PSIPOOK | film |



Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Richard Harris
Director: Chris Columbus



Harry Potter is for children, right? Absolutely. It's got magic, fiends that drink the blood of unicorns, vomit-flavoured sweets, three-headed dogs, piles of fried chicken and corncobs, and it has a lonely orphan living under the stairs who discovers he is actually a wizard and goes to live in a wonderful, weird world.

On his tenth birthday Harry Potter is retrieved by the magical beings that dumped him with his odious guardians and he is packed off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There he makes lots of new chums, is inducted to the world of spells, potions and trolls and becomes incredibly popular.

In this new and fantastic life the forces of darkness and the slayer of his parents make their moves to acquire the Philosopher's Stone, an alchemist's creation that will change anything to gold and confer eternal life on any user, and Harry finds himself the only obstacle between evil and its goal of ultimate power.

Harry is played by Daniel Radcliffe, who, unlike many child actors, can actually act. Aside from the children, the cast is a near-comprehensive, oh-look-who-it-is of British acting. Richard Harris, Maggie Smith and Robbie Coltrane star, while walk-on roles go to the likes of John Hurt and John Cleese: in this film every face is a name and the acting is of a corresponding quality.

The computer animation is on a par with Star Wars Episode One and will keep you gripped whether you are a cognoscente of wizardry or not.

The big question for fans of the Potter books is: does this film do justice to J.K. Rowling's creation? Director Chris Columbus was so nervous about Rowling's judgement that he absented himself from her first viewing of the film. She loved it — and so did this 39-year-old kid.

Review by Chris Page

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