Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone ★★★

December Challenge Film #4

Finally, after all this time, my first introduction to the world of Harry Potter of any kind. The saga of films has been a bridge I have wanted to cross for some time now, but despite this build up I had very tempered expectations for the debut film and they were met.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a fun film directed by Chris Columbus, a man with a resume that tells you exactly what to expect with his style. Behind the camera for films like Adventures of Babysitting and the first two Home Alone films, Columbus brings a certain charm and family friendly feel to his work, and this was not absent here. His style is exactly why I feel he was the perfect choice to kick off the Harry Potter story, as he is able to deliver a film that can be enjoyed by all and an inviting, warm experience.

Not even close to being a perfect film, but I never expected it would be. The one scene in particular that made me cringe was the one in which they play the game on their brooms, and the visuals of the sequence combined with the acting was shockingly poor considering the rest of the film felt more professional and legitimate. Multiple cutaways to Harry reacting to various moments of the game, making forced facial expressions to display his excitement or dismay, were strange and offputting. The film survives these moments though by maintaining it's tone and it's desire to actually tell a story and build characters at a smooth pace.

I'm very curious to see the rest of the films and experience different tones by a few different filmmakers. Good start.

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