Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone
When I walked into a theatre, for the first time, one fine evening, as a shy five year old, I never knew I was soon going to see this world that will leave me obsessed all these years later as well. Who would have known a children’s book would gather momentum and become the global phenomenon that it is. So as 31st July, also the world’s most well-known wizard’s birthday, rolls around the corner, it only seems fitting to review what started it all. So presenting to you my take on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (I won’t refer to it as Sorcerer’s Stone, doesn’t seem authentic enough). I will not badger you with the So without much delay, let’s get to it.
Starring a then young Daniel Radcliffe in the titular role alongside equally adorable Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), who would eventually be termed as the “Golden Trio”, the movie, like the book it is based on, follows Harry, an eleven-year old orphan who realizes he is a wizard when he receives a letter of acceptance from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The movie follows the life of the Trio and their escapades during their first year at this school filled with magical wonders and deathly secrets.
It is a well-known fact already that when Warner Bros. decided to buy the filming rights to the first four books of the series, J. K. Rowling was adamant that only British and Irish actors (Fiona Shaw and Richard Harris) be cast for all the roles. She even made it very clear that unless absolutely necessary a foreign actor must not be cast.
Before going further, let me just you, I have lost count of the number of times I have read the books and watched the movies. And probably if you put it on mute, I can tell you the dialogues as is, with expressions. There is even a running joke amongst friends that when I think of watching a movie I will browse for an hour and then start a Harry Potter marathon. So for starters, let us just talk about the amazing VFX and special effects of the movie. Taking into account the fact that this movie was made almost an entire decade ago, it never stops to amaze me how such an ambitious project was pulled off, so seamlessly. This movie is probably my most favourite in the entire franchise. And to think this would not have happened at all. To the uninitiated, Steven Spielberg was approached for directing the franchise. He had proposed an animated film, however this did not pan out (thank goodness for that!).
Now going a bit into the story, Harry is an eleven-year-old orphan who lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley (you know where he lived). Strange things happen to him, especially when he is being bullied. A few days before Harry’s birthday, for the first time, letters addressed to him keep popping up magically at their doorstep. And that is when the magic unfolds. The movie has been made with so much love and care that it never ceases to amaze me. That a bunch of eleven-year-olds could have such marvellous skills to make everything so believable, even after a decade has passed, is an amazing feat. The first movie set the standards so high and raised the curiosity of young minds like mine so much so that we still keep going back to it even after all these years.
While the actors delivered stellar performances on this one and the subsequent ones, special mention should be made of the background score, the ambience and the beautiful execution of an equally beautiful plot. Walking out of the theatre after this movie, I kept feeling that a part of me will always remain there, with Harry ,his friends and their first year at Hogwarts.
Ten years on, I keep thinking that as I grew with Harry Potter, he too grew with me, within me. Which might probably be the reason why the comfort I feel reading his books and watching him on the screen, I find no where. It is also not surprising that even after so many years, Potterheads still arrive at Kings’ Cross Station, London, every year, religiously, on 31st July to commemorate Harry’s (and our) foray into this wonderful, magical world of magic. This review would probably be incomplete if I did not mention how despite it being a children’s book/movie, the author and the makers did not choose to show only rainbows and flowers. In fact, I feel it is this realistic portrayal of the characters, the sense of loss, feelings of disappointment and even darker emotions have been explored so well. It is therefore no wonder why people across all ages have loved and felt connected with this series so much.
As 31st July rolls round the corner, I am going to sit down for yet another Harry Potter binge session. Are you?
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.