|Warner Bros. Pictures | Release Date: November 16, 2001||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
Columbus's Harry Potter has many delights, but the magical alchemy that the book seemed to achieve so effortlessly eludes it.
Columbus' film version is fine, and it's bound to make kids happy while simultaneously generating untold box office, but if you haven't yet picked up a copy, don't let the film override the novel; set aside a weekend, dive in, and then head off to the cineplex to take in this well-done companion piece. Read full review
A firm, ringing yes and no on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The best thing about it may be that it will lead many back to read -- or re-read -- the book.
All it lacks are the crucial things an inspired director could have provided: spark, soul and magic.
What's on screen, though, is a cautious approach to cinema wizardry -- broad, colorful strokes and flash-bang effects that turn J.K. Rowling's words into a long, cheerful spectacle with a Muggle soul.
The film lacks moviemaking buoyancy -- the feeling of soaring in space that Rowling's magic-carpet prose gives the reader. The picture isn't inept, just inert.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is, despite its trickery, that plainest and least surprising of artifacts; the work of art that is exactly the sum of its parts, neither more nor less. [19 Nov 2001, p. 78]
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