Harry Potter: Year 1 (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) (Special Edition) (DVD)
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|Contributor||Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Richard Griffiths, Chris Columbus|
|Runtime||2 hours and 26 minutes|
- Language : English
- Product Dimensions : 1.4 x 13.5 x 17 cm; 80 Grams
- Item Model Number : R-123520-9
- Director : Chris Columbus
- Media Format : Subtitled
- Run time : 2 hours and 26 minutes
- Release date : 2 November 2016
- Actors : Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Richard Griffiths
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Studio : Roadshow
- ASIN : B07765H57B
- Country of origin : Australia
- Number of discs : 2
- Customer Reviews:
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Harry Potter is a young boy who, on his eleventh birthday, discovers that he is the orphaned boy of two powerful wizards and has unique magical powers of his own. Invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry embarks on the adventure of a lifetime. At Hogwarts, he finds the home and the family he has never had.
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And unfortunately, the movie adaptation of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" didn't quite manage to capture movie magic. While a competent enough retelling of JK Rowling's debut novel, it's still hampered by a trio of child actors who haven't figured out how to act yet, mediocre direction by Chris Columbus, and special effects that are... not very special. What keeps this movie from completely sinking is the performances of the talented secondary cast.
For his entire life, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has been abused and downtrodden by his only living family, the repulsive Dursleys. But on his eleventh birthday, he's greeted by the giant Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), who reveals Harry's true nature -- he is a wizard. Even more impressive, he was the "Boy Who Lived" -- a mere baby who somehow killed the malevolent Lord Voldemort after the evil wizard murdered both his parents. And now he's being whisked away from his miserable life with the Dursleys, to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Despite his newfound celebrity, Harry quickly adapts to his new life of owls, casting spells, invisibility cloaks, dark enchanted forests, paintings that speak, and a broomstick-based sport called Quidditch. But he begins to suspect that his surly potions teacher Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) is scheming to steal an ancient magical object called the Philosopher's Stone -- and that he might be trying to restore Voldemort to power. But as he and his friends try to get to the Philosopher's Stone first, they find that they may be out of their depth.
There is one sentence that sums up this whole movie: "It'll get better in future movies." Just about every aspect of this movie is either resolutely mediocre, or artistically reminiscent of other stories ("Young Sherlock Holmes," the Narnia books) -- and while of course fans will thrill to see their beloved books translated into visual form, the resulting movie is simply not that good. It's not dramatically bad, just rather tedious and unexceptional.
A great deal of the blame lies with Christopher Columbus, who does a pretty solid job of introducing us to Harry, the Dursleys, and the first glimpses of the magical world... but once Harry gets to Hogwarts, the plot loses steam and just plods awkwardly along until it gets to the climax. He tries to remain faithful (sometimes too faithful, as evidenced by the "troll boogies" scene), but keeps and condenses things that feel awkward and shoehorned-in (such as Hagrid's baby dragon, who has zero impact on the overall story). In other words, he seems too distracted by fidelity to the book to adapt it properly.
The castles and cathedrals used for Hogwarts are absolutely stunning, but the film also has some painfully bad CGI -- the Quidditch scenes, McGonagall turning from a cat into a woman, the troll and the centaurs are embarrassing. This movie came out in the same year as "The Fellowship of the Ring" -- there is no excuse for these effects to look this bad.
And even more unfortunately, a story about three eleven-year-olds requires child actors. None of them can act. Yes, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson would all become respected young thespians later on, but in this movie they are a blinking plank of wood, a slightly affected and goggle-eyed kid who seems slightly dazed at all times, and a prissy little girl who OH-ver-en-UN-ciates EV-ryTHING while wagging her head like an annoying maiden aunt. Tom Felton does a somewhat better job, but is sadly given little to do except sneer.
In fact, the saving grace of this movie is the acting by the supporting cast, most of whom are seasoned veterans -- the venerable Richard Harris plays a somewhat fragile but genially grandfatherly Professor Dumbledore, and is backed by the magisterial Maggie Smith and the sullenly brooding Rickman. And woven through the remainder of the film are other great actors like Robbie Coltrane as the lovable Hagrid, Warwick Davis, John Hurt and John Cleese.
While the later movies would improve dramatically, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" is a movie buoyed up by attachment to the books and little else -- it's mildly amusing, but the cringeworthy child actors and plodding pace may make it a chore for anyone who isn't a die-hard fan.