This post contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (a.k.a. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone).
I’ll start by sharing what I like about this movie. Then I’ll share what I don’t like about this movie. I’ll end with my overall thoughts.
I love how the actors bring the characters to life. The book characters are fine, but the movie characters just come to life in a way the book characters don’t. I particularly enjoy the movie’s portrayal of the Dursleys and Snape. I know some people don’t like how some of the characters look different in the movies than in the books, but the actors do such a great job, I personally don’t care that the characters changed. I also love that Seamus blows things up a lot.
Similarly, I love how the costumes, sets, and special effects bring the wizarding world to life. Hogwarts is one of the most memorable book settings, and the movies did a great job of showing us what it’s like to attend the wizarding school.
I like that the movie keeps original details. One of my favorites is when Petunia’s cracking eggs for breakfast, and they all have Hogwarts letters inside them. I also like the inclusions of original dialogue.
I like that the movie skips the boring Dursley introduction. I don’t find that beginning very engaging (I know some people love it), and I think the movie’s beginning is far more interesting. The movie also fixed some of the plot holes, which is nice.
I like the increased intensity in many scenes. The scene where Harry releases the python at the zoo has greater tension in the movie than in the book. Neville accidentally flying on a broomstick during Madam Hooch’s class is another scene with increased tension.
Two of my favorite scenes are when McGonagall sees Harry catch the Remembrall and when Quirrell tells everyone there’s a troll in the dungeon.
Now for things I don’t like. I don’t like that the movie left out some things. In the book, Harry has dreams about a flashing green light and a flying motorcycle. This is fantastic foreshadowing for Harry learning he’s a wizard, but the movie doesn’t include it. In the book, Harry meets Draco Malfoy at Madam Malkin’s in Diagon Alley, and I like that the first young wizard Harry meets is his enemy. There’s also some great foreshadowing in that scene for The Chamber of Secrets. The movie cut that and introduced Malfoy later instead. Another foreshadowing scene that was left out is the information on Dumbledore’s chocolate frog card. That information is critical to the storyline and easily could have been included. The final bit of foreshadowing the movie left out is the set-up for the game of Wizard’s Chess at the end. We don’t get to see Ron destroying Harry at chess, indicating his talent at chess.
The other thing the movie cut is two of the characters. Peeves is left out entirely. I really like Peeves, and I’m sad he’s not in the movie. Neville isn’t completely cut, but he’s in far less scenes in the movie than in the book. Neville is supposed to be in the trophy room scene and the detention scene. Neville’s such an important character that he should have more screen time, and viewers missed out on some great Malfoy-Neville tension in the detention scene.
Some things don’t make sense. Why does Ollivander have fragile objects in his shop if poor wizard-wand matches cause things to break? The door to the room on the third-floor corridor isn’t big enough for Fluffy to get through, so how did they get Fluffy into the room? The trio knew Fluffy needed to be tamed with music, so why didn’t they bring an instrument with them when they went to the trapdoor? Why aren’t we shown the trapdoor when they first meet Fluffy? Hermione says she saw it, but we viewers don’t see it.
There’s also a lot that doesn’t make sense with the trio going to Hagrid’s and getting caught by Malfoy. Why didn’t they use the invisibility cloak to prevent themselves from getting in trouble? What was Malfoy doing at Hagrid’s hut late at night? Why did Malfoy alert McGonagall of the trio’s nighttime wanderings instead of Snape? Snape probably would’ve let him off the hook.
My final comment is the way the scenes are set-up makes it seem like Harry’s birthday is the day before school starts, but it’s really a month before.
Despite all the things I don’t like about this movie, I think it follows the book well. There are a few changes and decisions that don’t really make sense and bring up unanswered questions, but overall, I believe this movie is a good adaptation of the book.
What do you think of this movie? Do you think it’s a good adaptation? Let me know in the comments.