I have to preface this blog by saying the following: I live with a Potterite. The Harry Potter series of books and films are to my fiancee what Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Marvel are to me. Also, I have never read the books and before this past weekend, had only ever seen two Harry Potter films: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part Two’, both of which I have seen with my fiancee, but with no back story at all.
That being said, for the fourth time in the almost five years that we have been living together, I made a promise to watch a film or, in this case, a series of films, that hold a special place for my fiancee. Admittedly, the previous three films: ‘Titanic’, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’, really didn’t do anything for me at all, so going into this promise, I was more than a little worried.
Off the bat, I need to mention the thing I noticed the most, and that is that at two and half hours, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ (Sorcerer’s Stone for our American fans) clocks a little bit long, but I am assured that this is because it remained for the most part faithful to the book. That being said, I did notice that our 9-year-old and 7-year-old did not seemed to be fazed by the length and that they thoroughly enjoyed the film.
For myself personally, I am going to reserve judgment on the entire series until I have watched all eight films, but I will say that ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ did a good job of laying the foundation blocks for the greater world at large for the ‘Harry Potter’ film franchise.
Introductions to all of the major players of the series, the wizarding world and how they do their best to remove themselves from the “muggle” world dominated the first half of the film. Some of the scenes seemed a little forced at times, particularly the first meeting of the main group of friends: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
Other characters almost seem glossed over at times, but I accept that with full knowledge that these characters will get properly developed over the series and that some of these restrictions might just be tied to a plot, which is also a good idea.
Because of the length, at times I felt that the story dragged or seemed very dry, as if it was trying to capture the book too accurately, and it was at these times that I started to almost lose interest. While not a major stumbling block for myself, for someone is in my position, it could cause some issues.
In the end, the final act carried through on little threads introduced earlier and allowed the film to complete its final twist, the first present unveiling of the proverbial “big bad” for the entire series. This was done with an interesting payoff that I for one was not expecting, and I definitely appreciated that.
Up next, obviously, is ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’, year two as Hogwarts for our titular character and his friends.
As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer, and also take a look into my previous reviews here on the site. Cheers.