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EDITIONS
Monday, 10 February, 2003, 18:52 GMT
Harry Potter: Your views
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) arrives at wizard school
The film has been eagerly anticipated by many
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the most hyped film of the year so far and has broken box office records by taking the biggest advance bookings for a movie release.

The film is based on the best-selling book by JK Rowling - the first of four in the series - which charts the adventures of a young boy who discovers he is a wizard.

"It is a great big fun film that varies between good and superb throughout," wrote our reviewer, 12-year-old Thomas Angell.

But what do you think?

Is it as good as the book? Will adults enjoy it too? What do you think of the special effects?

Have your say

This film is fantastic. It is a film for all age groups. The movie is a wonderful adoption of the book. The actors were wonderful, especially the children and I loved the actor who played Ron, his facial expressions were wonderful. I enjoyed the film from start to finish.
Arif Bashir, Pakistan

I have been waiting to watch the movie for months and when finally I saw it on Friday I was a little disappointed. The book is much more enchanting and interesting.The movie is really good and I loved it but it could have been much better. It doesn't touch your heart as the book does.They cut out a lot of scenes and details.
Safeena Chowdhury, USA

Absolutely fantastic! I was really pleased that the film followed the book very closely (only noticed a couple of differences). Film could definitely have been 3 hours to include more of the book! Ron Weasley was fantastic, exactly how I had created him in my own mind after reading the book.
Caroline, USA (British)

The film seemed to hurry from scene to scene

Chris Rankin, USA
I was terribly disappointed in the movie's lack of character, development and plot. The casting was brilliant but it was a shame that the talents of Maggie Smith and Richard Harris were wasted with characters who were given very little to do. It felt like a two-and-a-half hour trailer, not a full-length film - just a bunch of clips. While the sets were absolutely incredible, there was no time to look at them. I will see it again, however, in the hope that I missed something good the first time round.
Maegan Gudridge, USA

I enjoyed the film but I have to say that I was very glad that I'd read the book first. Despite being two and a half hours long, the film seemed to hurry from scene to scene, leaving no room to explore details like the depth of Professor Snape's particular dislike for Harry, or the intense inter-house rivalry at Hogwarts. Without such things, why should we care if Harry and friends lose 150 house points?

The film's climax felt strangely hollow too, because the only character in the room who had been properly developed was Harry himself.

Apparently, some scenes were cut to stop the film becoming a bladder-buster. I'm hoping that these scenes will be restored for the inevitable DVD release, because I think the story still needs a little help unfolding.
Chris Rankin, USA

Several people have commented on how good the boy playing Ron Weasley was. I agree.

James McLeod, UK
I think it is a testament to Hollywood and the previously mediocre director Chris Columbus that they spent a vast amount of time and money on an entirely foreign film, while demanding nothing from it in the way of big name actors, product placement, gratuitous sex and violence or Americanisation. They really do deserve the return on their investment after demonstrating such faith in its success.

Columbus has shown an unexpected abundance of flair in understanding the British setting, filming a complex revered book, and living up to the massive global hype. Can this really be the director that used to bring us dirge like Home Alone 2? This is the biggest turn-around since Volkswagen bought Skoda. Wow.
Patrick, England

My wife and I have never read the books. But we were first in line to see what all the hype was about. We were not disappointed. The movie was great!
William, USA

Since I hadn't read any of the books, I decided the film was a quick way to learn what the whole excitement was about. I couldn't even wait for the general release and went to see a preview. Excellent acting, spectacular visual effects and an interesting story.
Nedko Nedev, Scotland (Bulgaria)

I just came back from seeing it and while I was entertained I have to admit that overall I found the film to be disappointing. Whoever put the film together seemed to be more interested in getting every one-liner in (especially for Hermione) and every tiny event in (ie the zoo) instead of bothering to actually tell a story. My friends who hadn't read the books prior to watching the movie were confused and unimpressed. Hopefully the next film will actually tell some sort of story even if it doesn't correspond perfectly to the book.
RA, US/UK

Too bad Cleese's scenes were so short.

Lucy, USA
Didn't think the acting was great from the kids, especially when contrasted with the likes of Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) or Haley Joel Osmond (AI, Sixth Sense). Nevertheless, the storyline kept moving throughout, the special effects were good and the adult actors' abilities shone through. Great cameos from John Cleese, Julie Walters and others. Totally worth seeing, if only to relive everybody's childhood dream of being able to do magic.
Jonny Moss, England

Having been an avid fan of the books, I awaited the transportation of Harry et al from my imagination to the silver screen with some trepidation. The movie is a faithful intepretation of the first book and should be applauded for this. If it gets more kids reading the books, then it is a job well done.
Richard Reeves, UK

Ron, played by Rupert Grint, stole the film. But having read all the books, I have to say I was a bit disappointed - perhaps my expectations were a bit high. I just thought that the scenes before Hogwarts were really rushed - especially Diagon Alley. And even the first night at the school seemed hurried (ie the Sorting Hat scene). My other complaint is Hermione. Lovely girl, overacted a bit, though.

Those bits aside, a good film, great scenery, and rather good acting by Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, and Alan Rickman. Too bad Cleese's scenes were so short.
Lucy, USA

No wonder children like this stuff so much. The hype is all a bit much but the film is faultless

Dad, England
Paul Hardwick makes an interesting point comparing the broomstick scene to a Star Wars film. I haven't read the books, but having seen the movie I couldn't believe how many nods there were to Star Wars. When he gets his cloak I was half expecting Sir Alec Guiness to pop up and say "Your father wanted you to have this, it is his lightsabre". I counted countless other references to the Lucas movies also. Overall I would say its an OK kids film, nowhere near as good as the hype and nothing on a par with, say, the Wizard Of Oz. Personally, I preferred Monsters Inc.
Wayne Stokes, USA (British)

Our three kids love the books and have read them umpteen times each. We took them to a special preview last week and they came out with the following reaction - "Rubbish!" The criticisms were far to numerous to go into here (although they did all like Robbie Coltraine as Hagrid). Ah well, guess there's always the Lord of the Rings movie to look forward to.
Phil Dunn, UK

I didn't like the books and struggled to get past page 10 before nodding off, but my daughter is rarely wrong on these things and we saw the film a week ago. Utterly marvellous. A cinema full of children were completely silent except when Hedwig appeared and a lone voice behind me squealed excitedly. No wonder children like this stuff so much. The hype is all a bit much but the film is faultless.
Dad, England

A great film, a pity the storyline had to be condensed to fit into two and half hours. I would have happily sat for longer...
Caron, England

My six-year-old son never moved for two and a half hours. He sat there literally spellbound. Does JK Rowling babysit?

