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‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ begins holiday magic from the director of ‘Home Alone’
Harry Potter fans young and old poured out November 16th for the opening of the much anticipated movie version of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” rated PG. Being a huge Harry Potter fan and having read all four books, I was counting down the days to seeing my favorite book come alive on the big screen.
The four novels that have been written so far in Rowling’s seven part Harry Potter series have sold over 110 million copies and have been translated into over forty languages.
On Thursday, November 15th I jumped in my car and drove an hour to a sold out theater full of Harry Potter fans ready for the very first public showing of the movie. The movie was set to start one minute after midnight so it would officially be November 16th. In the first five days, the Harry Potter movie grossed over $100 million, tying another young hero, Anikin Skywalker of “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” for a top grossing movie within the first five days.
The movie lasts a little over two and a half hours and manages to stay very true to the book. The eleven-year-old orphan Harry Potter leaves his muggle (non-magic folk that is) relatives, finds out he is a wizard and is enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Once arriving at school Harry meets new friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). He learns how to cast spells, fly on a broomstick and play Quidditch. This is a wizarding sport somewhat resembling a mix of basketball, polo and lacrosse, played on broomsticks of course.
Rowling, of Edinburgh, Scotland, teamed with director Chris Columbus (Home Alone) and screenwriter Steve Kloves (Wonder Boys) to make the movie version of the beloved book, going up against the imaginations of Harry Potter fans. They were very insistent that the entire cast of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” be British, and they couldn’t have found a better Harry than 12-year-old Daniel Radcliffe. Radcliffe captured the inquisitive, adventurous persona of the infamous young wizard that Rowling describes in her books.
In most cases books that are re-written for the big screen are better in their original form. “Sorcerer’s Stone” is no exception, especially for those with big imaginations who love to read. What takes pages to describe on paper and can focus on details can be shown in seconds on a screen and there is something magical missing from it. Rowling has a way with words, and manages to make a series of books intended for children appeal to those of all ages. Yes, the characters may be pre-teen, but the combination of a simplistic creative writing and a mischievous boy wizard captures any audience.
I don’t think fans of the books will be disappointed with the movie though. The stairs inside Hogwarts’ really moved and the scenes in the wizards marketplace, Diagon Alley, where just what I had imagined with the Ollivander’s Magic Wand shop, Gringott’s Vault and the Leaky Cauldron.
The movie blew me away with the scene in which Harry uses the invisibility cloak that was left to him by his father. The use of the cloak looked so real as Harry used it to hide himself while sneaking around the Hogwarts castle.
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is thoroughly magical during all two and a half hours. Anyone who has read any or all of the series will appreciate the effort put into staying true to the books, the attention to details and the magical cast chosen to portray the famous characters. I think some of the magic will be lost to those who haven’t read the books and don’t know much about Harry Potter and his world of wizardry. Grade: B+