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Overall Rating
3.57

Awesome32.45%
Worth A Look: 27.55%
Average: 17.36%
Pretty Bad: 10.19%
Total Crap: 12.45%

9 reviews, 211 user ratings


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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
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by Scott Weinberg

"Visually impressive and rather entertaining, but lacks that 'classic' spark"
4 stars

Any critic attempting to review this film will be judged by how much they enjoyed the books. I consider myself qualified, as I both read AND enjoyed the initial Harry Potter novel, and I'm also a big fan of 'gee-whiz' moviemaking. After seeing the movie, I almost wish I hadn't read the novel first. In an effort to please the Potter-philes, the filmmakers end up offering very few surprises.

For those who have been living inside a conch shell for the past 5 years, here's the lowdown:

11-year old Harry Potter has been living with his unpleasant aunt and uncle for as long as he can remember. Treated as a servant and forced to live under a dusty staircase, Harry muddles through his miserable youth until one day when he starts receiving some curious mail. After a sudden visit by the massive Hagrid, Harry learns the truth: His late parents were wizards and Harry is too! Hagrid has come to escort Harry to Hogwart's School of Magic and Wizardry.

Thus begins an adventure that any kid will adore; Harry makes some sweet friends, earns a few devious adversaries, gets himself into several creative, flashy scrapes and learns a lot about himself and his beloved parents. And let's not forget the Hardy Boys-style mystery story, as Harry and his two best friends set off in search of the mysterious Sorcerer's Stone.

All in all, this movie has a lot to cover in its 152-minute running time, and hardcore fans probably won't be disappointed. The cast is uniformly impressive, with Robbie Coltrane (as Hagrid) and Maggie Smith (as Professor McGonagall) doing some particularly solid work. The trio of youths (Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, Rupert Grint as Ron and Emma Watson as Hermoine) is fantastic, avoiding the 'cutesy' style of child acting so prevalent these days. Most entertaining of all is Alan Rickman as the intimidating Professor Snape. The all-British cast also includes great performers like Richard Harris, Julie Walters, John Cleese, John Hurt and Willow himself - Warwick Davis.

The large portion of the movie is devoted to introducing the settings and characters. (This is only the first chapter of seven Potter adventures, after all.) From the gigantic dining hall to the forbidden Third Floor, every set from the book is present, accounted for and realized in a visually splendid style. All of the characters are included as well, with very few exceptions.

When the inevitable movie adaptation was announced, I was praying that the director would be one of three guys: Steven Spielberg, Terry Gilliam or Tim Burton. My wishes were not only ignored, but completely reversed when Chris Columbus signed on. I'm not saying that the guy who brought us Stepmom, Bicentennial Man and Nine Months is a cookie-cutter studio hack of a filmmaker, but...ok, that's exactly what I'm saying. A director with more vision would have done a lot more than simply filming the book scene-for-scene.

The screenplay by Steve Kloves (Wonder Boys) is serviceable enough, and I'm sure Steve had a solid giggle when he cashed his paycheck. (Nearly all of the dialogue in the film comes directly from the novel.) In high school, copying novels word-for-word will get you detention. In Hollywood, it gets you a three-picture deal.

Perhaps my expectations were a bit too high, but I doubt it. I really enjoyed the first Harry Potter novel, but I'd hardly consider it one of the finest (or most original) stories ever told. Given the global adoration for Harry Potter and his adventures, I suppose "filming the book" was the smartest way for the filmmakers to go. But while Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone may prove to be an entertaining enough night at the movies, the movie is too literal of an adpatation to become a "classic" in its own right.

