Episode 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Directed by Chris Columbus. Warner Bros., 2001.

Pre-Screening Sips

  • Welcome to the first episode of Watching the Wizards!
  • The first Harry Potter has such a special place in my heart because my mom put on a huge wizard-themed birthday party for me when it came out. (Also, I live in Texas, so several kids couldn’t come because their parents thought the movie would turn them on to Satan’s power.)
  • I actually cannot remember the last time I saw this, so I’m super pumped for a trip down nostalgia lane

Post-Screening Snippets

  • God, I was so jealous of Harry’s ability to talk to snakes – all I want is to be able to talk to my sweet babies at the zoo
  • I’m still wrapping my head around “You’re a wizard, Harry” becoming such a huge meme when, just moments before, Hagrid bursts in and calls a child fat
  • Watching this reminded me that I had a Professor Quirrell action figure when I was a kid. Why? Would they make that?
  • Every moment that introduces a new bit of magic is such a delightful burst of whimsy
  • “We’ll take the lot!” is my exact reaction every time I’m at a breakfast buffet
  • You know, people always like to say the kids “hadn’t learned to act yet” during the first movie, but even I, the self-professed hater of child acting, think they’re all charming
  • Now, on the flipside, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris, and Robbie Coltrane are iconic in their roles
  • The rapid advancements in technology do no favors to even the most innovative special effects-heavy movies
  • I am confident we all had a friend whose mom had both Madame Hooch’s haircut and attitude
  • This movie provoked an irrational fear of staircase movement in child Brecken
  • Watching the quidditch sequence is probably the closest I’ll ever get to being a sports movie fan
  • I want an invisibility cloak so badly – not for the powers, but for the fashion
  • Harry & friends’ Herculean quest through the trials of the dungeon is inventive, exciting, and ridiculous
  • You know, I’m kind of surprised Warner Bros. didn’t pull a Star Wars and go back and CGI Ralph Fiennes’s face on Quirrell’s back-head
  • Taking the other entries out of consideration, this movie is really about a bunch of precocious kids targeting a professor because he looks like he just left a My Chemical Romance concert

The Final Potion

         Harry Potter and the World-Building Exposition is a sugary sweet introduction to the wizarding world. Sure, it’s not as narratively thrilling as most of the entries that come after it, but none of the sequels would be as exciting without all of the groundwork laid by the first film.

GRADE: B+

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