In 2001, Harry Potter at the Sorcerer’s Stone has been freed. The film, based on the book of the same name, was a huge hit. The already popular series attracted a new legion of fans, and the success was just beginning. 20 years later, the Harry Potter the series is just as popular and beloved as ever.
Few films stand the test of time in this way, but Sorcerer’s Stone not only does it, but apparently attracts new fans every day. From casting to writing, here are a few ways the movie still manages to hold its own 20 years later.
Once in a while, a film’s cast is so perfect that it’s almost impossible to imagine someone else in the role. Harry Potter at the Sorcerer’s Stone proves it, because each role is perfectly interpreted. With the exception of Dumbledore actor Richard Harriss, who sadly passed away in 2002 and was replaced by the equally great Michael Gambon, nearly every main character retained their voice acting throughout the series.
Even those who were fans of the books before the movie had a hard time reading the books and not imagining the actors. Not every film is as accurate as the others, but the characters are as accurate as possible without bringing the books themselves to life.
While it’s one thing to cast adults perfectly, it’s another thing to cast children. The casting directors knew exactly what they were doing, and the child actors in the role are arguably better cast than the adults. Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson play Harry, Ron and Hermione respectively. This main trio remains in the series for all 8 films and fans wouldn’t want it any other way.
Every aspect of these characters is skillfully brought to life, except for certain designs such as Hermione’s teeth. The secondary characters are also played brilliantly. Tom Felton’s slimy role as Draco is every bit as iconic as the main three, and there isn’t much that can be said about Matthew Lewis’ role as Neville that hasn’t been said. Even though some actors belong to different Hogwarts houses than their characters, they are all perfectly cast.
The intriguing story
Often when a book is made into a movie, a lot of the story is lost. While this was of course the case with Harry Potter, most of the incredible story has remained intact. And while the book is largely responsible for the big story, the film’s writers should be applauded for bringing it to life. The story takes the cliched plot point of a chosen one and makes it fresh and intriguing.
Fantasy is a difficult genre to approach in an original way, and this is one of the best examples of it done right. Some Harry Potter the movies are more accurate than the rest, but the story is still big enough to be enjoyable so many years later.
Most effects hold
Although we are far from the effects observed today, Harry Potter at the Sorcerer’s Stone has effects that still last… most of the time. Certain sequences like the battle of the Trolls or the misadventure of Nevile’s broom are not very pleasant to watch. Others like Quirrel’s confrontation with Harry or the Quidditch scene are.
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For the most part, the effects are fantastic for the era and still look great at their best, and passable at their worst. Compared to other films of the time, there is often no comparison. Harry Potter didn’t break new ground in special effects, but took what existed at the time and pushed it to its limits.
Note by John Williams
If John Williams is attached to a movie, fans know right away that the score will be something special. Harry Potter at the Sorcerer’s Stone is no exception. The music in this film is exactly as it should be: magical. The stunning soundtrack really seems to come from a world where magic exists. The listener may feel like they are witnessing something breathtaking or fear that something sinister is lurking around the corner.
While every piece of music is great, Hedwig’s Theme is one of the best themes ever released. The track has become the theme for all things wizarding and is the unofficial theme for all things magical. Williams brought his A-game, and Harry Potter’s the music fits perfectly with the tastes of HEY and IndianaJones.
The magical atmosphere
A film’s atmosphere is one of the most important ingredients for success, and the filmmakers of this film knew it. When the movie starts, fans don’t just start a movie; from the opening logos, they are transported into a world full of magic and wonder. From the music to the scenography, this film overflows with atmosphere.
The two best examples of this are the scenes set in the Forbidden Forrest and of course, the beautiful halls of Hogwarts. The film makes viewers feel whimsical or uncomfortable depending on what the film wants to convey. It’s one of the best uses of atmosphere, and it extends to the next seven films as well.
As the series progressed, the tone became noticeably darker and darker. In the first film, things were a little lighter for the most part. There were certainly darker moments, like Voldemort’s introduction, but they were offset by happier scenes. the main takeaway was a boy who’s lived a rather dreary life realizing there’s more to him.
In later films, even the happiest moments were offset by Voldemort’s impending dread. The threat of the Dark Lord’s return was certainly there too, but not as extreme. The happier tone mixed with slightly darker tones makes Tthe sorcerer’s stone a perfect film for rainy days.
Harry Potter at the Sorcerer’s Stone was never meant to be a one-off movie. Four books had already been released by the time the first movie hit theaters, so everyone thought there would be more. That being said, the movie can be considered its own movie. There are a few lines that imply Voldemort isn’t done with Harry, but for the most part the film doesn’t hint at any follow-up.
The film ends on a hopeful note for Harry, and hypothetically the story could have ended there. As far as he knows he has defeated Voldemort again and he has Hogwarts as his new home. Luckily, the story didn’t end there, and fans got seven more movies, each loving it. Even if Harry Potter fans choose to ignore some glaring flaws.
The movie is timeless
Die-hard fans know that the Harry Potter story is set in the 90s. However, that cannot be inferred by watching the first film alone. Outside of the beginning, the majority of the movie takes place in the wizarding world, so modern things aren’t seen. This gives the film a timeless feel that contributes to its longevity in pop culture.
This fact means that the film cannot be dated so easily. Future generations can watch it and not scratch their heads trying to figure out when the movie is set. With such a timeless film, it’s no surprise that it recently had a 20th anniversary special filled with moving quotes from the Harry Potter to throw.
There are plenty of other reasons why the film has lasted so long, but arguably the biggest reason is the show’s legacy on pop culture. Even before the first film hit theaters, four books had been released and established themselves as one of the most popular literary franchises of all time.
The film introduced the character of Harry Potter to even more people and sealed the fate of the young wizard forever. The legacy is what ensures that the film and the series as a whole will likely never be forgotten in the eyes of pop culture. Soon, the children will gather around their grandparents to let them discover the story of the boy who lived.
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