Books are great. Movies made out of books aren’t always great. Thus, the trend goes. Unfortunately, the hype behind Harry Potter left me with anticipation of a well-adapted movie based on a book. This movie, however, didn’t do a good job adapting the book.
The world of Harry Potter came to life on the screen, but the magic of Rowlings’ book did not. Watching this movie was like watching the Cliff notes version of the book. All of the major events were there, but it isn’t the major events that make Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a good book, and thus a movie made around only the major events of a book shouldn’t make a good movie; and well, it didn’t.
Christopher Columbus (Home Alone, Ms. Doubtfire) made a movie that follows Rowlings’ book pretty closely, with only a few major events biting the dust in the process. A task in the final scene and most of an interesting chapter about a baby dragon are nowhere to be seen. However, it isn’t that fantasy elements that are lacking, it is the mood.
Columbus made the movie off of Cliff notes version of the book, and the humor, mood, and character development are what suffer. This is not to say that Harry Potter is not without humor. The humor is just snot-induced sight gags.
Characters in the book that aren’t absolutely necessary are either forgotten, or ignored, and this includes characters that could have broken the somber, by-the-numbers mood of this movie.
There was no character development in this movie. The child actors just delivered their lines. The only exception, who had some acting ability, was Rupert Grint, who played Ron quite well. The adult actors did a great job, on the other hand, especially Alan Rickman as sinister Snape. The only exception who didn’t do a great job was Richard Harris as Professor Dumbledore. Harris portrayed his character as an drab old man, when in the book, he is described as young fellow trapped in the body of an old man.
The mood of the movie suffers from John Williams and his oppressive score. For every single tender moment of the movie, Williams has delivered a thunderous and over-powering piece of music to “match”. Also, it is hard to imagine that Harry actually goes to learn at his school, the movie flies from one over-the-top moment to the next, and little to no screen time is spent in classes or schoolwork.
The special effects were cheesy, and didn’t seem to quite fit in the movie. Mythical beasts of all shapes and sizes just didn’t look right in Harry Potter’s world. The single Quidditch match was fast and furious, but reminded me of the child’s hockey movie The Mighty Ducks, with it’s meaner-than-mean opposing team. They were even ugly.
All and all, this movie was big, flaming piece of shit failure.
On a positive note, I did find the set design to be nice.