best films: #96: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE (2001)

Sure, this overly faithful adaptation of the J.K. Rowling book that started the Potter obsession insanity leaves a lot to be desired (perhaps less family-friendly melodrama in the last ten minutes), but there are many things to be treasured in this film.  For starters, the brilliant John Williams score that was his best since Jurassic Park was introduced in this fantastical effort.  Also, it featured one of the final performances of the late, great Richard Harris.  Beyond that, this series has since provided work to every British character actor in existence.  In this first of the series, Harris is joined by the always-enjoyable Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, a wonderfully droll Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, and the absolutely adorable matriarch Julie Walters as Molly Weasley.  And though the children struggled with finding their acting abilities (which I feel has truly come around in the last two films), Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson were adorable moppets in this first outing.  So say what you want about this book-to-screen adaptation, but the visuals, the score, and the splendid cast of British who’s-whos make this an undeniably entertaining flick.


Standout Performance:  It’s hard not to choose Smith in this scenario, but I’d have to hand it to Harris as well, making for a wizarding professor tie.  Perhaps a wand-off is in order?
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