I have to admit that I haven’t read any of the amazingly popular novel’s from which this movie came. However, after viewing this film, I am certainly tempted to do so. While this film is certainly designed for the preadolescent market, it has those necessary hooks to keep even the most hardened realist of an adult interested.
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is a young wizard, who after his parents were killed, was left with his mean and un-magical, aunt, uncle and bratty cousin who force him to live under the stairs. However, on his 11th birthday he is accepted into the Hogwart’s School for young witches and wizards and enters a world of magic and mystery. While at school, he and his classmates Ronald Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) set out on a quest to find the Sorcerer’s Stone (which will bring immortality to those who possess it) and to prevent an evil wizard from acquiring it.
Outside of the main cast of children (who are excellent); this film is chocked full with an astounding cast of British actors. Robbie Coltrane (Henry V, GoldenEye) is perfect as the lumbering and loveable giant, Rubeus Hagrid. Alan Rickman (Bob Roberts, Dogma) once again proves that he can do sinister better than any living actor. English heavyweights Richard Harris (The Guns of Navarone, Unforgiven) and Maggie Smith (Tea with Mussolini, Gosford Park) give good performances. The short appearances by John Cleese (Life of Brian, A Fish Called Wanda) and John Hurt (I Claudius) round out this superb cast.
The cinematography is fun and inventive with a superb use of computer special effects. The setting is a combination of gothic horror and Dickensian melodrama, which works to good effect. The story combines fairy tales of every shape and kind. From Cinderella to Greek and Roman mythologies, this movie weaves a storyline that is fun to follow. The appearance of Cerberus, the three-headed dog, now renamed as Fluffy is especially amusing.
Now, despite all of these good things, the fact of the matter is that this is a fluff adventure. The characters are fairly cookie-cutter with very little time given to character development. The storyline is convoluted by its attempt to juggle too many plot lines. However, it is fun to watch and I’m glad I checked it out. I may have to borrow a child so I can go watch the next one in the theatres.