Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone ★★★★

Part of my initial encounter with this film is still fresh in my mind. I was absolutely unaware of the existence of the books, and I don't believe I experienced the frenzy; it was more like the new kids film that week, and me and one of my closest friends went to watch it in this theater that no longer exists and has been replaced by a call center. And twenty years later, viewing it again, although I don't remember much of the eight films, this one I remembered more than I expected, and it was amazing to relive a lot of those childhood memories.

In terms of the film itself, you can instantly see how and why it became such a hit. Our heroes and supporting cast are fantastic, its like they were born to bring these characters to life on the big screen. Although the cinematography obviously pegs it in the early 2000s era, I was astonished that many of the visual effects still hold up extremely well, even better than many films nowadays. Also, while Chris Columbus would not have worked on the much darker and matured entries in the franchise, the filmmaker does a terrific job this time integrating the much matured, mysterious components with the whimsy of children's pictures, particularly those from the 1980s and 1990s. It's a perfect blend that adds to the film's exhaustive runtime, which is primarily spread out across the whole build up of this universe, a world so vast that I can understand why it would need so much time, and to the film's benefit, I never felt bored.

All in all, infusing the film with a sense of wonder that only "Lord of the Rings" could surpass, it has its flaws and feels at times quite juvenile and silly for my personal taste, but it is still an excellent beginning.

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