Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (DVD) (WS)
Based on the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, the live-action family adventure film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone tells the story of a boy who learns on his 11th birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses 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.
Here's an event movie that holds up to being an event. This filmed version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
, adapted from the wildly popular book by J.K. Rowling, stunningly brings to life Harry Potter's world of Hogwarts, the school for young witches and wizards. The greatest strength of the film comes from its faithfulness to the novel, and this new cinematic world is filled with all the details of Rowling's imagination, thanks to exuberant sets, elaborate costumes, clever makeup and visual effects, and a crème de la crème cast, including Maggie Smith, Richard Harris, Alan Rickman, and more. Especially fine is the interplay between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his schoolmates Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), as well as his protector, the looming Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). The second-half adventure--involving the titular sorcerer's stone--doesn't translate perfectly from page to screen, ultimately because of the film's fidelity to the novel; this is a case of making a movie for the book's fans, as opposed to a transcending film. Writer Steve Kloves and director Chris Columbus keep the spooks in check, making this a true family film, and with its resourceful hero wide-eyed and ready, one can't wait for Harry's return. Ages 8 and up. --Doug Thomas