Much like The Phantom Menace and X-Men, Harry Potter's first adventure seems more like a "sequel prologue" and less like its own story. This movie offers a visual feast and a strong cast, but lacks that magic spark so evident in classic adaptations like The Wizard of Oz and Superman. It's certainly not a BAD movie, but Columbus seemed to know it was a sure thing, and took the safe way out.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3892&reviewer=128
originally posted: 11/20/01 14:36:20
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User Comments

6/10/12 Gob Hollow, shallow, boring, tedious, 3rd-rate 1 stars
3/12/10 cr a good movie and great characters, wonderful effects and story. 4 stars
1/28/10 Dane Youssef One of the better family films to come out that year. Something good for the kiddies. 3 stars
1/13/10 Quirinius Snobb Fairly faithful adaptation, which works. 4 stars
7/26/09 David Good adaption 4 stars
7/14/09 cody interesting movie with a good story and good effects, but slowed, the last 20 mins saved it 2 stars
1/27/09 Shaun Wallner Awesome Film. 5 stars
6/09/08 Akarsh Budhraja Fantastic movie 5 stars
5/18/08 PAUL SHORTT A BLAND MISH-MASH OF FAIRYTALE, MYTH AND FANTASY 1 stars
4/04/08 bloody mustache such a hollow, hollow film 1 stars
3/30/08 Pamela White can't count the errs with the book but cute story 4 stars
1/30/08 Laladina REALLY GOOD!!!!!q 5 stars
11/20/07 marcela samora it was fucking retarted... 1 stars
8/18/07 CHRISTOPHER BANU Loved this movie to bits, cant wait for the next installments of the series 5 stars
7/27/07 Bitchflaps Entertaining, although too much like a job well done rather than a real film, 3 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger prisoner of azkaban movie has to be the best. out of the franchise. this one sucked majorly 1 stars
5/05/07 aL wA7sH The book was so much better... the movie sucked 2 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK If you are a retard, I strongly suggest this movie. If not, stay away. 1 stars
3/21/07 dude good movie 4 stars
2/14/07 Kalman its my favourite movie ever 5 stars
11/19/06 Ionicera Well, Oliver Wood was cute, anyway 3 stars
10/17/06 Mini HP is now my life XD 5 stars
9/02/06 Stanley Thai A great family film. 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist The Harry Potter phenomena is an overrated, semi-kid friendly,popcorn flick. 3 stars
8/05/06 David Cohen Captures the spirit of the book as well as any movie could 5 stars
6/11/06 Dave Webber Great sense of dry humour - like a classic British novel 4 stars
4/22/06 Jack This movie is just magic 5 stars
1/26/06 Sean Hartlieb This film has good magic, just really dull setting. 3 stars
12/28/05 tony Amazing! One of the greatest fantasy movies in the world! 5 stars
12/01/05 a a 1 stars
11/27/05 mew Liked the others but the 1st film was so empty, hollow and souless I almost died of boredom 1 stars
11/27/05 Daveman Decent film, but the least impressive in the series so far, plot sags in the first half. 3 stars
11/24/05 chris very good 5 stars
11/23/05 Quigley I have nothing against colombus or the CG, but harry sounded - shall we say - not human 3 stars
11/16/05 Adrian Looking past the child acting, this is without a doubt a gem. 5 stars
10/27/05 dobo fuks potter shite 0/5 1 stars
10/19/05 Valerie really cool! just awesome! 5 stars
9/16/05 Jonathon Holmes as juvenile as "The Phantom Menace", but neater eye candy & some good supporting work 3 stars
8/12/05 Littlepurch Think the film's gd. For ES, Americans don't know what a Philiosopher is, so title changed. 4 stars
8/11/05 ES philosopher's stone the original title, the US got sorcerer's stone, I wonder why? 4 stars
