22 February 2014

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 2001
  • Director: Chris Columbus
  • Based on the book by J.K. Rowling
  • Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths, Harry Melling, Richard Harris, Zoe Wannamaker, John Hurt, Ian Hart, Julie Walters, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton, Devon Murray, Alfie Enoch, John Cleese, Luke Youngblood, Sean Biggerstaff, Danielle Tabor, David Bradley, Bonnie Wright, Chris Rankin,  James and Oliver Phelps, Warwick Davis
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Daniel Radcliffe  The Woman in Black, December Boys, Extras, David Copperfield
    • Emma Watson – My Week with Marilyn
    • Rupert Grint  Driving Lessons
    • Robbie Coltrane – From Hell, Henry V, Black Adder, Tutti Frutti, Absolute Beginners
    • Maggie Smith -  Hotel Marigold, A Room with a View, Gosford Park, Keeping Mum, David Copperfield, Tea with Mussolini, Richard III, Sister Act, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
    • Alan Rickman – Alice in Wonderland, Snow Cake, Sweeney Todd, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Love Actually, Michael Collins, Sense and Sensibility, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. The January Man, Die Hard, Romeo and Juliet
    • Fiona Shaw – The Butcher Boy, Jane Eyre, My Left Foot,
    • Richard Griffiths - The Merry Wives of Windsor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sleepy Hollow, Gandhi, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Comedy of Errors, Withnail and I
    • Harry Melling – Merlin (Gilli)
    • Richard Harris – Gladiator, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Camelot, The Guns of Navarone
    • Zoe Wannamaker - My Week with Marilyn, David Copperfield, Wilde, Richard III, Othello and a lot of British TV series
    • John Hurt - Merlin, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Melancholia, Brighton Rock, V for Vendetta, Manderlay, Dogville, Dead Man, Elephant Man, Alien, I Claudius, Rob Roy
    • Ian Hart – Finding Neverland, Born Romantic, Liam, Longitude, The Butcher Boy, Michael Collins,
    • Julie Walters - Billy Elliot, Educating Rita, Mamma Mia, Driving Lessons, Calendar Girls, The Young Jane Austin, Wah-Wah, Titanic Town, Prick Up Your Ears
    • John Cleese – Monty Python, A Fish Called Wanda, Fawlty Towers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Harry Potter, The Meaning of Life, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, The Taming of the Shrew, Silverado
    • David Bradley – Another Year, Nicholas Nickleby, Our Mutual Friend, Prick Up Your Ears, A Family at War
    • Warwick Davis – Merlin, Life’s Too Short
  • Why? It’s Harry Potter!
  • Seen: Five or six times plus bits and pieces shown in English class. Now: February 20, 2014
       Words like “cute” and “adorable” and “oh, they’re so little” will be strictly avoided in this review, you have my word.  Even before starting to watch it, I’ve decided to be cool and reasonable. OK. Here goes.
       It moves along very quickly and there’s no time for more than a fleeting thought about everything omitted from the book. The big question that arises is: which of these three kids is most perfect for the role? Rupert Grint as Ron when he is scared or disgusted or cocky or impressed or fed up with Hermione?  Emma Watson, who is truly as irritating as she is funny in her smug scholarly superiority and vulnerability? Daniel Radcliffe as dorky, intrepid, sad, spirited and bespectacled Harry?   They’re all brave and smart and absolutely believable normal kids.  Well, somewhat normal.  All the kids are absolutely believable and one can’t help but love them, the good kids like clutzy Neville (Matthew Lewis), Seamus (Devon Murry) whose face things tend to blow up in, the smart ass twins (James and Oliver Phelps) but even – especially? – the hateful sneering Draco (Tom Felton). And poor Dudley (Harry Melling). He’s perfectly horrible, poor kid.  No one could have played it better.
       And the teachers. Talk about crème de la crème of British thespians!  Who could be more perfect than Maggie Smith?  I would love to have had her as a teacher. I would love to be her! And Snape! Shudder and quake – Alan Rickman’s creepiness is flawless (happy birthday, by the way, he turns 68 today as I write this).  It’s hard to believe Zoe Wannamaker has ever done anything else in her life than be a quidditch coach.  And we all wish we had Robbie Coltrane’s Hagrid in our lives.
       The first time I saw this was before my HP addiction and I liked it then.  The more I see it and get to know it the more I love it.  It’s hard to remember a time when these people and this world weren’t part of my life.
       Anyone who doesn’t dream of becoming a quidditch star, anyone who doesn’t love this film, is a curmudgeonly Filch.
       As Ron says to Professor McGonagall, it’s “bloody brilliant!”

5 * of 5

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