November 14, 2016
Today’s Magical Monday Movie Retrospective is on the first Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone“.
The Harry Potter series of movies were a cultural touchstone. They integrated fun stories, an overarching plot, Live-action-integrated CGI, and crazy situations to give audiences a sense of the magical.
Among the first Harry Potter movies, including this first one, the actors who played the children were generally embarrassed by their acting performance. However, I really appreciated the “perfunctory” acting of the child actors. It was a refreshing change from the standard child actor who hams up the entire scene and talks as loudly as possible. Unfortunately for the child actor who played the “Hermione” character, she came the closest to this terrible acting process, hamming up scenes, over-expanding her mouth, and generally being loud. With that said, she was a fun character who establishes herself as the smart linchpin of the core group of kids.
The CGI is reasonably well-done, with enough detail not to scream at the audience “Look at me! Aren’t I amazing? I was made in a computer, you know!”
As with most movies made from books, the books are generally better. However, they really did do a smash-up good job on making a magical world that you could understand and feel wonder.
I imagine advanced editions will come out in a decade or two with enhanced special effects, even better than the original movies. These Harry Potter movies are already prime for a re-telling. I personally would like to see a version where Harry Potter, in stark contrast to the relatively clean-cut Harry we have now, has wild hair that “pops out” after being cut. I want a more disheveled Harry, and less predictable magic. In these existing movies, the magic seems far too limited by rules and regulations.
Also, the Harry Potter universe seems to take place in a time other than our own. Perhaps the 1950s, before information technology had exploded. If Harry Potter took place in modern times, you’d think every teacher would have a “bag of holding”, filled to the brim with iPods, tablets, and earbuds. It would also be fun to see magic interfering with technology in interesting ways. I think it would be more relate-able. Further, the “Ministry of Magic’s” job of hiding magic from the general populace would be much more difficult and interesting if information technology was constantly threatening to expose magic to the whole world in a matter of seconds.