In 2001, movie audiences were introduced to a wizarding world filled with fantastic beast and magical mysteries. The first film launched a legacy that has lasted two decades, but how does “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” stand the test of time?
The first “Harry Potter” film has a very different tone than the rest of the franchise (only sharing the same tone with the second film in the series.) The different tone makes it a bit jarring to watch in unison with the rest of the series, but unlike the rest of the series, this film has a charming, nostalgic quality that makes it a fun watch for the whole family.
What makes the “Harry Potter” series so endearing is that each installment has its own mystery that the audience can solve along the way while also contributing to the big picture. This film particularly handles the puzzle in a lighter way that is not too dark for younger audiences and acts as the perfect segway into the darker themes brought out later in the series.
The younger versions of fan-favorite characters bring out a lot of the nostalgia of this film. Watching 12-year-old Daniel Radcliffe run around Hogwarts for the first time is just as magical for long time fans as the spells and potions he learns to brew. The story is a very simple introduction to the wizarding world’s overall mythology and could have benefited from long-term planning.
A personal critique that I have of the whole series is that the main story of Voldemort vs. Harry Potter takes too long to develop, and adding more development in the first film could have gone a long way to solving that. Although, I wouldn’t say that the first film is the biggest offender (looking at you “Prisoner of Azkaban.”)
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is a must-watch for everyone, and lighter tone and spooky mystery make it the perfect family Halloween movie night.
Filmnetic Grade: A-