Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
"Journey Beyond Your Imagination"
Book Release: 1997 / Movie Release: 2001
(Unlike other reviews on the site, the 'From Book to Movies' feature has to reveal spoilers to make sense.)
Introduction / Brief Movie Thoughts
I was a late-comer to the Harry Potter world. I finally broke down and saw the movies, which I enjoyed (more and more with each new one), but didn't touch the books until the recent years. I read the first book in 2014, and now am reading the rest of the series in 2016.
The book was already famous before the movie was released, although of course the two helped each other reach even further fame as they both kept gaining popularity.
Seeing the movie first, I knew a lot of what was coming in the book form, but it was still an enjoyment to read and watch. Overall I rated this movie 6/10 stars. As with the book, the first story hadn't sucked me in yet as much as it does later.
The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Original Score by John Williams, Best Costume Design, and Best Art Direction-Set Direction. It won Saturn Awards for best Costumes, Best Fantasy Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and two for Best Performance for Best Supporting Actor.
It's immediately recognizable they chose a perfect cast, or near to it. Harry Potter is so well played by a young Daniel Radcliffe, and his accompanying friends match the characters in looks, actions, family, personality and feel. That's pretty much how I pictured the tall, lumbering Hagrid to be. Dumbledore, Snape, everyone - the casting couldn't be better. They obviously paid a lot of attention to casting, something I wish more book-to-movie transference's would do.
It stayed faithfully to the book, having a wealthy source of magic and fun imagination to draw from. The first book was more childlike and fun in a cheesy way, which is something the movie captured wonderfully. People's overreactions, the Dursley's and that opening, the magic introduction to Hogwarts, all of it comes together well for fans of the books.
They didn't cheapen out with set effects either, the school, the towns, the train...all come across authentic and magic brought to film life. It does have a lower budget than some of the other films, so you can see even greater effects and settings later.
John Williams was a wonderful choice to compose the score, as his knack in larger-than-life adventure and action tales has been well established. The music brings forth a magical harmony from the opening scene. There isn't as much depth for darker scenes, but it was obviously catered more to a younger feel in the first film.
If I have a complaint, it is that the director tried to make the movie a little too cartoonish, which loses some of the complex emotions of the characters. This is mainly why it gets a 6/10 rating - still a good rating, but nothing spectacular yet. I also think the Quidditch stuff - while an important part of the story - was a little dull eventually.
A little was trimmed from the beginning of the book with his stay at the Dursley's. This didn't hurt the movie, since it came across clearly that the Dursleys were douches and that they raised Harry Potter against their favor.
Glad the Movie Kept
The movie kept most of the story and was a very faithful adaption. The stuff that was missing was minor quirks and such that didn't change the events and scenes of the actual story. It was especially fun to see the flashbacks come to life on the screen, played in hand by excellent actors and a well-selected cast.
Who is the Big Winner?
The book is the winner ultimately because you get a little more satirical humor and charm from the school and characters. The movie does a good job of showing the personalities, motivations, and feelings, but the book carries it off even better (as is normal).
Check out the full list of Harry Potter Featured Posts for Harry Potter Week
- Book Reviews: The Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows
- Book-To-Film Comparison: The Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows
- Site Features: Mailbox Monday, Cover Crush, Tune-in Tuesday, Universal Studios Trip
- Themed Posts: RIP Alan Rickman, Philosophers Versus Sorcerers, Magical Quotes