Mike Norcross, UK
It reminded me of the BBC attempts at Narnia - worthy but dull. Some books are best left in the cinema of the imagination and this is certainly one. Please leave the other books alone!
Derek Blyth, UK

I flew in from New York last weekend and took my wife and eldest two children to a preview showing on Sunday evening. What a fantastic film! My six-year-old son never moved for two and a half hours. He sat there literally spellbound. Does JK Rowling babysit? I am going to see it again tonight in New York. I can't wait - it's simply awesome!
Mike Norcross, UK & USA

Outstanding and detailed fantasy film. A decent, but not perfect, book conversion. The people who nitpick are the ones with the most vivid imaginations; people for whom any film would never match their expectations. I stand satisfied, and, more importantly, heartened by the lack of US influence over such a British phenomenon. More!
Annie Wallace, England

After all the hype, I was very disappointed. I thought the film was very slow, too long and actually quite dull. 2 out of 10!
Tony Robinson, Wales

Although I enjoyed the film I could never really get into it since none of the characters are really developed. If you read the books this could be overlooked, but I haven't read them and I did find it to be a problem. The film makers were in too much of a hurry to move the plot along than to stop and tell us about Harry, Hermione and Ron.
Osiris Johnson, Hawaii, USA

This film is the darkest film I have ever seen that is aimed at children

Dr Frank Wayman, UK
It was great, never seen a book made into a movie that was that good. Steven King's movies are never like his books. I have never been in a movie theatre where there was so many kids that were quiet the whole time!
Jessica Blakley (age 14), USA

I've just been to see Harry Potter today with my friend and her sister - we're all 15-17. Having never read any of the books, I didn't really know what to expect but I thoroughly enjoyed the film! Great British acting at its best! Now I think I may just try to get a hold of the books to see what the fuss is about.

And to all the people complaining about missing scenes that were in the book and not in the film - some of the scenes may not have fitted in with what the director wanted to achieve. I thought J.K. Rowling was on hand to advise the film at all times, and as she's the "mother" of Harry Potter, surely she would have had some say with what would have happened in the film? In my opinion, as long as Rowling is happy that the film portrayed the characters as she would have liked, and that the majority of the public like the film, then it is a hit!
Rachel, Canada

I think it was the best movie I ever saw! I think that the actors and actresses really suited their parts, even Fang. My favourites were Ron, Harry, Hermione and Hagrid. The Quidditch Game was so real. I can't wait to go see it again!
Emily, Canada

This film is the darkest film I have ever seen that is aimed at children. Parents should think twice before taking very young children (under 10) to see it. Joanna Rowling has a degree in mythology and knows a lot about pagan rites and these are accurately described in the books. I'd be a lot happier about the wall-to-wall hype on children's TV etc if it wasn't for this.
Dr Frank Wayman, UK

I'm 45 years young and this was an absolute masterpiece

Jay, USA
Well, I loved the books, but I believe the movie ultimately failed to bring across all that's great about the book. It felt very rushed and forced. Scenes didn't flow into each other and there was no natural or logical progression. Basically they tried to put the book on screen and tore out some very important character development. Maybe this was a result of some bad editing.
David Bailey, USA

I didn't want it to end, had me enthralled from start to finish! Absolutely amazing, fantastic acting, wonderful sets and effects, yet still so simple in a special way. Funny, magical, heartwarming and enchanting, as are the books. I have to see it again.
Sally Chater, UK

This movie is one of the best yet. I'm 45 years young and this was an absolute masterpiece.
Jay , USA

Took the kids to see Harry Potter today. My 12-year-old daughter has been looking forward to this day for six months. All of us had a good time watching the movie. Obviously no movie matches the book, but it was a fun and entertaining movie.
Jack Garvey, USA

Persuaded by my teenage children to read the first book I was quickly hooked. The book is better than the film although it was fun to see all the characters coming to life. The actors were wonderful - especially the children. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sheila Madhvani, England

This film was a huge disappointment

Taylor, UK
Really good film - I wasn't disappointed, rather thrilled and enjoyed it very much. My children were enthralled, and I had already read the books to them! Well done to all involved. When is the next one due out?
Gail Devereux-Batchelor, UK

I thought the film was great, especially the part where Harry puts on the invisibility cloak. There is hardly a dull moment.
Joseph Rifaat, UK

Let me just start off saying that I loved the movie. However, I do have to agree with previous reviews that character development took a hit. It would have taken at least three hours to include all the special effects and the character development, but I don't think anyone would have complained a bit. Hagrid's personality and relationship with the children was only briefly touched upon, Draco Malfoy didn't get in enough digs to justify his nasty role, and the children's relationships with each other was only hinted at.

