans of all ages. The second film in the series is already under way and I must say that for many people, myself included, I look forward to seeing what future adventures Harry and his friends have in store for audiences.

5 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach

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