Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
So let me start by saying that I don’t remember the days. This flick was NOWHERE on my radar when it first came out. It’s overwhelming popularity disinterested me. Little did I know that it was popular because it was actually good. And so here goes my revisit to the first year at Hogwarts. Caution: I’m gonna use the word magic a lot!
Right from Jump Street, this movie imbibes me with a slightly overwhelming sense of magic. The look of the opening shot, matched with another superb score from John Williams, immediately fills me with the feeling of magic that I’m in store for. Then, at the mention of this Hogwarts, I feel every bit as excited as the young Mr. Potter. The idea of that school, and the alternate world it exists in, is so imaginative and the possibilities of fun and adventure seem endless. The back story that leads this Harry kid to his new life is really intriguing. I want to know more about what happened before he was born, what his short life was like before that unfortunate event, and why this strange man has it out for a baby. Whatever the source material is for flick is apparently genius.
The first two characters we see, because of the actors that play them, have such a great and believable repartee. Richard Harris and Maggie Smith start what soon becomes an acting clinic throughout the movie. Every teacher is cast brilliantly and the performances are all top notch. Ian Hart, as Quirrell, shows the excellent character actor that he is and make me wish he had more to his part. Robbie Coletrane as Hagrid is positively charming and just so darned loveable! Even the three kids work together well and bounce off each other brilliantly. But the biggest stand out performance is Severus Snape, Alan Rickman. He is, without a doubt, the Heath Ledger Joker in this film(series). He steals every scene he’s in with an intense subtlety that’s so effective that, at times, it’s actually funny how serious and bothered Snape is. Rickman is nothing short of Ridiculously Awesome!!
The visual style of this movie, I think, is the biggest contributor to the magical feeling of the flick. The color pallet is warm with a gentle mix of brightness and darkness. This pushes even more the sense of wonder and, um, magic throughout the movie. Yet if not for John Williams’ mastery of the pen and the baton, the spirit of the film would be somewhat lessened. He again composes a score that perfectly matches the subject matter and often time creates and enhances the mood of scenes.
The only downside of multiple visits to year one at Hogwarts is multiple visits to year one at Hogwarts. Once I got to Hogwarts with Harry, excitement and expectation dwindled. Before, I looked forward to all the possibilities the wizarding world could offer. Once there, and I knew what would happen, the possibilities were gone. I knew what was going happen and was just waiting for it to happen rather that being engaged and feeling like I didn’t know what would happen next. And, unfortunately, some of the effects show their age here as well. I know it’s been over a decade, but it shows.
So with a powerful feeling of magic throughout, and a running time of epic proportions, this flick kicked off one of the most lucrative film franchise of all time. Year 1 at Hogwarts looks and feels every bit as magical as it must have for Harry himself (let’s face it we all like to pretend like he’s real).
“Blasphemer!! How dare you cross universes like that!!”, say you?? Then head over to RAMARS!!! to understand the method to my madness!!