As I said, I loved it, but I also wanted more! Hopefully the producers will have the courage to let the future films be unusually long to accommodate character development. I don't know how they'll do books three and four otherwise.
Craig Theisen, New Jersey, USA

Does it capture the letter of the book? Yes. Does it capture the spirit? No. A good effort, but where's the joy, the whimsy, the magic of Harry?
Jeannine, California, USA

This film was a huge disappointment.
Taylor, UK

I haven't enjoyed a trip to the cinema so much in ages

Richard Blaber, UK
The film is OK but a little disappointing. I wanted to see Hedwig nibble Harry on the ear. I also wanted to see more of Harry, Ron and Hermione down at Hagrid's "wooden" cottage. And Neville was almost non-existent in the film. Many of the more subtle elements were missing. For example, in the wand shop. The book didn't need excessive explosions; why would the film? I would be willing to watch a six hour film done well.
Patrick Clayton, USA

The Harry Potter film is great fun, it's very effective visually, has an excellent soundtrack and good acting. I enjoyed Rupert Grint's performance particularly - but all the children are good, and Daniel Radcliffe certainly looks the part of Harry Potter. Some critics have complained that the film is too faithful to the book - a nonsensical charge as far as I'm concerned. It is as faithful as it can be and needs to be. As for the hype - you shouldn't judge a film by its hype, and I really don't see the point of comparing Harry Potter with Star Wars. I haven't enjoyed a trip to the cinema so much in ages.
Richard Blaber, UK

Brillant film. I was bullied into seeing this film by my four-year -old son. However, I think I enjoyed it more than he did. The first 10-15 minutes or so of the film is a little slow to my liking, but the rest makes up for it. A must-see movie for all aged three to 99.
Sanjeev Gaya, UK

JK Rowling should be applauded for this excellent film. The average age when I saw the movie last night must have been 40 and everyone who left the cinema thought it was brilliant.
Paul Wilson, USA (UK)

I'd have gone to watch it even if it was 5 hours long but I can see why they cut things down

Val Gilliam
I saw it last weekend with my four children. I thought it was brilliant and want to see it again. My 5-year-old never fidgeted once in the two and a half hours which is highly unusual for her in the cinema. Even my 17-year-old son thought it was great and missed a night out to come with us instead!
Jackie, UK

Special effects were excellent, Star Wars calibre. I'd have gone to watch it even if it was 5 hours long but I can see why they cut things down. Disappointed in Rickman's performance as my fave character Snape. It seemed cardboard but everyone else was wonderful! Quidditch was spectacular! I have to say that with time limit restrictions, Columbus and crew did an excellent job.
Val Gilliam, USA

Very good indeed. It'll never be as good as your imagination if you've read the books, but the casting and acting of all (especially the kids) was sheer magic. Roll on film two and, more importantly, book five!
Tom Howell, UK

It was brilliant. The cast were all played so well. They kept it to the very important bits in the book. I have read the book and was very impressed by the way it was done. Things were missed out but that can be expected. All in all very well done.
Andrew Jones (age 13), UK

What was especially interesting was the normal childlike relationship between Ron, Harry and Hermione, not like the girl boy stuff in America. Children behaved like children in a world of fantasy.
Jyotsna Pandey, USA (Indian)

The much-vaunted special effects look very cheaply made

Dick Masters, UK
Average. Despite the special effects, and the not-so-bad casting, the plot was rushed and superficial. It was like watching the highlights. Kids, of course, will love it. But what do they know; look at the Top 10 for goodness sake.
Andrew Terry, UK

The worst acting by child performers ever! Daniel Radcliffe seems to have no acting ability whatsoever. He gets by on one expression - eyebrows raised, mouth hanging open for every situation. John Williams's music is incredibly annoying - the same repetitive theme keeps occurring every 30 seconds - also, has anyone else noticed it is an almost exact copy of his theme for Schindler's List?

The much-vaunted special effects look very cheaply made - the Quidditch flying scene looks exactly what it is - shot in front of blue-screen. Director Chris Columbus has made a very bland version of the book. The only good actors are Zoe Wanamaker and Maggie Smith; also the boy who plays Draco Malfoy gives a good performance.
Dick Masters, UK

Very good all round film except the music because it is too repetitive.
Alexander Marris, England

I really was terribly disappointed by the Harry Potter movie. I felt that due to a perfunctory script, that skipped through all the situations but none of the feeling, the viewer was left to watch a watered down, humourless version of the almost faultless books. We can only hope the Lord of the Rings will not fall into the same trap!
H Jones, UK

The good news is it could have been worse. The bad news is it could have been better. Neither our worst fears nor our best hopes were realised. The humour is absent and so is the heart. We doubt the film would make sense to people who haven't read the book. It left us disappointed but not dismayed.The acting of the major roles was uninspired (they always seemed to be acting rather than being the character) but some of the smaller parts were wonderfully portrayed, with special praise for Aunt Petunia and Mr Ollivander.
Jamieson family, USA/England

The John Williams music was way over the top

David Goldsmith, UK
Fantastic! Loved it from the opening frame to the credit roll. Casting was spot on, and for once a film director didn't feel the need to tear into a novel with a shredder. Everything was just as I imagined. Although it was interesting how they chose a modern street for Privet Drive, compared to the oldy-world feel of Hogwarts. If there are any quibbles, I felt that they maybe concentrated a bit too much on the Philosopher's Stone itself, as opposed to the magic as a whole, but this didn't take away from the movie at all. Of course the book will always be better, but this is the best film adaptation I have ever seen.
Collin Marshall, Scotland

Considering the time constraints, the adaptation works splendidly. The only criticism I have is the running time itself - far too short! Three hours never did Titanic any harm. Of course, there is a strong likelihood that many of the deleted scenes will be reinstated for the DVD release. All that to come, and another film this time next year!
Chris White, UK

Outstanding film. Thrilling. Tremendously entertaining. But the John Williams music was way over the top. It drowned the natural sounds of the best scene - the chess game.
David Goldsmith, UK

Computer grapics are rubbish, they must have done them in a hurry on the cheap.
Guido Perotti, UK

The film would have been better taken to the small screen in a serialisation that would have allowed for the intimacy the book conveys so well

Scott, UK
A very enjoyable film, which left a party of normally fidgety 9-year-olds wanting more after two and a half hours.

As an adult I found the film enjoyable as an adventure with impressive visuals. Comparing the film to the book though, I realise just how much lies beneath the pacy humorous surface of these books - a slow, steady plot build-up and, most of all, a great deal about relationships. The film did a faithful conversion of the surface stuff, but missed out these areas almost completely.

