Magic, wonder and amazement - and you don't even feel like you are back in nursery school.
Although a young magician-in-training, the title character in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has found a way to enchant a diversified audience profile.
The movie exemplifies the formula for success - appealing visual effects and an enticing score complementing a charming story line. Of course, it can never hurt to include extreme hype in the formula.
Following the release of four popular Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling, the premiere of the film attracted swarms of movie-goers that were not disappointed with director Chris Columbus' adaptation.
The film follows the exploits of the eccentric Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) whose hidden magic tendencies have been repressed by his aunt and uncle for 10 years. When a giant named Hagrid informs Potter of his true abilities, he gets more than he bargained for when he is shipped to Hogwart School of Witchcraft to train to be a master magician.
The movie's action begins at the academy, where Potter, accompanied by two new friends, undergoes numerous adventures, even battling the forces of evil within the school.
Visually, Potter has some stunning scenes, namely the Quidditch match (an intense sport where athletes compete on flying broomsticks). The scene is reminiscent of another high special effects flick, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.
Musically, John Williams composed a more than fitting score that has just enough intrigue and suspense to captivate the listener and navigate the story line as it unfolds.
The best attribute of the first release in the series is its mature charm. The mystical characters that make up the movie, with all their eccentricities, are what keep the audience entertained. These same characters also manage to appeal to an adult audience by avoiding slapstick comedy, which is typical of most youth-targeted films.
However, Harry Potter does appeal to everyone's inner child through the stunning cinematography and visual effects that are rampant through the film. Potter's magical adventures are a pleasant break from violent action films. No machine guns, just a magic wand.
Besides the epic running time of more than two hours, the only improvement that could be made is the casting of the new master magician, himself. Radcliffe, who played Potter, appeared very flat and less appealing on screen compared to his co-stars and the grand scenery surrounding him.
All in all, the movie was a huge step in what is destined to be a Potter dynasty.
Rating: B+