Probably one of the most anticipated movies of this year, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer”s Stone” does not disappoint. Many diehard fans may be wary that the movie will not live up to the book (as many movies bear no resemblance to the books on which they are based). However, “Harry Potter,” with its 152-minute running time, was able to capture the magic and imagination of J.K. Rowling”s vision and not stray from from the plot of the book. Yes, there are subtle differences and minor changes, but nothing drastic.
For those who are not familiar with the book, Harry Potter is a young boy who discovers he”s a wizard on his 11th birthday. He is able to leave his dreadful aunt and uncle, with whom he has lived after his parents were killed when he was a baby, and attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
At Hogwarts, Harry is famous and loved by everybody (well almost everybody). He is finally able to discover what it feels like to belong with help from his new friends Ron (Rubert Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson) and the groundskeeper Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). Mystery and adventure follow, not to mention a whole new magical world filled with Quidditch matches (think Michigan football), three-headed dogs and invisibility cloaks.
The three young actors who took up the roles of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were brilliantly suited to their parts. The actors were chosen with Rowling”s help to match her vision. The search for the perfect Harry in particular took the longest and has been compared to finding the right Scarlett O”Hara for “Gone With the Wind.”
Daniel Radcliffe is the perfect embodiment of Harry Potter. He not only looks identical to the descriptions of Harry”s character, but he also does a great job acting, especially with his facial expressions. Personally though, Grint”s Ron may have topped Radcliffe”s performance, playing the ever-faithful sidekick to a T.
The true star of “Harry Potter” is not actually a person but rather the visual effects. They steal the show. Harry”s world is filled with magical moments that could only occur with help from a computer, but are so realistic on screen it will blow anyone away. A whole Quidditch match is shown, involving Hogwart”s students flying on broomsticks chasing a variety of balls that have minds of their own. It all looks so natural that for a minute you forget that you are not watching ESPN but rather computer graphics.
Another visual masterpiece is the dining hall, which has floating candles, a banquet of food that appears and disappears in a blink of an eye and a night sky in lieu of a ceiling. Hermione points out that the sky is not really the sky but rather a spell (a little spell we like to call technology).
Harry Potter fans will not be disappointed with this film, nor will those who have never even heard of the book (although where that person has been in the last two years would be a mystery to me). The movie is a trip to another world where magic holds the viewer spellbound.