Nevertheless, I still think it is the best children's film I've seen this year (both to watch as an adult and as a film to take kids to); even better than Shrek, which we also enjoyed.
Phil Blackburn, UK

Absolutely smashing, upon my word. Jolly good show...kept me on the edge of my seat.
Julian Windham, England

I'm beginning to think that I possess a wondrous imagination compared to the other Potter fans that have posted here, as I'm a bit disappointed! The film was good, but was unable to live up to the intricate scenes that the book creates in one's mind. I found the film to be heavy-handed in one respect (a problem with sticking too closely to the book) while skirting over important areas, like character development. The Dursleys were a complete non-entity.

The film suffered through being too long for a cinematic release and would have been better taken to the small screen in a serialisation that would have allowed for the intimacy the book conveys so well.

Alan Rickman was by far the best cast actor, bringing Snape truely to life and Rupert Grint was wonderful as Ron. I was a bit disappointed in Daniel and Emma though, but hey, they're still learning.
Scott, UK

At times, Harry looked a little wooden

Aleks Wukovich, UK
After seeing the film and stepping out of the cinema, one thought kept crossing my mind: "I really, really want to play Quidditch!"

I thought the film was very well done considering that if the entire novel were crammed in, the film would be challenging Lawrence of Arabia in terms of length. All the same, I really hope that a full-length director's cut DVD is released next year that shows the entire, unedited film. I'd certainly sit through a four hour film if it moved me the way the book did.

Also, at times, Harry looked a little wooden. For example, in the scene where Hagrid comes to fetch him from the sea shack and Harry reads the letter from Hogwarts for the first time, I expected him to be furious at the Dursleys for keeping the fact that he's a wizard from him for so long.

Overall though, it's a great adaptation. Well done to all concerned, and let's all be thankful that the celluloid Harry didn't end up going to a modern high school!
Aleks Wukovich, London, UK

As an adult who has never read the book, I was expecting a movie that could transcend both the younger and older generations but, unfortunately, came away throughly disappointed. The reviewers said that those who had never read the book would enjoy the movie as much as those who had by they obviously had not taken into consideration the fact that some moviegoers have reached puberty!
Phillip McGarry, N.Ireland

Several people have commented on how good the boy playing Ron Weasley was. I agree. His was the most natural and (from memories of prep school) realistic performance of the cast. Quite admirable.
James McLeod, UK

Too short! I and my children would happily have sat through 3 hours of this, to allow for better development of the Harry/Snape relationship and show us more of Hogwarts day to day life. Thoroughly excellent - first impression of my 7-year-old was "can I see it again dad", followed by "can we buy the video now".
Brian Brown, England

About half way into the film I was very rudely jarred out of a deep sound sleep

Adrian Leverkuhn, USA
What a great movie. Superb casting (especially of the children) and faithfulness to the spirit of the book combine to make Harry Potter a film not to be missed. Love, integrity, and fighting for good and against evil; that's at the root of the Harry Potter books. Read the books. See the picture. Enjoy.
Allan Fineberg, USA

Perhaps it is most telling to say that about half way into the film I was very rudely jarred out of a deep sound sleep...it seems my snoring was a bit too much. This film works very well, and I assume for the books as well, for eight-year-olds with very low self-esteem. The special effects were indeed quite good, but it is hard to understand the fury attending the hype this film has generated. I'm sure fans of the books loved the film. For others...bring a pillow!
Adrian Leverkuhn, USA

Wonderful. Don't encourage a Potter vs Lord of the Rings debate so that Harry is deconstructed by Middle Earth anoraks. Casting was spot on. I thought Daniel Radcliffe caught Harry's mixture of ordinaryness and diffidence brilliantly. My girlfriend found Alan Rickman's dark sensuality very appealing!
Tony Butler, UK

Very true to the book. As a matter of fact, the young actors and the scenery very closely matched what I imagined as I read the books, and I've read them all twice. The acting was strong throughout, but the young lady who played Hermione was extraordinary, displaying an emotional intensity and focus that is positively jarring in one so young. The only fault I'd give it is that in staying so true to the book, the film lacked dramatic tension and seemed a bit long. But that is just nitpicking. Overall a very strong effort.
Jonathon, USA

Having never read any of the books, I didn't really know what to expect... but I thoroughly enjoyed the film! Great British acting at its best. Now I think I may just try to get a hold of the books to see what the fuss is about!
Rachel, Canada

Fantastic acting, wonderful sets and effects, yet still so simple in a special way

Sally Chater, UK
Terrible. One word that typifies this attempt at a classic. Harry Potter (how wonderful for Warner Bros that there will be more of these money-makers) was as good as it could have been. Firstly, the main showpiece of the film, the special effects, were nothing special. The character development was often very poor, though not as bad as the acting itself. It has been noted by others that the script was faithful to the book. If this was the case, why? The script was cringeworthy with its excessive language. And perhaps the use of an American actor would have been easier on the ears. My final point: why did so much of the film have to be blatant advertising for the computer game?
Sean Thomas, UK

I'm 45 years young and this was an absolute masterpiece

Jay, USA
Unfortunately, a film can be such a close adaptation, that any sense of surprise or emotion is removed. Add to that the pedestrian direction, and I felt sorely disappointed. On the positive side, I took my wife and two kids to see it and they declared it was the best film they'd seen in ages. So three out of four can't be bad.
Pete Diamond, UK

This was the shortest two-and-a-half hours I've ever spent. Absolutely superb. The casting is spot on with all the characters leaping to life on the screen.
Chris McCullough, Ireland

I didn't want it to end, had me enthralled from start to finish. Absolutely amazing, fantastic acting, wonderful sets and effects, yet still so simple in a special way. Funny, magical, heart-warming and enchanting, as are the books, have to see it again.
Sally Chater, UK

This movie is one of the best yet. I'm 45 years young and this was an absolute masterpiece.
Jay, USA

Just returned from the film to which we took my 93-year-old mother - an ardent HP fan. I am afraid we were all disappointed and I nearly went to sleep at one point. Too much clever work on computers and failure to drive the film forward with a strong story line. Too long, although amazingly neither the kids, nor mother, fidgeted.
Rupert Knowles, UK & China

I came into this movie loving the books and wanting to like the movie so much. The more I watched the more the flaws leapt out on the screen. While I appreciate its difficult to adapt a book with so much detail in it, surely if would have been possible to make a movie that established the world in a better way?Hopefully with the second movie they will try harder to establish the relation ship between Harry and friends.
David Bailey, USA

Kids, of course, will love it - but what do they know?

