Not so long ago I thought it was time for another Harry Potter Marathon! I’ve seen them all a couple of times and the last four films were worth a visit to the cinema! I wasn’t always fan of the series. When I was 12 years old – the time when the first film came out -, I was a bit of a rebel. A lot of (popular) people in school liked it and so I didn’t, period. I also thought it was too childish, how wrong I was. It was when my younger brother wanted to see the fifth film on his birthday, I was obliged to go with him. From that moment I realised how amazing the story is and I started watching all the previous films at once. My brother owns a few books as well, so I also started reading. After Harry Potter and the Order of the Fenix, I also saw the following three films on the big screen after reading the books.
Since I’ve never written a review on a Harry Potter film, I thought this would be a great moment to write reviews on all films! Starting with the first film.
In the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry thinks he is“just Harry”. But actually he’s a wizard who lives with his hostile uncle, aunt and cousin somewhere just outside London. On one special day he gets a letter, but his mean uncle Vernon Dursley prevents Harry from opening the letter, which results in an invasion of letters to Harry from Hogwarts, school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The friendly half-giant Hagrid saves Harry on his eleventh birthday and brings him to the place where he can buy all the things he needs. After finding a wand and a pet, he goes to the station – platform 9 3/4 to be precise – and hops on the train to Hogwarts. This is where he meets his future best friends: Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. At Hogwarts he meets all the rest of the school, including the teachers and headmaster Dumbledore. He learns all new stuff, find friends but also learns about his past and parents. This first year is also the first time he encounters the most evil wizard of all time: Lord Voldemort, or at least a part of him.
The film where it all started came out in 2001 and shows a very young cast. It’s hard not to love all these young actors. The book however, written by J.K. Rowling, was published in 1997. Therefore it already had some kind of fanbase and it was only getting bigger once the film came out. Out of thousands of British children, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson were cast as the main character, respectively Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Harry is ‘the boy who lives’ and the only person on earth who ever survived a death curse. In contrast to Ron, who comes from a true wizard family, he knows nothing of magic, but his parents were amazing wizards. Hermione on the other hand doesn’t have magical parents, but she is very bright and a bit of a know-it-all. Ron and Harry find her quite annoying, but after some crazy event – which includes a troll – they are besties for life! A student from a rival group at school, is Draco Malvoy. Tom Felton plays this white haired bully, who has an evil father, very well!
The other main characters are the school’s headmaster Albus Dumbledore, who is played by Richard Harris. Fun fact is, he declined the role at first but a relative of his demanded Harris to play the part. Maggie Smith plays Professor Minerva McGonagall, the friendly half-giant – who has a love for the most disturbing creatures – is played by Robbie Coltrane. One of my favourite characters, Professor Severus Snape, is played by Alan Rickman. His voice and his total appearance is so brilliant, and Snape is also a mysterious character. Nobody knows what he’s up to and who he truly is. This year’s villain is the stuttering Professor Quirinus Quirrell, who is played by Ian Hart. He is the first one who tries to let Voldemort return. The most amazing thing is that a lot of characters come back every now and then, in every film. Like the family of Harry and Ron, the students, who are all truly a part of this franchise. There might be something else which comes back, sort of. When Harry gets his invisibility cloak, the card says: “Use it well”. This is the same phrase Professor Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Anyone noticed that?? I thought it was brilliant!
The first film is because of the age of the main characters, not that scary. It’s all about getting to know the school, the students, teachers and of course magic. However, we also learn a bit about Harry’s past and the evil wizard who killed his parents. There are parts – towards the end and the scene in the woods – which would scare me, if I was a child. At least Ron Weasley is scared at those moments, which is sometimes quite funny. Ron also makes comments which makes you laugh, even as an adult. The part where we found out the truth about professor Quirrel, is kind of a plot twist. I can’t remember exactly how I thought about that when I saw the film for the first time, but I think it can be a surprise. The soundtrack, composed by John Williams, is one you’ll never forget. It’s truly brilliant and we should thank Williams for being a part of the film! Actually the whole film looks amazing. Besides the soundtrack, the complete decor, effects and make-up are magnificent. The goblins in the bank for example are very well made. Just think about it that the film is over 10 years old! How would it look when the film was made today. with the latest technique? I can not think it could be any better!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the first film in the franchise and the characters are just starting their new school and learn new things. Because this is the first film, the characters are very young. It’s only logic this is more a family film than the latter ones. However it’s never too childish and there are in fact some scary parts, but it never gets too dark. The character traits of many already evident: we see who’s good and who’s bad. The friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione is very credible, they are a good fit! It’s amazing how this film is the start of en entire franchise, which lasted a decade! Next film in the franchise is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!