7/29/05 Allison it was good 5 stars
6/18/05 ravindra gaur students 4 stars
5/27/05 tony great plot but toooooo long. but still very good 5 stars
4/22/05 Pippin007 This movie is GAY!! Who would give it 5? 1 stars
4/13/05 scott einig harry must have been castrated, along with Ron, who is a freakishly nerdy weiner 3 stars
3/25/05 Valerie Awesome! 5 stars
3/18/05 Nic T there is no magic at all, no impressive acting, and horrible special effects! good luck HP! 2 stars
2/16/05 thomas hopkins it was realy good 5 stars
1/31/05 Bonnie James Excellent 5 stars
12/19/04 roy TOTAL SHIT 1 stars
10/26/04 lotrEEproper owns lol harry potter lmao u little 12 y olds,u suck,lotr rules over this shi& 1 stars
8/06/04 Anthony G that girl in the movie is fucking hott as fuck even though she is 12 3 stars
7/03/04 American Slasher Goddess Too cutesy for it's own good, but passable. 3 stars
6/13/04 Daveman Not as suspenseful or as technically accomplished as the other two but still very good. 4 stars
6/03/04 Angel Quite good adaptation. 4 stars
6/02/04 T-2 Hellava lot better fantasy movie than Lord Of The Rings... 4 stars
5/13/04 Danielo Asdino Oh,no!The movie is bad!Not that good like book! 2 stars
5/11/04 Tim The movie was prettty good, and i would have to agree that Emma Watson, is quite a hottie! 5 stars
5/07/04 Michael EMMA WATSON IS SO DAMN HOT!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/25/04 Carla condensation sucks, i would rather watch 5 hours of the whole thing 3 stars
2/27/04 ian good 5 stars
2/02/04 Rocko horse shit 1 stars
11/19/03 Johnny's Been Rotten Awesome movie. It made Diagon Alley and Hogwarts totally come alive! Rickmas as Snape :-) 5 stars
11/03/03 American Slasher Goddess Fluffy, a little overlong for a kid's movie, but not bad. 3 stars
10/19/03 Littlepurch Too much cut from book. Good acting tho and a gr8 cast, but Harry really annoyed me!!! 4 stars
10/18/03 Mariel Cappetta IT WAS TOTALLY RETARTED!!!!!!!!!!!1 1 stars
8/21/03 I Love Daniel Radcliffe The movie was awsome and so was the charictor selection 5 stars
8/14/03 Panda could hav stuck more to plot---otherwise...great!!!!!! 5 stars
7/31/03 Patrick Conner Kelley A superb work of art, however, it did not quite meet all fans' expectations 5 stars
7/31/03 patrick Awesome, totally cool! 5 stars
7/22/03 Monster W. Kung Mediocre and instantly forgettable. Overhyped like hell. 2 stars
7/18/03 blabity blah blah blah Followed the book as truthfully as it could. Awesome sets. Good story. 5 stars
7/07/03 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Doesn't do justice to the books. Why J.K, you sellout, procrastinating, greedy ho? Why? 2 stars
6/24/03 Harry's magic 'wand' You know where i'd like to shove his broom stick........ 1 stars
6/04/03 HP lover The movie totally rocked!!!!!!!! Daniel Radcliffe , Rupert grint and Tom Felton are great! 5 stars
5/24/03 Bloody Vixen The movie is a vile interpertation of the book, enough said. More eye candy than substance. 2 stars
5/22/03 I HATE EMMA WARTSON sHE sucks!! she ruined the movie with her overacting 1 stars
5/19/03 ALLY IT ROCKS 5 stars
5/18/03 TLsmooth Good adaptation of a fantastic book. 4 stars
4/28/03 ScRoOgED Nothing special. Don't believe the hype, it's a sequel. 2 stars
4/26/03 Shadaan Felfeli i enjoyed this one better than the sequel. Again too many characters and jibberish places ! 4 stars
4/23/03 Heather Purplethorne Kinda lame compared to sequel about the chamber pot of secrets. 3 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik A Classic, and Just Short of Better. 5 stars
4/05/03 Bloody Vixen The only worth while thing about the movie is the Draco. 2 stars
