I've re-watched the Harry Potter movies countless times since they came out, but I rarely return to the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The movies, following the books' cues, shifted tonally as the characters got older. I always had the impression that the first and second films were made more for children than adults. Re-watching the first Harry Potter film years after it came out, I realized I was both right and wrong.
First off, the characters are adorable. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are babies in this, and they ended the movies as adults. Watching all the movies in sequence must be a bit like watching Boyhood. Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint's acting certainly matured over the course of the series. But even though many of the characters, as well as the acting, are pretty juvenile, the roots of the later, darker films are all there. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone does a great job of establishing the sense of humor that is my favorite part of the books and films, as well as making sure we see the wizarding world, and Hogwarts itself, with the wonder and excitement of Harry himself. All this said, the film is in many ways pretty ridiculous. Good and bad, here's what I noticed when I rewatched the first Harry Potter movie.
1. "No Post On Sunday"
Mr. Dursley is stupid, but is he stupid enough to believe that the owls that have been flooding his home with letters will honor postal system rules?
2. Why Does Hagrid Disappear In Diagon Alley?
He leaves Harry hanging with a question about Platform 9 3/4 when they're in Diagon Alley, and I know it's because *magic,* but this doesn't make sense. First, Hagrid can't really do magic, so I doubt he has his apparition license. Second, even if he could, I doubt he'd be quiet about it. Third, Hagrid is helpful and friendly, not mysterious. Random disappearances are more Dumbledore's forte.
3. Hermione Is Genuinely Annoying
She definitely becomes cooler in the next books, probably beginning with when she punches Malfoy, but I like that she is genuinely unlikable in this one.
4. Malfoy Is Not Intimidating
He's wayyy too adorable.
5. The Music Swells Meaningfully When Susan Bones Gets Sorted
Did they think Susan Bones was going to be Harry's great love?
6. There's No Order To How The Students Are Sorted
Unless wizard alphabetization goes Granger, Bones, Weasley, Potter.
7. Harry Reacts To Everything In The Same Boring Way
Mouth slightly open, eyes wide. Seriously, good thing he's famous.
8. Snape Is Really Seductive In His First Potions Speech
It's a weird strategy for getting his students pumped for his class.
9. Hermione Raises Her Pinky When She Uses Her Wand
10. Hogwarts Punishes Students For Wandering At Night By Making Them Wander At Night
This is actually on J.K. Rowling, but I just feel that looking for predators in a Forbidden Forest is not on message with the whole anti-danger thing.
11. 70% Of The Movie Is Sweeping Shots Of Beautiful Scenery
They did do a great job with the sets. The other 30% are Harry's awed reactions.
12. Harry Doesn't Do Any Magic In The Whole Movie
Yet, somehow, he made it through the "extremely difficult" enchantments that protect the stone.
13. Hogwarts Rewards Rule Breaking A LOT
There's all the points Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville win at the end for putting themselves in danger, all those they win for fighting the troll, and Harry's position as Seeker. Sending kind of mixed messages to your young students, Hogwarts.
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