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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone [2001] - £5.47

As the first Harry Potter film of the celebrated series, this is a must for ardent fans and newcomers to the global fantasy phenomenon. An adaptation of J. K. Rowling's enchanting, funny debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known as the Sorcerer's Stone in the US), it's our first big-screen encounter with the series' well-loved characters and the goings-on at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

We meet orphan Harry Potter (played by a young Daniel Radcliffe) while he's as yet unaware of his magical powers and is living a miserable existence with his horrible Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. A mysterious letter arrives, delivered by the friendly giant Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane in fine acting form), inviting Harry to study at the exclusive Hogwarts School and he soon discovers his true heritage as the son of a wizard and a witch. He's also gained widespread notoriety, being the only survivor of an attack by the evil wizard Voldemort that killed both his parents. The film explores Harry's growing realisation that there are two worlds: the non-magical world of humans, called "Muggles", in which he used to reside and the magical fantasy world of wizardry that is his destiny.

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 and his new schoolmates Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) as they club together to fight the forces of evil. --Sally Giles

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.0):

Rating: 5:
one to keep your eye on this one - there may be more : this isn't bad at all - the plot which I won't spoil for newcomers concerns the goings-on at a school for wizards, and its full of all sorts of magic and things of that nature. At the same time there is an interesting soap opera element with goodies and baddies...certainly one for the younger members of the family but nevertheless not bad at all. I wouldn't be surprised to see Harry Potter Two come along soon because there are a few loose ends tantalising us at the end of the movie, also I believe there might be a book tie-in with the movie. Yes, in short, not a classic but worth a gander. Toodle pip.

Rating: 5:
It's magic - Still the best so far! : The Philosopher's Stone is by far the better of all the films to date even though the acting improves 10 fold as the film series moves on. It sticks to the story of orphan Harry finding out that he's actually a wizard and that he won't have to stay with his Auntie, Uncle and Cousin, who treat him more like a dog than a member of the family, for much longer. He's going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and will only have to put up with them for the Summer Holidays. They adapted this film from the book very well and they even have Hermione's hair as described in the book!!

I can't recommend this film enough for any Potter fan and all the family.

Rating: 4:
A Very Good Start : Harry Potter is a phemomanal book, and we all expect the films to be just as good.
This film is a good start to the series, however I don't like the hairstylist in this film: Pudding Basin haircut for Mr Harry Potter?
This film is better than the second one, and really sticks to the book series - younger kids love it! The next films get more complicated, for older children.

Rating: 3:
Better than the second : Overall this was a pretty good movie. It had good acting. It had an exciting adventure and was quite original. I'm still surprised though how famous the movie became. I'd quite highly recommend it. 3 out of five.

Rating: 5:
A true representation of the book : I watched this film again yesterday, as it was on the T.V. I hadn't seen it for a while, and in ways it is now strange to see it. For one thing, now that we are fast approaching the fifth film in the series, the child actors have all grown up and look very different to how they appeared in this first installment. Secondly, after the second film, the director changed and so too the films - the castle and the grounds changed and they all started to develop a sense of darkness. In the Philosopher's Stone, this darkness is far more subtle.

The film version follows the book closely. As another reviewer suggested, this book was ceratinly a child's story, whereas as the series developed, there was definitely a move towards including older viewers too (for example, the books all had adult versions published). The film maintains this feeling of slight childishness. But this should not necessarily be a bad thing. After all, the books were aimed at children primarily.
As the beginning film in the series, it does its job well. All the characters are well introduced, and life at Hogwarts is explained well. The moments of lighthearted humour help to keep children, and adults, involved.
The four main actors (I am including Draco Malfoy here as a main character) should also be applauded. They do a great job at making each of their personas into their own, while staying true to the book and what J. K. Rowling intended for each of them.
Before I watched this, I saw Rowling on Jonathon Ross's programme, doing a rare interview before the film and final book come out. She said she took a while to agree for the books to be turned into films, as she was concerned that Warner (or whoever) would then have too many rights over the rest of the series. She obviously wanted to maintain control over her creation. I think, in this film, she has been able to do that. This film is a true representation of HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. Highly recommended.

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