4/02/03 Mr. Do OK, we have here the most f*cking overblown hype in human history. Stick this film up your 1 stars
3/29/03 Liz I LOVE the HP series, but I hate the movies. Emma Watson should die. 2 stars
3/27/03 Ionicera glossy but lifeless adaptation 2 stars
3/27/03 Taylor A decent fantasy film for all ages. I really can't say much beyond that 3 stars
3/17/03 G-man a very bad influence on kids 1 stars
2/10/03 FcPoliFan Too bad... 3 stars
2/06/03 MovieFan It was a great movie. Quit trying to compare it to LOTH. They are far too different. 5 stars
1/31/03 ? HARRY POTTER SUCKS ASS 1 stars
1/24/03 Andy Bronson anyone who has anything good to say about this movie should fuck off and watch a good film 1 stars
12/28/02 Harrys Turds Anybody who enjoys this movie is braindead. GET A LIFE MORONS! 1 stars
12/28/02 Rayna Kuzio I didn't think I would like the movie until I sat down and watched it! Awesome! 5 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Columbus is a hack. Kloves saves the film. Watson is the best actor of the 3. 3 stars
11/15/02 Jenny Tullwartz Where do the girls poo after their crapper is destroyed? 4 stars
11/14/02 Rabid Lord of The Rings Fan The book was great, but the magic was left out from the movie. 1 stars
10/21/02 sarah good book, bad movie; lord of the rings is the best translation, hydrian! 1 stars
10/15/02 Joana It's a good a movie but the book is tons better! 5 stars
10/09/02 Chance never read the book until I saw the movie. loved the movie. 5 stars
10/07/02 Sheridan Flat and lifeless and above all brainless. For dumbed-down fools or under-10's 1 stars
10/06/02 TheOthersFan Tries too hard to preserve the insignificant details, and leaves major plot holes. 3 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock Pity about Harry's inability to act 2 stars
9/27/02 John McNew Didn't care about the sensless story or the dull lead character 3 stars
9/11/02 Zefram Mann Great movie. Excellent Williams score and tons of charm. 5 stars
9/04/02 Hydrian One of the best book to movie translations ever. 5 stars
9/03/02 AshFan The kids in it, who have barely any experience, are wonderful. For all ages!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/30/02 Jesse Probably not appreciated much by burned out morons but great for everyone else 5 stars
8/06/02 sarahfar88 give #4 to Jackson, i hope that Spanish guy can make #3 good like the book, i wont see #2 1 stars
7/27/02 barely legal Are you intelligent? Then watch LOTR instead 1 stars
7/21/02 sdjfsdkjf should have had more snape and where the fuck was peeves? Still good though. 5 stars
7/08/02 henry ginsberg i LOVE harry 5 stars
6/23/02 7of9 Warning to over 15's: prepared to be bored. Kids? Enjoy... 2 stars
6/13/02 swetething3000 great - mvie #4 is gonna be rated R and by #5 snape will be inluv and well hav sex scenes 5 stars
6/12/02 sarahfar88 Give the rights to Jackson. He can make the other, more violent books into great movies. 2 stars
6/11/02 hum i would have loved this as a kid but i dont see the apeal for adults 3 stars
6/07/02 Joe Levy Brilliant 5 stars
6/05/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi get the $10 u spent on the ticket and buy the book ull get more enjoyment! 2 stars
6/03/02 Keith probably okay for people under age 13, but otherwise, YAWN. 3 stars
6/02/02 QT Pie Awsome 5 stars
6/02/02 Chris I loved everything about this film. One of the greatest movies ever made. 5 stars
6/02/02 Justin Great! 5 stars
5/31/02 Matt Is it just me or does Snape look like Trent Reznor? 4 stars
5/25/02 Danielle Ophelia Hopefully I missed the bandwagon. Silly fucks. 4 stars
5/16/02 Candace Troy Powers I hoped it'd deal with issue of where girls would poop after their bathroom was trashed! 3 stars