Andrew Terry, UK
Persuaded by my teenage children to read the first book I was quickly hooked. The book is better than the film although it was fun to see all the characters coming to life. The actors were wonderful - especially the children. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sheila Madhvani, England

It was brilliant. The cast were all played so well. They kept it to the very important bits in the book. I have read the book and was very impressed by the way it was done. Things were missed out but that can be expected.
Andrew Jones, age 13, UK

Average. Despite the special effects, and the not-so-bad casting, the plot was rushed and superficial. It was like watching the highlights. Kids, of course, will love it. But what do they know?
Andrew Terry, UK

Brilliant film. I was bullied into seeing this film by my four-year-old son. However, I think I enjoyed it more than he did. A must see movie for all aged three to 99.
Sanjeev Gaya, UK

The worst acting by child performers ever. Daniel Radcliffe seems to have no acting ability whatsoever. He gets by on one expression - eyebrows raised, mouth hanging open for every situation. John Williams's music is incredibly annoying - the same repetitive theme keeps occurring every 30 seconds.
Dick Masters, UK

Does it capture the letter of the book? Yes. Does it capture the spirit? No. A good effort, but where's the joy, the whimsy, the magic of Harry?
Jeannine, California, USA

I really was terribly disappointed by the Harry Potter movie. I felt that due to a perfunctory script, that skipped through all the situations but none of the feeling, the viewer was left to watch a watered down, humourless version of the almost faultless books. We can only hope the Lord of the Rings will not fall into the same trap.
H Jones, UK

I loved the movie. However, I do have to agree with previous reviews that character development took a hit. I would have taken at least three hours to include all the special effects and the character development, but I don't think anyone would have complained a bit. Hopefully the producers will have the courage to let the future films be unusually long to accommodate character development.
Craig Theisen, New Jersey, USA

I thought it was great. I love the actor who played Ron. His facial expressions were wonderful. However, I was not such a fan of the Weasley Twins in the film and I would have liked to see more of their tricks. Perhaps it would have made me like them more.
Erin, Canada

You have to remember that this is not Matrix or T2. Its a story and not sci-fi either. So give it some leeway. If u keep this in mind as you go to watch the movie you'll appreciate it more. Worht watching.
Sarah Zaidi, USA

As a Children's Librarian and an avid reader of the books, I had been eagerly awaiting the film for months. I was worried about being disappointed, but felt as others do, that the film was exactly as I had "seen" the books in my imagination! The casting was brilliant and the visuals top-notch. All in all, I would have to agree that it is an exceptionally faithful adaptation of the book - while there were a few things missing, it was necessary to allow the book to work as a film. It was truly as magical an experience as the books - thanks to the splendid work of the cast and crew. I cannot wait for number two!
M Gowans, Canada

It was good, though too loud and I was disappointed at the lack of Cairns in the film - We await the film of the second book with interest

Dennis Nicholson, Glasgow, Scotland
This film is the darkest film I have ever seen that is aimed at children. Parents should think twice before taking very young children (under 10)to see it. JK Rowling knows a lot about pagan rites and these are accurately described in the books. I'd be a lot happier about the wall-to-wall hype on children's TV etc if it wasn't for this.
Dr Frank Wayman, UK

The film is an excellent rendition of the book, and I would recommend it to everyone. However, I feel people who have read the book will be disappointed that the hatred between Potter and Snape is not emphasised or explained enough, and where was Peeves?
Stephanie, England

After reading all the books several times, I can pinpoint who said what etc. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly, and thought that the Quidditch was fantastic. Despite missing and leaving out some of the details and not having enough of the Weasley twins, I thought it was "la crème de la crème"!
Christine, 12, Ireland

The movie was a wonderful adaptation of the book. Most of the time when a book is made into a film, the finished product only slightly resembles the original literature. That's not the case here. Chris Columbus does a wonderful job of follow the ideas of the story, paying attention to important details. The only complaint that I had with the film, was the lack of character development with Snape.
Brian Manriquez, USA

The Harry Potter film is great fun, it's very effective visually, has an excellent soundtrack and good acting. I enjoyed Rupert Grint's performance particularly - but all the children are good, and Daniel Radcliffe certainly looks the part of Harry Potter. Some critics have complained that the film is too faithful to the book - a nonsensical charge as far as I'm concerned. It is as faithful as it can be and needs to be.
Richard Blaber, UK

I am 35 years of age, and until last year, would have dismissed the books as being purely for kids. It just goes to show wrong one can be. I saw the film on the preview weekend: the packed audience was so literally spellbound that they applauded at the end. Considering the time constraints, the adaptation works splendidly. The only criticism I have is the running time itself - far too short!
Chris White, U.K.

