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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

 

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane
Director: Chris Columbus

Rating: PG

Review Posted: 6.7.02

 

By John Teves

 

The Movie

 

Based on the popular first book of the series by J.K. Rowling; Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is a nobody, an orphaned son of two powerful wizards, heís treated like dirt by the aunt and uncle who inherited him when his parents were killed by the evil Voldemort.

 

 

An acceptance letter to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is delivered by the friendly giant Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), who has come to bring Harry to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he will study to fulfill his true calling as a wizard. It is at Hogwarts where Harry  meets classmates Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), who will become close friends. The Hogwarts School experience embarks Harry on the adventure of a lifetime, discovering a world of magic and fantasy where he is destined to live.

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone was entertaining and well developed. Iím not a Harry Potter fan, nor have I ever picked up any of the novels, but after speaking with people who have, Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone is a faithful adaptation to itís novel Ė the film delivers as promised. I thought the film explained the story well, covering all the key points that are necessary for people like me to realm into other Potter adventures.

 

J.K. Rowling intends to make Harry Potter a seven book series, following Harry and his friends through their schooling and transition to adulthood. I honestly admit this film is not perfect, but itís not bad either, it is still an impressive beginning to what may be a future franchise of Harry Potter films provided that the filmmakers don't mess things up too badly Ė remember the Batman franchise - Joe Schumacher / Batman and Robin Ė yikes.

 

Like most novel to film adaptations, fans of the book will likely love or hate the movie based on how closely things match their preconceived notions.  I have to give Chris Columbus credit on this one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone stands out as a good piece of entertainment. The magic in what Columbus and his crew have done is fantastic; of course while no movie could ever do justice to the film that stays inside everyone's head like this one, Columbus is able to do a great job at bringing the book to life on the big screen.

 

 

>Read Jon's Film Review!

>Read Craig's Film Review!

 

The Video

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone  is presented in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie seemed a little grainy at times, but this was probably related to the use of fog effects in many scenes. Sharpness looked solid. The image appeared crisp and defined. Color was good, bright and vivid. Black levels were deep and rich, while shadow detail appeared fine with no major concerns. I was not very impressed with the picture quality on this DVD; Warner Brothers has released some fine looking DVDís, this is clearly not one of them.

 

 

The Audio

 

Harry Potter uses a great Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX mix. The sound field was involving throughout the movie. All five channels were used as it created a lively surround mix. Audio quality was fine. Dialogue consistently sounded natural, no concerns related to edginess. Effects came across distinct and accurate displaying a solid dynamic range. Bass response was deep; the DD 5.1 mix provided a very good sound experience.

 

 

The Extras

 

Features:
Never-Before-Seen Footage
Self-Guided Tour Of Hogwarts
Mix Potions, Perform Transfigurations, Explore Diagon Alley, Catch a Snitch and Much More
Theatrical Trailers
Scene Access

 

DVD-ROM Features:
Be Sorted by the Sorting Hat
Collect Wizard Trading Cards
Download Screensaver and Remembrall
Receive Owl E-mails
Link To The Web

 

Overall

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone isnít a classic film, but I felt it provided a fun experience. This film helps prepare us for the next film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in which we learn more about Harry's past, and the beginnings of the evil Lord Voldemort.

 

The DVD offers good picture and a great DD 5.1 EX sound mix. Should you rent it or buy it? Personally, the movie did little for me. It offered a couple of decent sequences but not enough to keep me focused. Fans of Harry Potter will love it, and those who haven't seen the movie should give it a look as well; I think it's one of those films everyone should see and decide for themselves.

 

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