There is no denying that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a very faithful adaptation of the novel upon which it is based. It gets about as much of the book into the movie as it possibly can. This may have been good fan-service, but almost literally translating a great book directly to the screen does not a great movie make. The first entry into one of the most ambitious film franchises of all time gets off lucky. It turns out to be quite good, and serves as a great introduction to the world of Harry Potter on film. I just wish that it had been great rather than good.
Director Chris Columbus is not an adventurous filmmaker, but he gets the job done. There is nothing about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that feels like a risk aside from the general scope of the film as a whole. The set design for this film, for example, needs to live on for the rest of the series; both literally and as a way to inform future design. At this the film very much succeeds. The world built for this film feels vast and complete, much like it did in the novel, and it is a testament to Columbus as a director that he was able to capture it all in a way that feels grand and exciting. Click to read more