Luke McCarthy-Reed’s review published on Letterboxd:
With Fantastic Beasts coming out very soon later in the year and upon noticing all the Harry Potter films had been put onto Now TV, I thought now would be a good time to revisit Harry and his many adventures. It's so utterly weird going back to the Philosopher's Stone just simply for the fact that Daniel Radcliffe and all are just so young looking at them now. Just really weird and shows how far back 2001 really is (and how old it makes me feel, especially).
The first film out of the series actually holds up pretty well after all these years which makes for a pleasant surprise. There are of course many, many characters and places for the film series to establish in this opening entry and the nice thing about what Chris Columbus did with this opening film is manage to make it faithful to the book in terms of introducing the characters and making sure that the audience who may not have read the books have a good understanding of this world of magic. There's really a lot to go into these films, especially with the books getting bigger and bigger per entry, and the Philosopher's Stone starts the series on a steady point.
I think the biggest complaint I'd have about this though is that some of the child actors, Daniel Radcliffe in particular, are just so green in their careers that it can make it a bit annoying at times. Don't get me wrong, the likes of Emma Watson have the arrogance of Hermoine down to a tee and I do like how Tom Felton already finds the terribleness of Draco Malfoy without a second thought but Radclifee is just not very good in this. I feel really bad saying that given he was so young at the time but there's plenty of good child actors in this and he's just not very good as the main star at all. On the plus side, he definitely improves as the series goes on at least.
What I do particularly love is the supporting cast which is full of incredible actors and actresses. It doesn't take many lines before you realise how Alan Rickman in particular is the perfect cast as Professor Snape - it is just immaculate casting and everything about that character is just brilliant from the get go in the Philosopher's Stone. It makes me miss Alan immensely and I'm sure I'll miss him more as the films go on but it does make me a bit sad. That shouldn't detract from the casting though in any way as it's just seriously on the money whether it be Julie Walters as Mrs Weasley or the brilliant Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid. Just two examples of many, many great roles in this does excellently.
If you give it a bit of credit for the CGI aging quite badly and the child actors being a bit green in some roles then there's really plenty to enjoy still in the Philosopher's Stone. It is after all a kids film really and whilst adults can absolutely enjoy it, it does start the series on a very whimsical and easy to enjoy introduction to the world of Potter and co. Whilst the films definitely get darker it's very nice and very reassuring to go back to this and have a faithful retelling of the book that still holds plenty of magic within.