317. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Release Date: November 16, 2001

Director: Chris Columbus

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Ian Hart, John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters.

Tag Lines: “Let The Magic Begin.”

“Journey beyond your imagination.”

“The Magic Begins November 16th.”

“Hidden deep within in the school lies an object that can make you immortal, that can make you powerful, that can make you deadly!”

Relevance: I was very late to jump on the Harry Potter band wagon. I really didn’t know anything about the novels until I started seeing trailers for the movie in 2001. By that time there were already four books available in the series. And as much as the trailer to the movie looked fun, I didn’t see it in theaters nor did I start reading the books.

In 2002, when the DVD of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ was released, I worked in a music and video store in Horseheads, NY, a really small town (with a mall) next to Elmira, NY. It’s ok if you haven’t heard of these places. Most people haven’t. At that time, the movie was one of the biggest pre-sales we had at the store. Everyone seemed to want to own this movie. So not to be completely out of the “pop culture” loop, I bought the DVD when it was released on May 28, 2002.

I was instantly hooked after I watched it. I loved everything about the story, the setting, the characters and I thought the movie was extremely well done. That year, my son was 5 years old and I was always looking for new books to read to him. So why not read the first Harry Potter novel to him? And that’s what I did. It took us awhile to get through it. In fact, the second movie ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ was already in theaters when we finished the first book. We quickly moved to book two and I read that one to him as well.

Because it took so long for me to read the books to him and he seemed to be losing a bit of interest, book two was the last one I did read to him. After that, I was on my own. I cruised through books three, four and five all within a year. I was finally caught up with the world. Books six and seven were purchased on the days they were released and read within 48 hours of buying them. Yes, I was completely head over heels in love with the books and the character of Harry Potter.

There seems to be a Harry Potter movie on television at all times. My husband always jokes when he sees one saying, “Harry Potter. I never saw one of those movies.” And for some bizarre reason, no matter which film it is, we watch at least some of it. I own all of the books and have the intention to re-read them all again soon. I own all of the movies and have watched them numerous times. I have my favorites of course, but I do love both the books as well as all the movies. I feel all of them beautifully capture the world created by J.K. Rowling.

‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ is not my favorite in the film series. There is actually one more that will be showing up later this year on this list. However, it’s a wonderful movie and it introduced me to my favorite book series of all time. So for that alone, it deserves grand recognition.

Today’s Thoughts: Some movies on this list I haven’t seen in over twenty years. This is not one of those movies. I probably saw it last week, or at least one of its sequels. Watching ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ today was like hanging out with an old friend or family member. It’s familiar, fun and entertaining.

What more can I really say about it? The movie is almost twenty years old and holds up very well. The acting is top-notch and the story is exactly what you want from a fantasy film. As I already mentioned, it really does capture the wonder and glory of the novel(s) and I am sure does J.K. Rowling proud.

It is fun to watch a young Daniel Radcliffe and the rest of the students in the film, knowing how well they have grown and matured since then. It is also fun to watch Richard Harris as Dumbledore. Sadly he only lived long enough to play him in two of the movies, but he was perfect for the role and was one of my favorite actors of all time.

Even though today was its “designated” day on this blog, I am sure I will be watching this movie again and again in the years to come.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Stuart Craig, Stephanie McMillan (nomination), Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Judianna Makovsky (nomination), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score, John Williams (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Feature Film (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Director, Chris Columbis (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Robbie Coltrane (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Production Design, Stuart Craig (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design, Judianna Makovsky (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Sound, John Midgley, Eddy Joseph, Ray Merrin, Graham Daniel, Adam Daniel (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects, Robert Legato, Nick Davis, John Richardson, Roger Guyett, Jim Berney (nomination), BAFTA Award forMest Make Up/Hair, Amanda Knight, Eithne Fennel, Nicj Dudman (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Family Film – Live Action (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Actor, Daniel Radcliffe (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Composer, John Williams (nomination), PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, David Heyman (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Hulu, DVD Availability.

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