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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Reviewed by Masako Kanki from Japan

Masako Kanki
Photo from Masako Kanki
From beginning to end, it was faithful to the book and has most of the remarkable episodes of the book. I could recognize the main characters on the screen easily. Almost all of the characters are like I thought they would be.

 

Director: Chris Columbus

Type: Adventure/Fantasy

Actors: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry)
           Rupert Grint (Ron)
           Emma Watson (Hermione)
           Richard Harris (Dumbledore)

Country/Date: United Kingdom/2001

The four Harry Potter books have sold more than 100 million copies and have been translated into 47 languages. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is based on the first book in a project of a seven-book series written by J.K.Rowlings.

A fact that will surprise you is the movie has been so faithful to the book; there aren't additional or exaggerated scenes. Because the director and the screenwriter worked in collaboration with the author, so she could supervise the movie. She could manage the movie to be faithful to her book.

Harry Potter is an 11-year-old orphan boy. His parents, who were wizards, were killed by a powerful dark wizard. He has been living with a bullying Muggle (non magic people) family. Although they have known he is a wizard, they didn't tell him that. One day he gets an invitation from Hogwarts (a magic school for wizards). Eventually he learns he is a child of wizard parents, and then he decides to enroll in Hogwarts. He gets away from the Muggle family and finds his own place there. Now his adventure begins.

Like many other viewers, I had read the book and went to see the movie, excited. While I was watching the movie, I compared it to the book. From beginning to end, it was faithful to the book and has most of the remarkable episodes of the book. I could recognize the main characters on the screen easily. Almost all of the characters are like I thought they would be.

The world of wizards, especially "Hogwarts "the magic school and "Diagon Alley" (a town of wizards) are a mysterious and great spectacle. The enchanted properties scattered around the magical world have been portrayed in detail. I watched "Chocolate Frogs", "Sorcerer's Stone", and the "bewitched ceiling at the Great Hall of Hogwarts"; the way that they created these things matched my expectation.

Although every scene is very faithful to the book, I don't feel the story develops naturally and smoothly. In addition, this movie fails to show us the traits of characters or underlying relationship between characters. The filmmaker might have tried to put together some outstanding episodes of the book, so that the movie lost vivid and lively character development. I think this is one of the reasons I don't feel the movie develops smoothly; besides, it may puzzle the nonreaders. If you read the book you'll know that the character development should be shown to us more vividly; that would help us understand the plots of the movie.

Despite this disappointment, I think it is a fantastic movie. Since I had read the book, it was great fun for me to compare what I read with what I watched on the screen. Finishing the book before you go to the theater is a better way to enjoy "Harry Potter". Warner Brothers is already preparing for the next movie, which will be based on the second book. I'm looking forward to the second one, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets".


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