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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 08:06 GMT
Harry Potter: Press views
Daniel Radcliffe plays the young wizard
The film stays true to the book
Press reviews of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

The Sunday Times

Columbus (the director) has erred on the side of caution: his film is afraid to let his young audience experience the kind of dark moments that make a film stay with you for the rest of your life. The trouble with this Harry is that he's all sweetness and light - when it was his sadness and scars that made him a hero of our time. If only Columbus had been a bit more brave, a bit more like Harry, he'd have a made a far better film.

The Guardian (Alex, aged 12)

I can't believe I'm feeling this but I think the problem with the film was that they kept too close to the book. The director has thrown in a little bit of everything which meant some of the atmosphere of the book was lost because important scenes were too short. Norbert, the baby dragon, was only in it for a minute and he is one of my favourite characters. Maybe it would have been better to cut out a few things altogether and let some of the other scenes run on a bit longer.


Many set-pieces - the Quidditch match especially - are conducted with speed and extraordinary violence, as if aimed at the vital teenage multiplex audience. Some of the more terrifying moments made me jump out of my seat and would surely traumatise unsuspecting six and seven-year-olds. But there is much to enjoy in this headlong extravaganza. There are fights and frights and beardy-wizardy wisdom from Robert Harris as the ancient headmaster Dumbledore, and a fantastically bombastic score from John Williams.

The Observer

When Mary Poppins descended from the Kensington clouds, her mission was to remind Jane and Michael's father to love them. When the wizards swoop down on the Muggles, it's to remind Harry that his mother loved him but he must carry on without her, a tougher message for tougher times. In the cinema no one seemed to notice. Laughter was frequent, excitement audible. But I, who have always seen film as the novel's poor, parasitical relation, am for once glad that a movie has improved on the book.

The Daily Telegraph

While ardent Harry Potter fans will bemoan the omission of some details that help to make the books so involving - there is no Sorting Hat Song, Peeves the ghost is missing, the opening chapters are severely curtailed - the film is a treat, both visually and emotionally. Like all good stories, it has its poignant moments (when Harry confronts the images of his dead parents) and its scary ones (when Voldemort is first seen, drinking the blood of a dead unicorn).

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