Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

harrypotterDespite access to a treasure box of imagination in the wildly popular source material, Chris Columbus’ tale of a boy wizard going to school, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (C+), rarely takes flight. Filmed in dim halls and corridors and employing too frequent a use of clumsy CGI effects, the film maps out an interesting world but is uneven in inhabiting it. The kid actors led by plucky Daniel Radcliffe are fine and often given gravitas by a slew of veterans (Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and nearly every employable British actor). This is the film that sets the template for a franchise that ups the stakes considerably. There are some funny and enchanting moments and some nice action set-pieces, but this rather creaky movie should have been an absolute spectacular. In and of itself, this first film in the series is only beginning to understand its powers.