Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Main cast: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ronald 'Ron' Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Robbie Coltrane (Gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Richard Harris (Headmaster Albus Dumbledore), Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell), Alan Rickman (Professor Severus Snape), and Maggie Smith (Professor/Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall)
Director: Chris Colombus
For the seven of you out there who have never read the JK Rowling's book and hence do not know the story at all, the next few paragraphs of synopsis are for you. For those of you who love Harry Potter, skip them, because this movie is a faithful, innovation-free scoop-by-scoop retelling of the book, right down to the "shock ending".
Harry Potter is a boy who, as a baby, survived the attack of the dark wizard Voldemort. Hence, in accordance to the English's fascination with bloodlines, Harry is destined to be the next big thing. Wow. He has a scar, a dollar sign, sorry, a Z sign as a result of his brush with death. Or is it greatness?
Because of his fame, the magic folks decide to protect him by sending him to his magicless (or Muggles) uncle and aunt who don't care whether he lives, dies, or gives birth to a troll. Some protection, I tell you. I'm still trying to figure that one out.
After Harry has led a Cinderella lifestyle of being bullied, Harry's fairy godmother, a giant named Rubeus Hagrid, comes to collect Harry back to some magic never neverland where Harry will enrol in the Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Poor Harry. Immediately singled out by his teachers as Special and given all those pesky extra benefits only your most reviled teacher's pet could dream of - right down to the end where Headmaster Dumbledore pulls a stunt that will make Florida proud as hell - he has a miserable life. I mean, so what if his buddy Hermoine and Ron do most of the dirty work like thinking and making funny wisecracks? Poor Harry, look, he misses... something, I guess. I can't tell from Daniel Radcliffe's vacant staring into the camera. Harry doesn't do anything or knows anything, but he's the hero! What, you think that is unfair? Look, Harry saves some crystal ball thing, and he has the scar, you know. Birthright is everything.
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter... I hate to attack kiddies, but the boy can't act, period. He has two expressions for everything: a blank stare for "serious" stuff and a limp grin for "happy stuff". It doesn't help that he gets all the boring lines. The other kids Emma Watson and Rupert Grint act rings all around Radcliffe. With a boring wooden statue in the lead, the movie has no magic. Since I have read the book, it is a chore to follow this movie as I know everything that will happen. By the second hour I am so bored that I am devising painful ways to remove Daniel Radcliffe's teeth the next time he flash that annoying blank grin at me.
There are nice scenery, nice special effects, that make this movie look like a very expensive Disney TV special. Alas, I wonder why the heck can't they just destroy the bloody Sorcerer's Stone at the first hour and spare me more of Radcliffe's school of objectified acting. I wonder why can't the adorable Rupert Grint be Harry. I wonder why Hermoine, who does all the thinking, isn't awarded the 60 points bonus in the end. She thinks, she is sensible, while Harry, oh, he's just a hero because he is born to be one.
It is nice to see all the archaic anti-meritocracy values making a comeback in children's fiction.
This movie has little magic, too much kiddie-pandering, and relies too much on people being more in love with the book than the movie to work. Harry Ploddy And The Birthright Advantage has the magic to petrify me into stone.
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