Plot Summary: Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling, it centres around Harry Potter, who lives with his abusing uncle and aunt. Needless to say, when he learns that he’s a wizard and receives an invitation to Hogwarts – School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, he’s more than a little happy to go. But danger is waiting for him there – Voldemort, the evil wizard who tried to kill Harry years ago, is lurking just around the corner…
You can’t go wrong in terms of plot when you make a movie based on the Harry Potter books. This story has enough mystery to keep the viewer glued to the screen, and the revelation is a shock. Because who would’ve thought…
I’m glad to see the characters so nicely brought to life. Dumbledore isn’t as eccentric as I would like him to have been, but other characters are spot-on, especially Professor Snape and Hagrid. A shame there wasn’t much character development.
It’s a good thing they used dialogue from the book, because some lines are wickedly hilarious. Like this exchange between Hermione and Ron:
Hermione: We could have been killed, or worse, expelled!
Ron: [to Harry] I think she needs to get her priorities right.
Acting: All the actors did a fine job, but the child actors were brilliant, especially Emma Watson as Hermione.
Cinematography and Editing: Neat. I wonder how they captured the Quidditch match at such perfect angles.
As original as Rowling’s world was. It’s amazing to see the pictures moving in their frames, and the Quidditch match depicted exactly as in the book, albeit with more action. One thing I loved about the book was how it satirize the modern world, with a magic school depicted like a boarding school (complete with book list), broom-sticks of different brands and models, and the comments made by the commentator at the Quidditch match. Sadly, this was sorely lacking in the film, and I missed Rowling’s subtle touches of humour.
Visual Effects and Action Choreography:
By 2001′s standards, the effects were good. The Quidditch match still leaves me wondering over and over again, how did they do it? Other scenes that stand out include the fight with the troll, the encounter with the three-headed dog, and the giant chess game.
Score, Music and Sound Effects: Who can forget the Harry Potter theme song? Alternating between magical and ominous, it’s one of the most striking made-for-movie music I’ve ever heard.
Faithfulness to Source Material:
This movie is probably one of the most faithful adaptation. Seriously, if you lay the book and movie side by side, and analyse scene by scene, I think the similarities would hit 95%.
Effort: As far as I’m concerned, the effort shows.
This is the problem. While I fell in love with the magical wizard world depicted in the movie, I wasn’t as taken with the characters. Sure, they’re interesting, but there was something missing, and that made it hard for me to truly care about the characters. But one scene that stood out for me was the scene where Dumbledore discovers Harry looking into the magical mirror and says to him, “It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live.” Inception anyone?
Entertainment Value: This movie, along with Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring reopened audience’s eyes to what a fantasy film could be. Enough said.
Conclusion: Watch it, be amazed by the setting and effects, but try not to dwell too much on character.
Rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Rating on IMDb: 7.2
Viewing history: How many times have I seen this? All on TV.