Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Reviewed by David Kashimba

Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone does a good job bringing the first of J.K. Rowlingís childrenís novels to the screen. Thereís a good choice of child actors for the young sorcerer parts and the special effects brings the world of wizardry to life through a natural evolution that never gets too heavy handed. But the brightest stars in this film are the grownup actors.

Both Richard Harris as the long white-bearded Professor Dumbledore and Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall have a benevolent screen presence exuding the same subtle warmth that their characters in the novel do. The versatile actor, Alan Rickman was an excellent choice for the ambivalent character of Professor Snape. But the star that shines the brightest, carrying the lionís share of the film, is Robbie Coltrane as the gentle giant Rubeus Hagrid. With hair and stature that would rival any king of beasts, one look in Hagridís soft eyes will tell you that this man is full of love and trust. The fact that Hagridís trust is easily taken advantage of by the wrong people, only acts to make him more endearing. He has that innocent quality of an overgrown child. While big and strong enough to protect the children, he can speak to them straighter than any adult.

When producer David Heyman asked the novelís author who she saw playing the adult characters, her first choice was Robbie Coltrane for the part of Hagrid. Though Coltrane was resistant to take the role at first, his son quickly changed his mind. ďMy son would have killed me if I hadnít, so there was no question of me not doing it, Coltrane said. Richard Harris was also blackmailed into accepting his role. ďI was asked to play the part and I wasnít going to do it for various reasons,Ē Harris recalled. ďThen my eleven year-old granddaughter Ellie telephoned me and said quite simply, ĎPapa, if you donít play Dumbledore I will never speak to you again!í So I didnít have much choice in the matter!Ē

While the film, like the book, is written for children, parents and grandparents will really enjoy bringing the younger memberís of their family to this movie, though itís a good idea to pay attention to the PG rating. There are some scary scenes that may not be suitable for very young children.

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