The way I see it, you have two options. You can
click “read more” and find out what exactly I
have to say about this movie, or you can just
save yourself some time and go buy tickets. I
should note now that I’ve never read the books.

Premise

A young boy is one of the only people on the
planet who doesn’t
realize he’s a very powerful wizard. This
portion of the series is
about Harry’s discovery of his own capabilities,
and his first year at
Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardy.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Daniel Radcliffe is Harry Potter
Richard Harris is Professor Aldus Dumbledore
Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger
John Cleese as Nearly Headless Nick
Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagris
Ian Hart as Professor Quirrell
Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall

Directed by Chris Columbus
Adapted from the J.K. Rowling novel by Steven
Kloves
Score by John Williams

The IMDB page is here.

High Point

This is really hard to choose. If forced to
choose, I’d probably say
that the “no post on Sunday” scene was my
favourite, but only because
it was the first of many scenes that really
showed that this movie was
going to be a lot of fun, but not brainless fun.
The content is
appropriate for children, but this is not a movie
that panders to the
mental level that so many children’s movies aim
for. I realize that
this property was probably inherited from the
books, but it’s nice to
see a movie studio and director actually maintain
that level of
intelligence in the finished product. This will
be one of the rare
childrens movies that some parents will be taking
their children to
because they want to see it themselves. I worked
in a family oriented
theater for three years, and in all that time, I
only saw that happen
with “Toy Story.” I almost left the theater and
went straight to the
Chapters bookstore next to it to buy the books.
I’m not a parent, but
if I were, Harry Potter would be the kind of role
model I would
approve of and encourage. This is a great
character. He’s the
ultimate geek, who doesn’t give in to peer
pressure, and knows the
difference between right and wrong. I can’t
really go into more
detail without giving away the spoilers I don’t
like to reveal here,
but rest assured that this is a movie that is
appropriate for all but
the youngest children. There are some scenes
which might get a bit
scary for the very young. The child next to me
(who was probably
about 4 or 5 years old) got a little antsy about 2
hours into the
film, but was soon enthralled once again.

Low Point

This is harder to choose than the high point.
There simply are no bad
scenes.

The Scores

The only way I can fault the
originality of this movie is
in the fact that it was based on existing
material. I give it 5 out
of 6.

The effects were mostly good,
although there are scenes
in which the CGI scenery and live action footage
didn’t mesh very
well. (The Quidditch match comes to mind, as do
the scenes which used
CGI stunt people that didn’t quite move right.)
I give it 4 out of 6.

The story was very well developed,
particularly for a
children’s movie. This is not some quick and
unlikely premise
followed by an hour of slapstick, this is a movie
that eases you into
the premise, and slowly builds the magic from the
simple to the
complex in a way that never grates or seems
inconsistent. They did an
amazing job for a young audience without
alienating the older
audience. I have to give it 6 out of 6 for doing
so well with such a
difficult task. (I should note that the majority
of the work on this
front was done by J. K. Rowling.)

The acting was above par. The adult
actors were all
fantastic. The child actors were better than
child actors usually
are. Matthew Lewis (as Neville Longbottom) was
average, but the
others were all excellent. Robbie Coltrane was
hand-picked by
J. K. Rowling, and she chose well. Chris
Columbus has said that he’d
like to make all seven movies with the same cast
(and has already
begun production on the second movie) and I hope
he does. I give the
acting 5 out of 6.

Once again, it’s time to rate the
emotional response. I
have to say, they did a great job. I was drawn
in quickly, I laughed,
and I really cared about these characters. I
have to give it 6 out of
6, because I’m a tough stone to crack.

The production quality was excellent.
It was well
directed by Chris Columbus, well edited by
Richard Frances-Bruce, and
rounded out with a typically fantastic John
Williams musical score.
(I almost stopped at HMV, too, actually. Then I
remembered their
prices.) The sound effects and foley work were
very well done, right
down to the looping dialogue that keeps the name
of the stone in line
with the locale in which the movie is playing.
(It’s the sorcerer’s
stone in the US, and the philosopher’s stone here
in Canada and the
UK.) Aside from the comments I’ve already made
about the visual
effects, this was a very well assembled movie.
The scene blocking and
cinematography kept your eyes where they should
be, and drew them to
where they needed to be in the next few moments.
I give it 6 out of 6.

Now it’s time to rate this movie
overall. I didn’t want
to turn around and buy a ticket to another
showing immediately, so I
can’t give it 6 out of 6. On the other hand, the
minor visual effects
blips I mentioned above are the only things that
can really be
construed as flaws. This movie is just a great
film. There’s a
wonderful story, great acting, some nice
artistry, nice moral lessons,
and a few other pros that I can’t come up with at
the moment. It give
it 5 out of 6.

In total, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s
Stone
receives an impressive 37 out of 42
stars.