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St Mule
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
16. Dec 2001 at 13:38
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Don't read this review if you haven't seen the movie.

Even though I enjoyed "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", I found that Christopher Columbus made a few bad choices in what he would show from the book.  From watching the film, Chris definitely stressed the action scenes and left out the more character building and logic scenes of the book.

For example, the interaction between Harry, Ron, and Hermione was greatly lacking and as such, the character of Harry was very flat in its portrayal.   Whether this was aided by Daniel Ratcliffs acting ability or whether it was how he was directed does not come through.  The character of Ron was more animated and is apparent that it is part of Rupert Grint's personality.  This observation is based on the interviews that were broadcasted on the television after the release of the movie.  Now if Chris Columbus let the children's personality come through in the filming, this could explain the flat performance of Dan Ratcliff since he is very reserved in his personality as shown in the interviews.

Chris Columbus made a glaring mistake in leaving out the potions test on the last charm before entering the last chamber.  This was very apparent and the leaving feast when Dumbledore gave points for logic to Hermione.  Since this scene was not in the movie, it left those who had not read the book wondering what he was talking about.  This was brought to my attention when a friend who deliberately didn't read the book before seeing the movie made the observation.  This scene is also critical to knowing the character of Harry Potter since is showed that he knew his limitations yet was willing to try to do his best in stopping Lord Voldermort.

The character of Neville Longbottom was never developed in the movie, which really doesn't show that exceptional courage that it took to stand up to Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  So the significance of the points at the end of the movie which he ends up with doesn't really stand out as a major achievement.

If you compare Peter Book's Lord of the Flies movie to this one, you can see the difference of styles and importance given to character development.

You can do this comparison because each character of the Lord of the Flies does match up to the characters of The Sorcerer's Stone.

Jack (Draco Malfoy)
Ralph (Harry)
Piggy (Hermione/Ron)
Simon (Neville Longbottom)

Draco Malfoy is very much like Jack of the Lord of the Flies.  He is a leader through only fear and violence.  He also doesn't care about other's feelings.

Harry is an ideal Ralph as he leads through personal example and he cares about others feelings but like Ralph does at times hurt them.

Ron and Hermione form the equivalent of Piggy in The Sorcerer's Stone.  Each is ridiculed for things they can't control (being poor or Muggle born) and Hermione has the brains that Piggy had.  Also they form the close friendship that is needed for Harry.

Neville compares to Simon in that he is the quiet type that sees things for what they are and when he stands up to them, he is harmed.

Now if you compare the two movies, you can see where Brook's filmed it to develop the characters with the action on the island as a means to bring the tension forward (which the remake didn't stressing the action similar to Harry Potter).  Columbus does the exact opposite where he stresses the action and leaves the character development to a minimum.

So Harry Potter is a fun movie of action but doesn't reflect the book as well as it could.  Now, there had to be things left out in order to keep the movie a respectable length but too much character development was lost in the translation.

As a side note, the use of Proffessor McGonagall's transformation from cat to human will cause problems in a later movie since it was in the third book that this was used to set up the comments about divination studies.  Even though we know she is an Animangus, the students don't know until the third book.

Stubborn Mule
« Last Edit: 29. Jun 2008 at 04:28 by Zabladowski »  
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Sensitive Stephen
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Reply #1 - 16. Dec 2001 at 16:19
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I pretty much agree with your assessment.

I was really looking forward to this film, but I tried to keep my expectations reasonable.

If I were to give a grade to this movie, I'd call it a C-.

But, looking on the bright side, there is one really good thing about the movie:

Kids who have read the book will go to the movie and realize that the book is SO much better than the film, which is almost always the case with books adapted into movies. That's an important lesson for kids to learn: the multimedia can be fun, but reading satisfies in a way that movies and TV can never approach.
  
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Sir Jacob
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Reply #2 - 16. Dec 2001 at 17:29
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Hey, St Mule, this is a great review!

I bet there is no other reviewer anywhere who will make the correllation to Lord of the Flies like that, but you did a very thorough and understandable job of it.  You ought to do this professionally.  Smiley

Since I didn't read the book, I would have never known most of the things you mentioned here.  You're right, though; I had a lack of understanding about several things that happened, especially during that awards presentation scene.

