‘Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone’ enchants

With the wave of a wand bursting with cinematic magic and a loyal depiction of the delightful words that have made J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series an international phenomenon, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a majestic fantasy-filled ride into the world of Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School of Wizardry.

Based on the first of Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter novels, Sorcerer’s Stone differs from other silver screen book adaptations in its perfect capturing of the spirit, emotions and adventure of the novel.

Directed by Home Alone auteur Chris Columbus, the movie is sure to be a fond childhood memory for the millions of kids who will fervently watch the movie based on their favorite books. It will be a special effects-enhanced memory, filled with sharp colors, fantastical castles, wicked goblins and lovable characters.

Elements of Indiana Jones, Willow, Labyrinth, and Dungeons & Dragons pervade the movie in its adventures and medieval lore. Although the movie is set in contemporary times, its medieval elements – destructive life-size wizard chess boards, fire-breathing dragons, magic spells and unicorns – give the movie its other-worldly fare.

The movie follows the life of the fictitious Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe, as he discovers the truth about what makes him different. Harry was born a wizard, but when his parents died, the powers that be in the magical realm decided to leave him at the doorstep of a Muggle family (non-magical folk).

Always the outsider because of his intelligence and special talents, much like Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Harry is forced to live in the cupboard beneath the stairs of his adoptive parents’ modest two-story British home. Like most orphaned witches and wizards in literature, Harry cannot explain why unexplainable things happen around him when he gets overly emotional.

Harry finally escapes the callous environment of his home with the help of a friendly giant, Gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), and embarks on the first steps of his destiny as a wizard by matriculating in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Nearly every scene in the movie is classic and indispensable because of its sheer power in imagery. Before Harry begins school, he treks down a narrow, cobblestone-paved Diagon Alley, a place that displays shops that sell everything from earwax-flavored candy to pet owls, rats and toads to magic wands – everything children’s fanciful imaginations could hope for from jagged 18th century-style buildings that defy the laws of physics.

Fans of the novel, take heart. The most imaginative features of the story are kept in the movie: the Sorting Hat, the ferocious three-headed dog named Fluffy, invisibility cloaks and a deliciously large banquet hall lit by floating candles.

Flying on broomsticks and wearing pointed caps has never looked more fun than in this movie as it brings to life in amazing glory the high-speed, high-flying game of Quidditch. Enchanted staircases shift and people in paintings come to life throughout the well-paced movie.

In fact, the scenery is so amazing it’s hard to pay attention to the fine performances delivered by Harry’s mates, Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), whose keen intelligence and smarts provides little girls everywhere with a respectable role model, and red-headed Ronald Weasley (Rupert Grint), whose poor man’s lineage exudes humbleness and innocence. Veteran actors Maggie Smith and John Cleese add a touch of sophistication to a movie already ripe with native British accents.

Equally admirable are the ghastly goblins of Gringotts who run the bank. These diminutive creatures have pointed noses, razor-sharp teeth, and long ears, and are so life-like that they are sure to haunt many a children for some time to come.

Comedy, suspense, and action amalgamate like an alchemist’s elixir of exuberant joy and adrenaline.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is so well produced, so genuine in emotion and imagination, so loyal to the book, and filled with spirit of romanticism and fantasy that it will make you want to cry.

Hollywood has not created a movie this enjoyable for so many people in years-college students, toddlers, and adults alike will savor every magical moment of this movie.

November 16, 2001


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.