Absolutely Smashing, upon my word. Jolly good show...kept me on the edge of my seat. More such films should be made, by Jove.
Julian Windham, England

The film suffered through being too long for a cinematic release and would've been better taken to the small screen in a serialisation that would've allowed the intimacy the book conveys so well. Alan Rickman was by far the best cast actor, bringing Snape truly to life and Rupert Grint was wonderful as Ron. I was a bit disappointed in Daniel and Emma though, but hey, they're still learning.
Scott, UK

Even though the movie is from a series of books for children, I was amazed by the in depth story. At the age of 24, I am into mainly two types of movies - war movies and thought provoking dramas. Well, Harry Potter has made it into my top favourite movies of all time. I know the movie was almost two-and-half-hours long, but sitting in the theatre you would never know. The movie grabs your attention and holds you there the whole time. Good job. It is as great as Star Wars, but in a different type of way. If you have not seen it, please go..
Kent Whiteside, Canada

It was good, though too loud and I was disappointed at the lack of Cairns in the film. We await the film of the second book with interest.
Dennis Nicholson, Glasgow, Scotland

The best book-to-film conversion I have ever seen in my life

Alastair Lawson, UK
Absolutely excellent film - the children are all very good, I liked Ron best of all, Robbie Coltrane is brilliant as Hagrid but best of all the film sticks very closely to the book. Kept a 46-year-old enthralled from start to finish.
Grant, UK

If there are any quibbles, I felt that they maybe concentrated a bit too much on the Philosopher's Stone itself, as opposed to the magic as a whole, but this didn't take away from the movie at all. Of course, the book will always be better, but this is the best film adaptation I have ever seen.
Collin Marshall, Scotland

It is so unbelievable how everyone is just praising this book/movie on witchcraft being introduced to children, and whose curiosity is being awakened to it. Then several years later, after these current children have grown up and start acting out, people again will be wondering "What's gone wrong with society?"
Rudolph MC, USA

I doubt that anyone making the argument that Harry Potter promotes the occult and is anti-Christian has actually seen the film or read the books... they are quite unequivocally about good triumphing over evil. I saw the US premiere yesterday and found the film to be a brilliant adaptation of the book.
Jeff Neilson, US

A very good film but not "Star Wars" calibre. Special effects nothing new but a good story line. I would recommend it to my young friends but I think it has too much hype.
James Jenkins, USA

The predictable hype is annoying to the nth degree, but this is a truly joyous feast of wonder and imagination. Thank you, J.K. for the books and thank you Chris Columbus for bringing them to life. When will the second movie be released? I can't wait!
Robert del Valle, USA

A good film, but could have been better in terms of character development. In the book Harry, Ron and Hermione are all very different characters with their own strengths, weaknesses and traits but this does not really come across in the film. Part of this was because key moments in the book were left out of the film; for example the second Quidditch match where Ron had the set to with Malfoy and friends, and the 'bottles' test where Hermione confirmed herself as the brains of the outfit.
Richard George, UK

I have never read the books, but will now rush this weekend and read the books!

I think the people who say that it glorifies the occult must have had a very misplaced childhood or forgotten what its like to play make believe! It is after all just a children's story, I read Little Red Riding Hood when I was little but I don't go shooting wolves as a result. Get a life!
Mark Ormiston, Manchester, UK

Enough fun to keep all smiling if a little light on laughs - first class performance from Ron Weasley chap though.
Stuart Bickerton , England

A cinema full of children sat without moving for two and a half hours. I couldn't fault it. The casting was especially good.
Kate Priestley, England

This kind of film is very dangerous for children, because of its occult leanings. My friends children all want to learn witchcraft now - this kind of movie making should be thought about much more carefully.
Abayomi Bazuaye, England

It is intriguing and entertaining, but as deadly as anthrax to the souls of young and innocent children. It is full of witchcraft, sorcery and divination which are abominations against the almighty God. Please look at Leviticus 19 in the Bible yourself. They have horrible consequences for your children and your descendants and generations to follow. God bless you.
Paul C, USA

I saw it last weekend with my four children. I thought it was brilliant and want to see it again. My 5-year-old never fidgeted once in the two and a half hours which is highly unusual for her in the cinema. Even my 17 year old son thought it was great and missed a night out to come with us instead!
Jackie, UK

As a witch, who follows the path of Wicca, this is what I have to say about Harry Potter. It is nothing to do with witchcraft as practised in the real world. It is a fantasy, and should be viewed as such.

It is also one of the most brilliant set of books (children's or otherwise) ever written, and the film is magical. Yes it has faults, but nothing is perfect. I would just like to thank the distributors for making the advanced showing just in time for my 30th birthday, and Lego for supplying the other half of my birthday present!
Kath M, 30 years young, UK

I loved it although felt a little silly waiting in the queue without a little person to see it with

Rae, UK
Harry Potter? OK for kids, I suppose. But just wait another month and we'll all be talking about the first Lord of the Rings film, which by all accounts is an artistic and technical sensation, and should make Harry Potter look like an early Mickey Mouse cartoon by comparison. You ain't seen nothing yet!
Matt, England

I loved it although felt a little silly waiting in the queue without a little person to see it with. Having said that, I'm not too sure there were many children actually seeing it, I think the average age of the audience I saw it with was somewhere near 30 and we all loved it
Rae, UK

Haven't seen it yet, but the books were so good, that even if the films aren't as good I won't care, it is just such great escapism.
Richard Kenyon, USA (British)

Despite some negative comments posted I am sure our foreign friends will be dying to make up their own minds. There was no way the film could be as good as the book in under four hours. The makers have done a brilliant job. The Quidditch field surpassed my imagination. The actors were all superb and it is invidious to select any single one for praise, particularly the children. Listening to little children in the audience recognising their favourites as they appeared was a thrill.
Roy (aged 57) England

You're all so lucky to have seen it! It's out here on Dec 6th, and it will be dubbed! It's not fair!
Catherine, Italy

A fabulous film which I enjoyed enormously. Alan Rickman has surpassed himself with a characterisation of Professor Severus Snape which was truly awesome. The pick of actors and actresses was spot on generally. Daniel Radcliffe was obviously a bit nervous at the start of the film, but soon got into the role. There's something for everyone and it is nice to see a relatively happy film when the rest of the world is in crisis. Full marks!
Dr Jon B, England

Having not read the books and seeing all the hype I was not sure what to expect. The special effects were outstanding and cannot be faulted. However the storyline which was a little disjointed in places (for example, Hagrid's dragon had absolutely no effect on the storyline of the film whatsoever) could have been better. I found myself asking my wife (who has read the books) what was going on on a number of occasions.

As this film is primarily made for kids I have no real gripes about it; it entertains the kids, amuses them and they can relate it to the books.