5/16/02 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne Ponderously slow getting started, but second half is good. 4 stars
4/21/02 Film Guy Surprisingly well done movie. Anyone who makes fun of me for liking this I'll kick your ass 5 stars
4/19/02 CHONG PUI SIM Very best 5 stars
4/03/02 Cecilia A generally good movie; I really liked it, but Daniel Radcliffe badly needs acting classes. 4 stars
3/28/02 Lindsay Cormier Totally awesome too bad for u fuckers who have no taste 5 stars
3/22/02 hongkongkian totalli disappointing...left me wondering why the heck the books were so popular 1 stars
3/16/02 kalman and chris banu it was grate 5 stars
3/06/02 Turtle Great movie, but they hacked too much off of the beginning. 5 stars
2/28/02 Chowie im pretty pissed i read the books first-t'was pretty boring 4 me........................... 2 stars
2/28/02 boggle the biggest pile of shite ive seen in a long while! 1 stars
2/26/02 Hewrd Frost Awesome! What did'ya expect? It's the biggest movie of 2001! 5 stars
2/17/02 Ashley Thompson definitly a reasonable adaptation 5 stars
2/17/02 Devil Boy B This "film" had no Magic. Danny DeVito should have direct 2 stars
2/08/02 sarahfar88 Get a new cast and Peter Jackson. Only he should be aloud to make movies from books. 4 stars
2/07/02 nizam aziz excellent magician movie! 5 stars
1/23/02 Some Guy This was horrible. The kid can not act. Give me a good actor and I may watch it again..... 1 stars
1/15/02 liz what the hell were you thinking? it was complete and utter CRAP! the acting sux! 1 stars
1/12/02 Audra I loved it!! No wonder it broke five records when it came out. Fantastic movie! 5 stars
1/06/02 gregory mcmillan i think that the movie was the best movie i ever saw. 5 stars
1/02/02 Joe Zappa Better than I originally thought it was gonna be. 4 stars
1/02/02 Britney Spears Dumbledore was SO hot!! 5 stars
1/01/02 Ryan this is bull! id rather watch barney!!!! i hate daniel readcliffe! he is such an idiot.. 1 stars
1/01/02 Henry Ginsberg what is all the fuss about? the storyline was teedeous, and the acting was generaly poor. 3 stars
12/31/01 RoboGuy I loved it and found it very true to the book. The second viewing was even better. 5 stars
12/27/01 Flick Chick not quite a classic, but entertaining for both young and old alike. 4 stars
12/21/01 Tinka Disapppointing by-the-number adaptation that even manages to lose some of the magic. Pardon 3 stars
12/20/01 Goldhammer Technically well-done adaptation that neatly captures the book's pointless amoral vaccuum. 3 stars
12/16/01 spaceworm Somewhere between 1964 Mary Poppins and 1967 Doctor Dolittle. 4 stars
12/15/01 Jack Hunter an 80 year old, I've read the first 2, andloved the movie. 5 stars
12/14/01 white tiger Nice, if you haven't read the book. 4 stars
12/11/01 viking could have been worse 4 stars
12/11/01 puckfreak Just OK 4 stars
12/08/01 Waylon Roundtree I was blown away, and ended up liking this movie a hell of a lot more than I expected! 5 stars
12/08/01 Axe Murderer hype=bad 3 stars
12/08/01 Faraz Jalal Not to exciting a thing, compared to the book. Disappointed 2 stars
12/06/01 Jake A classic! Great performances all around. 5 stars
12/05/01 Jimbo Kids only movie 4 stars
12/05/01 Bid-wad excellent, and the films not bad either 5 stars
12/04/01 Andrew Carden Radcliffe Gives A Weak Performance, but Grant is Great. 3 stars
12/04/01 Saw_it_yesterday Friggin Awesome 5 stars
12/03/01 Jimmy James rather cheesy, but very watchable (at least, the first time through) 4 stars
12/03/01 Matan Dahan WOW 5 stars
12/02/01 travis r. sorensen effects below star wars standards, too long yet rushed, and quidditch kinda sucked. 3 stars
