Friday, March 9, 2012

Adaptation Corner: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I know a lot of bibliophiles and movie lovers are sad because the eighth and final Harry Potter movie came out this summer. Instead of moping, I’ve purchased a compact box set of the films so that I can enjoy the movies repeatedly from the comfort of my own home. I intend to attempt doing the movies justice by sharing some of my thoughts on them here. Although it’s been done by a lot of bloggers, I wanted to share my take with you guys.

When I rewatched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in preparation for the post, I was struck by how young the actors and the characters are. I can see why I loved these books when I started them in sixth grade--I had just moved to a new state and was starting a new school, so I could totally relate to what Harry was going through. His mixture of excitement and nerves translates nicely across mediums and is palpable in the film.

Throughout the movie, the characters and settings are well utilized to capture the ambiance of what Harry’s going through. When we see the interior of the Dursley’s house, you only need one look around at all of the pictures of Dudley to tell that Harry is disregarded whereas Petunia is a simpering mother to her spoiled child. The attention to detail is impressive. Plus, Diagon Alley and Hogwarts both look totally magical. In other scenes, little tricks like the lighting or the music (which I adore) are used to help give the entire film a more magical scene.

In addition to an appropriate atmosphere, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has a great cast. Sure, in this film, some of the younger actors seem a bit inexperienced--there’s one scene where they are all supposed to be panicking, and it looks a bit fake. However, I’d say everyone got way better as the movies continued. Plus, the entire Weasley family? Hagrid? Professor Flitwick? Amazing casting.

As much as I enjoy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I can’t help but nitpick over a few details. For example, I wish the warning poem in Gringotts and sorting hat’s song had been included. I also think Percy is a little less snobby in the movies, which is unfortunate because that’s what makes his character so hilarious in the books. I like to think the movie makes up for it with a few other elements, such as the brilliant foreshadowing. The movie also adds some extra elements--Harry and Ron’s romance is more exaggerated than usual, and Hagrid repeatedly says, “I shouldn’t have said that,” which I’m pretty sure isn’t in the book.

The first Harry Potter movie isn’t perfect--it’s a little bit cheesy and the acting isn’t as great as it could be. Nonetheless, it brought the magic of Hogwarts to life for 2 hours, and played a major role in my childhood. Harry Potter was a major figure in my childhood, and those of many other people my age, which I think counts for more than anything.


  1. Yay Harry Potter! I could read a post about the books every day of the week :)

  2. Y'know, I bought that box set of the movies, too, and I've still only watched the first four. I have never seen any of the other movies, so I'm not sure why I haven't watched them yet. Maybe on my day off this week, I'll have a marathon!

  3. Its a refreshing idea and it ends rite there...i don't think it will work out economically very well for many.

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