The only real gripes I have are with people who say it promotes the occult. Please people, this is a kids film, let them enjoy it. I am sure that when J K Rowling wrote it she wasn't trying to tell kids to practice black magic and worship Satan.
James Lidington, UK

Excellent film. Cast is too good. Everyone should see it. Editing is teriffic. The art of bringing a book to screen is mastered.
Muralidharan Alagar, UK

Fantastic! I was worried that I would be disappointed but wasn't at all. There were some bits missing but obviously the whole thing couldn't be converted to a film, I would still be sitting in the cinema now if they were.

I was a bit surprised that the potions riddle was missing at the end but then I suppose showing children drinking out of unmarked bottles of strange liquids is not a good idea.
Helen Wainwright, UK

Magical, believable, faithful to the book, great attention to detail, and - perhaps above all - it remains quintessentially and wonderfully British. A great cast and locations. This bodes well for the sequels. 4 out of 5!
Matt, Scotland

It was the best book-to-film conversion I have ever seen in my life. To see the images which JK had put in my mind, up there on the screen with such identical accuracy was astounding. From Privet Drive to Hogsmead Station, I loved the whole lot.

Now I'll have to borrow some more friends' children to have an excuse to see it again.
Alastair Lawson (31 and three quarters), UK

Two and a half hours is just too short for such a great movie. As a 32-year-old PhD holder, I wish I could shout out loud as a kid in the cinema: give me more! My only advice is to read the book before you watch the movie, that will make you enjoy the film even more!
WY Xiao, Belfast (Malaysian)

Why don't you all grow up? It's a kids film! Stop regressing to the womb the lot of you.
Steve, England

Utter delight from start to finish: an astonishingly faithful rendition of the books. Someone plugged a cable into my head and downloaded exactly what I thought Hogwarts, Harry and Hagrid should look like! Everyone involved should feel justifiably proud.
James, UK

Hermione and Ron were great, and Harry too considering that he's an impossible character to play. High point for me was the Quidditch match! Well done to all, 9 out of ten!
Maggie, UK

It was terrible, and I haven't even read the book. Another case of over hyped, and under delivered.
JD, UK

I was truly amazed by how the film made the transition from page to screen. The only criticisms I have is that the second Quidditch game was cut and that Snape's challenge in the final scenes was missing, which helped to define some of the other characters roles within the movie. Also that there was not much on the actual lessons which made up for a great part of the book.
Hazel Stanton, 21, UK

Forget other friends' kids as an excuse to go and see this film, I don't need them. After going to last Saturday night's advance screening, I am going again! I was enthralled from start to finish, my imagination did not run wild as my imagination was up on that large screen for all to see. Absolutely fantastic, bring on the sequels.
John Butt (40 3/4), UK

How can there be so many conflicting responses? I think the film is justifiably one of the best book to movie conversions ever. Those that complain about the occult being an influence, I've been force-fed a book since childhood which tells me that someone died and then was brought back to life, magically fed 5000 people with little food, walked on water and healed sick people with kind words, and many other fanciful images and ideas. Yes, the Bible (author ? and )we all know what a badly written work of fiction that was.
Darren, US/UK

The film follows the book nearly to perfection, maybe it follows the books a little too well as it is definitely the weakest of the four so far. Now the Prisoner of Azkaban - that's the one I want to follow the book exactly.
Craig, UK

As for the Quidditch match, it knocks the socks off the pathetic Star Wars Pod Race

John Mcrorie, Edinburgh

Every once in a while a movie comes along which in my opinion is a true blockbuster movie, and it's here in the form of Harry Potter. Having read all the books I simply adored this movie, the acting by the three children was remarkably good, and was ably assisted by the wondrous Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman and, for me, the star of the film Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid.

It's a film for all age groups. And as for the Quidditch match it knocks the socks off the pathetic Star Wars Pod Race!
John Mcrorie, Edinburgh

What has struck me most about the film is that I have yet to meet someone who imagined the book to be different from the film. The casting, scenery and props were all exquisite. The special effects were good too: wasn't Fluffy cute?

Waiting, with baited breath, for the Chamber of Secrets...
Yvonne, UK

I was expecting great things from this film, having read the first book only a couple of weeks back, but I was afraid that they wouldn't be able to fit everything into two and a half hours. Although the film was excellent from an effects point of view, and the children were generally good in their roles, the film lacked much of what the book was about.

Many story lines were changed or excluded (e.g. the rescue and disposal of Hagrid's dragon, Snape's potions in the last scenes before Voldemort etc), and it seemed to lack the 'essence' of the book. A good film, but not that good.
Emma, UK

I was very disappointed with the film. I thought that it was more a collection of scenes from the book and not a story. The film didn't explain any background to any characters. I think there was far too much hype over the film and it left us disappointed at the end.
Sharron Casady, UK

JK Rowling won the battle but she lost the war

Jim MacMillan, England
The film was great. The only bad thing was that it missed some parts of the book out. I give it 10/10. It was great!
Rebecca, England

Great effects, but doesn't have the same crossover as the books managed. Definitely one for kids to see but adults may be disappointed. Not enough detail paid to Harry's relationship with his teachers - this was pretty much the main storyline in the books, but seems to be lost in the film. 6/10.
Dan, UK

No film can ever be as good as the book, however, I did enjoy the film but wish they had not omitted Hermione's 'test' with Harry and Ron near the end.
Christina, England

JK Rowling won the battle but she lost the war. The film is too faithful to the book and will only thrill the very young. The rest of us may feel Professor Dumbledore awarding Harry and his friends extra housepoints is a pretty tame ending to the most eagerly awaited film of the year.
Jim McMillan, England

I loved every minute of the film. The effects in it are brilliant. The film is exciting with lots of surprises. My eight-year-old son loved it too. Can't wait for the next film!
Lisa, UK

After seeing the film last Saturday, I was awe struck, it brought to life my own view of the book completely. It will be enjoyed by adults and kids alike, and will no doubt become a classic. Bring on film two!
Claire Nichol, England

The film definitely stayed true to the book. My 8-year-old son, who has read the books several times, loved it. If you bear in mind that the story is meant for children then the badly jointed plot and unexplained happenings are bearable. This goes for the other books in the series too. Children tend to see straight past this and love it!
Wendy, UK

Well worth it for all fans of the novels, and for the chance to see a budding child actor who will rise to great things (Emma Watson)

Tim Carding-Allen, UK
A great fan of fantasy literature in general, and an avid reader of the books (despite being initially prejudiced against them by the hype), I found the film ... interesting. Viewed as a visual presentation of highlights from the book, it is stunning, with excellent casting throughout and mostly superb acting (Dumbledore was not quite as 'twinkly' as I would have liked, and some of the adults seemed to be treating this as 'surface acting' - NOT Alan Rickman).