12/02/01 jawsboy24 Fun, but it had a shitty beginning and only average effects. Some bad editing also. 3 stars
12/02/01 Matthew Bartley Never read the book but loved this. 5 stars
12/01/01 discerning viewer fun but mediocre, dullish 3 stars
11/30/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) I originally didn't want to see this, but when I did,I didn't think it was very bad at all. 4 stars
11/29/01 Amy Overblown and few laughs. 3 stars
11/29/01 Quess Paraya The book made visual - just like I wanted it. 5 stars
11/29/01 Mortis I was very surprized at how good this film is. I highly recommend it. 4 stars
11/28/01 E.P. a much-needed dose of innocence 5 stars
11/28/01 Xalt Coooooool. I'm glad they kept it close to the book. 4 stars
11/28/01 bradgray96 Great acting. Still a children's movie, but most of the great ones are. 4 stars
11/27/01 Nyartholep Decent enough, a little better than I expected. 4 stars
11/27/01 Brian Excellent Movie for all ages. 5 stars
11/27/01 The Flaming Chancehead A great film experience for all ages! Fun, magical, and a pleasure all around! 5 stars
11/27/01 bobber Just not worth full price. 3 stars
11/25/01 GP Good movie!! Needs a little more UMPH, and excitement, not just suspense on what is coming. 4 stars
11/25/01 hilary aesome 5 stars
11/24/01 miyax left a funny commercial-cheese taste behind... 4 stars
11/24/01 Freyja Has flaws, but who cares, it made me feel like a kid again 5 stars
11/24/01 Mom & Harry Fan Take it for what it iz - a dazzling film 5 stars
11/23/01 Blaise fantastic translation of an excellent book. someone teach hermioine to act 4 stars
11/21/01 Katie Loved the books..expected too much fromt he film..but it was still really good 5 stars
11/21/01 Butterbean Excessive hype by the media annoyed me, but it was a very good movie. 5 stars
11/21/01 tom F. Can an adaptation be TOO faithful to the book? YES, but still very good. 4 stars
11/20/01 jim donal hype and no substance 1 stars
11/20/01 Heather One of this year's best, truly amazing movie 5 stars
11/20/01 Michelle Candocia I wish it were longer,to capture more of the book, but still a fantastic ride 4 stars
11/19/01 Rabbits running The movie is good! I'd have love to see it as a mini series myself but that's just me. 4 stars
11/19/01 Boy In The Designer Bubble Read all 4 books, the movie was good, but the hype nearly kept me away!! 4 stars
11/19/01 Meryl Kopy Loved it ~ not as much as the books, of which I'm a great fan, but I loved it all the same. 5 stars
11/19/01 Martinelli's I never read 'em, but these are wonderful, charming movies. Emma Watson is adorable too. A+ 5 stars
11/19/01 E disappointing 3 stars
11/18/01 grunter Cliff Notes "Potter" or "The Worst Witch:The Motion Picture" - flat, lifeless, inert 2 stars
11/18/01 brent i highly recommend the film (and erik, harry potter kicks willy wonka's ass). 4 stars
11/18/01 Maypo Retlaw It was very good. I think it captured the magic of the story quite well. 5 stars
11/18/01 Unanon They did as best they could, but nothing beats the book! 4 stars
11/17/01 Reverend Krule Form was way over function on this one 2 stars
11/17/01 Morrison Hodges great 5 stars
11/17/01 Max Feingold Really bad. Total mess. No plot or character development. Coltrane is good. 2 stars
11/17/01 Alex Severely disappointing 1 stars
11/17/01 Emily It was great 5 stars
11/16/01 Frankie anged storylines and changed the names of places 3 stars
11/12/01 laura jones its great,really worth a look 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  16-Nov-2001 (PG)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  31-Mar-2002 (PG)




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