Worth A Look: 25.98%
Pretty Bad: 10.32%
Total Crap: 15.66%
9 reviews, 227 user ratings
|Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
by Dust For Eyes
A Harry Potter movie, eh? Never heard that was happening.Reading the first Potter book I was overwhelmed over how underwhelmed I was about it. Itís not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination certainly, but I was definitely not going: Oh my God a hundred sqintillion people (or how ever many the hell it is) need to read this book! Itís a very good, fun childrenís story. Nothing more nothing less.
"Shit Magic Happens"
It does however have one great feature in that it teaches kids that adults are lame and black magic is fun. Now that is awesome. That is a reason for hundred sqintillion kids to read the books.
The huge problem with Harry Potter is that adults like to read them. A sure sign that something is seriously wrong.
Hey kids, if your parents like it, stay well away. Youíve got to be into something that completely mystifies them in how you could like it. You donít want your parents running through the aisles dragging your arm to the merchandise section at Rip-Offs-R-Us.
And kids, If you insist on degrading yourself into actually reading a book rather than spending 20 hours a day on PS2 then go for Lemony Snicket. His dark, depressing adventures of the Baudelaire children will leave your parents stupefied as to why you would like them. Thatís precisely the reaction you want.
Snicket is far superior to Potter. Potter has his tired old cheery characters and happy endings -
Snicket would put Potter in the cupboard and leave him there.
Until he DIES.
See kids? Parents wouldnít want you to read that. So thatís exactly what you should be reading.
So with the underwhelming nature of the Potter books and the lack of praise for the Snicket books, I go into this movie with bewilderment and resentment - as you always should for a movie.
Despite the kids in the audience being rather excitable waiting for the film to start, you didnít hear a word from them during the film. Not a peep - they were enthralled for the entire film
As is the case for Apocalypse Now Redux, the time flies by in the film despite the excessive length. While Potter is not up there with Apocalypse it is nevertheless a testament to Potter that it effortlessly keeps the audience (especially the kids) interested.
Potter doesnít have any napalm though -
Hey! Wouldnít it be cool to have an ANR-style squadron of wizards on brooms flying in to the sounds of Wagnerís Ride of the Valkeries. With Harry - driven to the edge of insanity over the conflict with Slytherin House - sent on a mission deep into the heart of darkness of the Forbidden Forest to kill You-Know-Who. Oh look. Thereís Playboy bunny Hermione! Woooooo. I love the smell of napalmed wizards in the morning! B-B-B bar barm, B-B-B bar barm, B-B-B BAR barm . . .
While the film did keep us interested, it probably could have done with a little bit of trimming. I mean really, at 152 minutes, that is damn long. A few sequences that didnít really propel the story (or future stories) could probably have been left out.
Emma Watson acts the pants off the other kids. Which is telling since as these kids grow up into their teenage years they probably will be interested in things that involve getting each otherís pants off . . . Oh my God did I just say that?
Of the adults, Rickman scene steals as usual and Coltrane is, as always, excellent. Iím a fan of the old school English actors, and they all do a terrific job in their over the top roles. Harris gives a suitably solemn interpretation of Dumbledore.
The true horror (the horror . . . the horror . . . ha!) surrounding the film comes from some of the decisions being considered for the film adaptation such as getting Steven Spielberg to direct, changing the setting to LA, and have Haley Osment as Harry - damn they would have ruined it.
With all the pre-twentieth century styling, odd names and exaggerated characters the film feels very much like a Charles Dickens novel. Itís all very old-fashioned Englishness. Thankfully preserved from the book.
Ultimately this is a companion piece to the book. Unusually - for me - reading the book first is recommended. Or at least take a child who will help fill you in on things (As some things arenít clear - such as Snapeís history with Potter). It will also build up a wonderful sense of anticipation.
Will the phenomenon last seven films? Itís a big ask.
There have been long term franchises that are successful like Star Wars (even though it had a big hiatus period) Star Trek (it injected a brand new cast for their seventh film), James Bond (five Bonds and counting), but none are as ambitious as Potter.
Working against it is that childrenís fads donít last that long. Potter will have to rise above the level of fad, and become a literary and cinema landmark. Itís a daunting, near impossible, prospect.If nothing this film tells you how to pronounce Hermione. Yet there is more than that. Itís full of life and charm, fresh, fun and magic. This film will satisfy the legion of fans who love the books as much as Colonel Kurtz was loved by his followers.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3892&reviewer=166
originally posted: 12/03/01 14:11:50
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