However, taken as a film apart from the book, it suffers from weak structure and poor editing - some of the structural problems were inherited from the book (Rowling's structure improves with each novel, but from a shaky start), but the editing causes some real discontinuities. Nevertheless, well worth it for all fans of the novels, and for the chance to see a budding child actor who will rise to great things (Emma Watson).
Tim Carding-Allen, UK

Its just fantastic, I'd read all the books and was prepared for disappointment, but there wasn't any. The changes made worked well, unlike those changes made to Captain Corelli. It is a shame the cinema seats were so uncomfortable!
Dave P, UK

I came away looking forward to the next instalment, and best of all not feeling like I'd just sat down to see a 2.5 hour commercial for a computer game

John B, UK
As someone who hasn't read the books or been caught up in all the hype, I thought the film was outstanding. The casting is superb and is worth a second view.
DB, Scotland

I got dragged off to see this film against my better judgement, never having read any HP and fully expecting it to fall into the category of all the other over hyped Hollywood trash which usually disappoints an expectant fan base.

Not so, although obviously a children's film I came away looking forward to the next instalment, and best of all not feeling like I'd just sat down to see a 2.5 hour commercial for a computer game.
John B, UK

Harry who? Potter you say ... sorry never heard of him.
Mark Bell, UK

Having read all the books I was concerned that the film would not follow it completely. Not so. The film matched almost every picture I had in my head from reading the book. Its definitely directed for kids, however, some kids just happen to be 28 years old.
Simon , England

I thoroughly enjoyed the film from start to finish, the casting was perfect and I simply can't bring myself to tear it to pieces as to which bits were the best and so forth. It was all absolutely wonderful. I agree that I would love to see the unedited version featuring Rik Mayall as Peeves. How Peeves could have been cut out is beyond me!
Helen, UK

From an adult's point of view I found the film enjoyable despite only reading part of the book. However I got more pleasure watching the reaction of my eight-year-old daughter. She has read all the books several times over and sat spellbound throughout the film. You could see by the expressions on her face that this is a top film.
Francis Empson, England

As an adult viewer, I was impressed with the special effects. The surround sound gave the impression that there really were magical objects whizzing around the theatre. I thought the story was good but lacked a subtle adult dimension. I recently saw Shrek which worked brilliantly both for myself and our kids for different reasons. What really mattered though was the reaction of my seven- year-old daughter. She thought it was truly magical even though she did need a loo break at a critical moment! I reckon 9/10 for kids, 7/10 for adults.
Bill Handley, UK

I thought that the film was an excellent interpretation of the book by JK Rowling. I would recommend it to people of all ages, a "must see".
Leo, UK

If they had just stuck to the plot of the book and not cut out any scenes then the film would be better. As it is, it's just a special effects film with little or no character development from anyone (excepept maybe Harry).

This has got to be the most hyped film ever and it just doesn't live up to the hype. The book is better.
Rod MacLean, Scotland

Rod MacLean from Scotland, did you read a different book to me? I thought that the whole film followed the plot exactly, apart from when Norbert is sent away. 11 of us went to see the preview showings last weekend, six adults and five children, and every single one of us thought the film was fantastic. A fantastic book written, and film made. Hats off to J K Rowling and Chris Columbus. We cannot wait for the next book or film.
Karl, UK

At 29, married (without children) I fell in love with all the books and could not read them fast enough so I have been following progress of the film with great expectation and had preview tickets booked.

I already knew how the characters had been translated for the screen (from looking on the internet) and they were all visually accurate but would they live up to the hype?

I thought that Hermione and Ron were fabulous, exactly the same characters I had in my mind but Harry, although good, lacked the depth we have come to expect of him. This is not by any means a criticism of Daniel, more a compliment to Joanna R who painted such a complete picture of Harry and created such a special boy.

The teachers were excellent and Hagrid, played with suitable comedy by Robbie Coltrane, inspired more than a few laughs from the audience. The special effects are magical, the quidditch fast, furious and very dangerous and the troll and Voldemort both suitably grim.

'Ron' was superb in the role, he clearly loved doing it

David Hopkins, UK
So final verdict, book or film? Of course it would have to be the books but this is one adaptation that does the novel justice.
Nadina, UK

I saw this film on the preview weekend. Although the film is very long (about two and a half hours) you really don't feel it. It covers most of the book with very minor alterations or exceptions. I very much enjoyed this film, although I thought that maybe people who hadn't read the book might bit a little confused in places. The Quidditch match was probably the best sporting scene I've ever seen - much better than the Pod Racer scene in Phantom Menace. Can't wait for the next film!
Paul Hardwick, UK

I was very impressed. I thought Daniel Radcliffe played Harry to perfection - he was exactly as I'd imagined him and a lot of thought had obviously gone into playing the part. It would have been so easy to play Harry as a super-hero and I was glad that he didn't. Robbie Coltrane was excellent, too. The special effects were very good, but I was just a little disappointed with the Quidditch match, which seemed more like an extract from Rollerball at times. Diagon Alley was wonderful, but I wanted to see more of it.

The only criticism I have is that the film suffered badly at the hands of the editors, which I thought made it seem disjointed at times. I hope they release an unedited version sometime.

No doubt the odd slip-ups will keep the chat-rooms busy, too.

Looking forward to the Chamber of Secrets!
Julie, UK


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