Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

First Potter film anything but magical

Make no mistake about it, Harry Potter is a goldmine. The book series has sold 400 million copies, while the six Harry Potter films that have been released have made nearly $5.5 billion! And there are still two more to come. So as the world anxiously awaits the theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, I decided it was time for the Cinema Connoisseur to finally experience what this Harry Potter hullabaloo is all about.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's StoneI started off by watching the 2001 blockbuster film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In the film we meet an 11- year-old Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), who lives with his aunt, uncle and cousin. Young Harry’s life changes dramatically when a fat, bearded man named Rubeus Hagrid arrives, gives him a birthday cake and takes him away from his family. A whole birthday cake – that’s quite generous. Most child abductors only offer candy.

We learn that Harry’s parents were wizards, and that they were killed by the dastardly Lord Voldemort when Harry was just a year old. Harry managed to survive the attack, and has become something of a legend in the wizard world. Hagrid informs Harry that he has been accepted to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, Wizardry and Medical-Office Administration.

From there, the film is mainly a vehicle to introduce characters that people will come to love or loathe in future Harry Potter releases. Harry forms a bond with a young witch named Hermione, and Ron, a boy born into a large wizard family. Incidentally, Ron has to be the lamest wizard name of all-time. “All hail the magical powers of Ron the Wizard!”

Overall, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was a huge letdown, especially considering two of my all-time favourite actors were featured in the film. Warwick Davis (Leprechaun) and Verne Troyer (The Love Guru) are two highly skilled thespians. Even they could not elevate the performances of the rest of the cast, which includes John Cleese, Richard Harris, John Hurt and young Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter.

While I might not be an admirer of Daniel Radcliffe’s acting abilities, I must commend him for not becoming a statistic. Child stars don’t have a great track record. I figured by now he would have died after snorting too much cocaine off of an Olsen twin’s ass. So kudos to him for keeping his nose clean.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has been credited for reigniting a generation’s interest in reading books. Which leads me to pose the question, what’s so freakin’ great about books? They are just so antiquated. Why are we still reading the damn things when we have 60″ LCD TV screens just begging to entertain us? Don’t even get me started on the carbon footprint J.K. Rowling has left behind. Four hundred million copies sold – plus some of the latter ones in the series have more pages in them than a New York City phone book! Harry Potter has destroyed more trees than Dutch elm disease.

If you are like me, and managed to go all these years without experiencing the Harry Potter phenomenon, consider yourself lucky. While I originally intended to review each Potter film, I simply cannot do it. I will not be watching this film’s sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. If anything, I will watch the adult version, Hairy Twatter and the Chamber of Secretions. Note to any porn producers, if that film does not exist, feel free to use the title.

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