Reeltime posts are not regular reviews but real-time commentary posted whilst watching the film. You can follow live or read the archived post at the end.
John William’s mysterious theme over the WB logo is a great start.
Introducing key characters through their personal styles of magic is a nice touch. Flying motorbike in particular, obviously.
So I actually saw this in the cinema in 2001 for my sister’s birthday. So she might well have been jealous of all these birthday presents.
Sixteen years ago I didn’t have beer. Now I do. So by that metric I’d say the film’s aged pretty well.
Ah some classic Daniel Radcliffe acting with the nervous swallow and sullen look. I think it’s fine to make fun of child actors once you know they turn out fine, right? I mean, I assume Rupert Grint is still around somewhere, right?
“Yer a wizard, ‘arry!” That is the best line in this film, isn’t it?
“Muggle” is really going to annoy me as well. The “good guys” are some of the worst snobs in this franchise.
If the Dursleys are Harry’s guardians then this is a kidnapping. So, if they’re happy kidnapping him now, wouldn’t it have saved everyone a lot of angst if they’d just kept him in the first place?
Hagrid just described Hogwarts as even safer than Gringots, which seems like further justification for keeping Harry there.
Even the Weasleys are badmouthing Muggles which seems particularly weird.
“I’m Ron. Ron Weasley.”
“I’m Harry. Harry Potter.”
“I’m James. James Bond. No, that doesn’t work at all.”
I know these child actors will improve as the franchise goes on but I’d forgotten how painful it was at the start.
“Malfoy. Draco Malfoy.” Ah, so he’s the MI6 agent.
Oh I actually recognise some of these corridors from Gloucester Cathedral!
So far I think Chris Columbus’ stilted direction actually has a lot more to answer for than the kids’ acting.
“What do they think they’re doing?! Keeping a thing like that. Locked up in a school.” Ron’s the only one who’s noticed this is utterly negligent.
Although they still didn’t actually find the troll until three kids got into a fight with it and accidentally took it out. Oh, and apparently they award house points for “dumb luck”.
Quidditch does look very cool even if the point scoring around the Snitch makes most of the game pretty redundant.
I remember my sister coming into my room when I was playing the Star Wars Episode I soundtrack and asking why I was playing the Harry Potter soundtrack. It wasn’t just that they were both John Williams, but that I was listening to the podracing flag parade which mirrors the Quidditch opening. There are a lot of structural parallels with those two key scenes. This jostling shot is basically podracing.
I still cannot understand the American name change given that the Philosopher’s Stone isn’t something Rowling came up with.
Did they keep Fluffy’s only weakness in the same room that he’s guarding? Or did someone decide surreptitiously to bring a gigantic harp on his break-in instead of, say, a music box?!
I do respect a story that goes for a climactic chess battle though.
How many house points do you get for murdering a teacher?
Oh no, wait, the best line in the film is still coming up: “Alas, earwax.”
I do like how freely Harry uses Voldemort’s name throughout the whole film despite others’ apprehension. Brave or foolhardy, but a nice touch.
Wow, Hogwarts’ chess team must be pretty awful if that was the best game they’ve seen in years…
I feel like the whole of Year 1 basically vindicated Mr Dursley. Even though Harry wasn’t even a blood relative, he wanted to protect him from a horrifically dangerous school run by grossly negligent teaching staff that ultimately almost resulted in Harry’s death.
Well that’s a wrap on Year 1. Given all the amazing adult acting talent I’m really looking forward to the director change once we get to Year 3. As well as the kids obviously improving as the franchise goes on. When fans rewatch the films, do they actually start at the beginning or halfway through? I can’t imagine feeling the need to watch this one again.