As for Harry, I'll just say that I had a special affinity for him after seeing how he was raised as a child, and seeing him sleeping in that closet under the stairs.  From that moment on, I was cheering his every accomplishment, and perhaps giving his character a bit more credit than I would have for most characters' actions and mannerisms.  That was just something personal within me, though, and your assessment here is certainly probably more accurate.  I am now biased in my own feelings about Daniel Radcliffe's acting abilities, because now I love him.  Smiley

Love,
Sir Jacob
  
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cal-Q-L8
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Reply #3 - 16. Dec 2001 at 19:56
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Interesting critique Mule... and well thought out.  I know how much effort it takes to write one thoroughly.

You make some very valid points.  I read the book a year or two ago so I had the benefit of understanding the characters more fully and to be truthful I didn't notice any script problems at all.  Possibly because so many people have read the book and considering the length of the movie, Columbus chose to concentrate more on the action rather than the character development.

I personally thought he did a very good job in respect of those who had read the book, also bear in mind that kids get bored easily, especially boys.

I enjoyed your analogy to Lord of the Flies and agree with everything you said in that regard.

I must confess that like Sir J, I too was taken by Harry's circumstances so I didn't really need any more character development, I was already enchanted.

The reason I didn't write a review is because I know that I am biased favourably toward the film.  I think it will take me one or two more viewings to determine a more rational assessment.

For now I'm happy to give the movie an 'A' unlike UnSensitive Stephen (hehhe) who has the temerity to bestow the movie with a lowly 'C-'.
  
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St Mule
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Reply #4 - 16. Dec 2001 at 20:24
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Cal,

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie and will buy the DVD when it comes out.  I hope to go see it again with a certain  9 y/o boy that I know.  I too had read the books awhile back.  However, I did reread them before going to see the movie and then again after the movie.  Right now, I've read all four books four times.  That shows you how bored I am right now.  I reading them because I got tired of spending time on the computer.  Even though a certain boy movie database web script has been put on hold.

In many ways, I wish that they had made it a mini series instead of a block buster because I think it could have been a great series.  I know there were many things that had to be left out because of time.  I just wished there was a few things left in because it made the story flow better.  For example, in the book the trouble they get into for helping Hagrid get rid of a grown Norbert was better then the silly way they did it in the movie.  It showed their caring side and their idea of being a true friend.  As it was, you didn't see anything except Hagrid getting rid of it.  Nor did you get the idea that Neville felt betrayed by Harry and the rest.  The potion scene would not film very well so they should have changed the end of the year speach to say her Herbology knowledge was exceptional.  It would have made more sense.

As for Harry, yes his character being mistreated at the Dursley was done well but the tension over the letters fell flat because it was rushed in the movie.

Stubborn Mule
  
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Sensitive Stephen
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Reply #5 - 16. Dec 2001 at 21:31
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Yes, it IS hard to be objective when you love the source material and the characters. My C- is not really mean to indicate that the movie is only around average -- with such source material, how could it not be enchanting? What I meant is that as a FILM ADAPTATION, the director's achievement is only about what you would expect, and not more.

MY big wish for this project would have been that that author (Rowling) would have sold the film rights, but RESERVE the TV miniseries rights (probably with a provision that a TV adaption would not appear until several years after each film had been milked for full merchandizing potential).

Think, for example, of the very nice TV adaptation of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." The "special effects" were a bit cheesy, but the script allowed full character and plot development. Wouldn't it have been nice to have seen a BBC TV adaptation of each Harry Potter book, perhaps in three or four parts? They could have used the same sets as the movies!

Yeah, I know, only in my fantasy world! But, like the Mule, I'm sure I too will buy the DVD and enjoy the film for what it is.
  
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Pelle
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Reply #6 - 16. Dec 2001 at 22:45
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I would agree that the movie is only so-so based on how good the source material is.  Columbus did go out of his way to stay faithful to the original book and not "hollywood" the story, but the movie did lack both the charm and edginess of the original book.  I thought that the movie was a faithful but bland adapatation.
  
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youngboy 16
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Reply #7 - 24. Dec 2001 at 02:31
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have a look at  

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(Edited by youngboy 16 at 9:36 am on Dec. 24, 2001)
  
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Re: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Reply #8 - 03. Jan 2013 at 22:26
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Smiley I saw again this movie this evening and I liked the play of the boys actors, in particular Rupert GRINT in part of Ron WEASLEY but also Daniel RATCLIFFE in part of Harry POTTER and Tom FELTON in part of Draco MALFOY. My movie rating is 8/10.


  
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