#142 / 365 – ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ (2001) – 152 mins
Cinema Challenge #57 / 115
An ordinary suburban boy, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), learns on his 11th birthday that he is really a wizard. What’s more, he’s famous throughout the wizarding world for surviving an attack by evil Lord Voldemort, an attack that killed his parents but left him with just a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead. The hulking stranger who delivers this information, Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), then invites Harry to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Aboard the school train, he meets fellow first-years Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), who are destined to become his firm friends and allies during the great tests ahead…
Ok so first up as Cheltenham Film Club begin their Harry Potter viewing marathon where we will be living and breathing Cinema for the next 7 nights, was where the special boy wizard began his first big screen movie adventure all the way back in 2001. In terms of the casting it is the naturalness of young unknown child actors at the time is what makes ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ click, with the friendship between the three leads always appearing to warm and genuine. Daniel Radcliffe is perfect as Harry in transferring the wonder to us, but for me of the trio proving the most memorable is that of Emma Watson in portraying Hermione Granger as the Miss smarty-pants witch with a hidden heart of gold.
Not forgetting, the cast’s solid backbone with impeccable performances from thesps Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman who nearly steals every scene he’s in as the eccentric sinister Professor Snipe.
Director Chris Columbus (‘Home Alone’) has created a mesmerising and entertaining exercise in opening your eyes to a creative world of fantastic fantasy that oozes with a tingling atmosphere, in what was the first step of an extraordinary phenomenal saga that was to engulf the world entire.