Harry Potter is an ordinary boy…or so his nasty Aunt and Uncle want him to believe.
In this wonderfully spellbinding story of friendship and bravery, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is not only told that he is a wizard and is due to start his magical education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he also discovers the truth about his parents’ death, and the origin of the strange scar on his forehead.
After receiving a ton of strange letters which he is not allowed to open, Harry is dragged away to a desolate rock in the middle of the sea by his nasty Aunt and Uncle, (Fiona Shaw and Richard Griffiths respectively). He is promptly rescued by the scary but friendly half-giant, Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), who personally gives Harry his Hogwarts letter. This happens against Harry’s Aunt and Uncle’s wishes, who have tried everything in their power to stop it from happening.
Of course, it does happen, and we follow Harry as he is introduced to a world he belongs to but never knew existed. He becomes friends with Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and even makes an enemy of Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton).
Harry’s new friends help him to find out who is trying to steal the Philosopher’s Stone, and where it is currently hidden. They battle a troll, put a three-headed dog to sleep and play a game of chess with giant chess pieces.
Directed by Chris Columbus, the sets from this film are a spectacle to behold. Watching Harry enter Diagon Alley for the first time, seeing him buy his first wand from Mr Ollivander (John Hurt) in the wand shop, and the first sight of the Great Hall in Hogwarts castle need to be seen to really be able take in the true wonder of Rowling’s Wizarding World.
Another wonder of this film is the vast selection of British actors involved, not just in this film but in the subsequent films. Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Alan Rickman, John Cleese and Leslie Phillips to name but a few.
Their presence in this film, along with the Rowlingian score, more than makes up for the rushed special effects, and the very slightly mediocre acting from the younger generation of actors.
I would recommend this film to anyone of any age who wishes to lose thelmselves in a fantastic adaptation of the famous books.