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
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