Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane
Release Date: Nov. 16, 2001
Running Time: 152 min
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Commentary Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Britain) is the first of thus far four Harry Potter films, two more being in production, each based on one of the six books of the highly successful Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (a seventh book coming out sometime next year). I'm not a huge fan of magical fantasy, but I did very much enjoy this first Harry Potter film (the second not so much). Aside from its dark nature, I can see why Harry Potter is so popular among so many children today. The magic is fascinating, from Platform 9 3/4 to Quidditch matches to talking pictures to an invisibility cloak to a live chessboard.
Introduction: Harry Potter is what seems like an ordinary 11-year-old boy living in London with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. He's been told that his parents died in a car accident when he was a baby. In fact, he's a wizard and the survivor of an attempted murder by the evil Lord Voldermort when he was one year old. On his eleventh birthday, he's told he's a wizard and receives an invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a wizardry academy in a distant land. The only way he can get to Hogwarts is to catch a magical train that leaves from Platform 9 3/4, which he can only catch by running into a wall at the station.
Hogwarts: On his way to Hogwarts, Harry meets Ron Weasley (Grint) and Hermione Granger (Watson). He quickly becomes friends with them. They teach him a few wizard tricks on the train. When he arrives at Hogwarts, he's greeted by the Sorting Hat, a talking hat which tells everyone which of four houses they'll be placed in for the year. The houses end up competing with one another in various activities, like Quidditch, a sport played with a flying ball while riding on broomsticks, as well as performance of various spells.
The Sorcerer's Stone: A three-headed dog guards a trapdoor in a forbidden section of Hogwarts. The students decide it must be guarding the legendary Sorcerer's Stone, which can produce an eternal life elixir. Harry, Ron, and Hermione believe that Severus Snape, the sinister potions master and head of the Slytherin House, is attempting to steal the stone in order to restore Lord Voldermort to power. Thus, they decide to get to it first. In the end, however, their professor Dumbledore reveals to them that the stone will be destroyed so that Voldermort won't be able to get to it.
Harry leaves Hogwarts very happily, having made several new friends, most notably Ron and Hermione.
The Harry Potter series has been a huge success, both the books and the movies. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the fourth highest grossing film of all time, but only #63 when adjusted for inflation. The other three Harry Potter films have also been highly successful.