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The finale of one of cinema's best-executed franchises in "Harry Potter," comes out next Friday, so we at PAM wanted to start a countdown of the "Harry Potter" films from least enjoyable to best as we see them. I should emphasize least enjoyable because quite honestly, the "Potter" series has delivered a definite quality standard that no franchise based on a book before (and most likely after) will ever attain again.
The first film, coming in at No. 7 on our list, marks our least enjoyed "Potter" experience on the big screen in terms of our collective ratings. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was just figuring out how to deliver on the big screen, so inexperience factors in. Here are our thoughts.
MAX: I'll admit that I came (very) late to the “Harry Potter” party, large in part because I never read the books growing up (hate on me starting now). For me, it was “Azkaban” and its decidedly darker turn for young Harry and his friends that brought me into the films, not “Sorcerer's Stone.”
Much to the horror of my family, I tended to veer
towards darker material in films when I was younger, and found the execution of
“Sorcerer's Stone” too watered down. I couldn't agree with Steven more when he
notes in his review that the first film is too scared to let the fans down,
many believing it to be the most direct adaptation of the entire franchise.
Such dedication to the (many) fans of the series is admirable, but it made the film hard to access for someone who had never read the books prior (though the casting was fantastic on near every level for a non-fan). Stack the heavy-handed cliches of good and evil and you've got the foundations for a remarkable franchise run, just not the best entry. Rating: 5/10
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s
Stone (a.k.a. “Philosopher’s Stone”) was a very well-executed debut to the "Harry Potter" series. Of course it aimed at children, but why does that have to
be bad? There was plenty for adults involving action and humour in this film
and children grew up with this series as it evolved. It is the lightest film of
the series, but it’s a jolly experience, though the acting from the children was weak at this point of their careers. Rating:
SIMON: “The Sorcerer’s Stone”
(and its immediate predecessor) does indeed lie extremely close to its source
material, but when a book of 309 pages is adapted into a film of 152 minutes,
it is somewhat fallacious to blame Columbus for including most of the novel.
The lighter tone of the novel is translated well to the screen and its
adherence to the more whimsical subject matter should not be a detriment. What
“The Sorcerer’s Stone” is is better for kids than a more mature audience and I
am in agreement the film lies far from the upper tier of the franchise. Rating: 7.5/10
STEVEN: "With director Christopher Columbus' experience lying mostly with family films, it should be no surprise that"Sorcerer's Stone" leans toward being an inclusive adaptation that tries to be as faithful and light as possible. On that note, Rowling made the novels progressively mature alongside the main characters, so this film understandably has a more chidlish tone being the very first. None of us would dispute that there's an improved darker tone with the later adaptations, but that doesn't mean Columbus failed to bring the "Potter" universe to life. His vision of Hogwarts, for example, became the foudnation for the rest of the series. "Sorcerer's Stone couldn't be further from the best, but it works for a film series based on a coveted property trying to get its toes wet." Rating: 7/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 6.8/10