Why “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” Is the Most Underrated Film Adaptation
When looking back on the Harry Potter film franchise, it’s easy to get caught up in the final battle against Voldemort. Why? Because we become so involved in the epic nature of the Triwizard Tournament, Dumbledore’s Army, and the Battle of Hogwarts that we forget to appreciate the earlier, more humble films in the franchise.
But like with Fawkes, the birth is just as important as the journey and the end.
So without further ado, here’s a list of reasons why we should give the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a Fawkes-style rebirth of appreciation (minus the fire and feathers, of course).
1. The Soundtrack
Do, do, do, do, do (pause) do, do, do, (pause) do, do, do, do, do, do, doooo. You only have to hum the first few notes of “Hedwig’s Theme” for almost everyone in the world to know exactly which franchise you’re talking about. How amazing is that? Starting on November 14, 2001, the world began to learn Harry’s name. We have composer John Williams to thank for the perfect blend of celesta and piano that introduces the audience to the bewitching world of Harry Potter.
2. Classic Visual Effects
The amount of work that went into designing and creating the visual effects and stage design in Sorcerer’s Stone is unbelievable. A look at detailed design sketches of Gringotts goblins and Diagon Alley only proves this. The creative design of the wizarding world and bright, sepia-toned filmography adds another layer of physical texture to the world. It is this filmography that powerfully illustrates the ancient magical history behind the towering stone walls of Hogwarts. Whether it’s through the CGI of the Hogwarts ceiling candles, (the still adorably cute) Fluffy, or the Hogwarts ghosts, the world in Sorcerer’s Stone only ages with nostalgia and grace.
3. Origins of the Golden Trio
This film holds up its nostalgic value as we get to see the earliest point in the relationships between the golden trio, in particular, when the three sit and talk together for the first time on the Hogwarts Express. The train represents both the beginning of the golden trio’s journey to Hogwarts and their tempestuous journey as friends.
4. Vomiting the Snitch
During the Sorcerer’s Stone film, the wizarding sport Quidditch is materialized, and it does not disappoint. The mix of revealing shots and lightning-fast action clips of the Slytherin vs. Gryffindor game hooks you in, in turn cleverly making you root for Harry in search of the Golden Snitch. The real peril in Quidditch is highlighted even before the game starts as Madam Hooch warns, in a dire tone, “Now I want a nice clean game, from all of you.”
5. A Hell of a Plot Twist
The formidable portrayal of Snape (by Alan Rickman) as a darkly suspicious man makes Harry’s assumption of him to be involved with Voldemort realistic and has you questioning Snape’s own morals. You even feel an ironic sense of guilt when you discover his innocence at this point.
6. Voldemort in His Weakest Form
In Sorcerer’s Stone, we see Voldemort at his weakest physically. In the spooky scene in front of the Mirror of Erised, he is revealed to us as a mere parasite – living on the back of Quirrell’s head and unable to even withstand the touch of Harry. Voldemort crumbles away into dust. Disturbing, right? The scene leaves the watcher with a sense of relief and foreboding as Voldemort’s spirit then flies straight through Harry.
7. Childhood Hope
My utmost favorite thing about this film is the power of childhood hope. It is the hope of the young actors that in turn portrays the hope that drives the golden trio. This hope is powerful enough to drive them through the dangerous challenges and eventually drive Harry to fend off Voldemort. It is the hope for justice that allows the characters to form friendships and even threaten them (10 points to Neville Longbottom!).
So when people ask me what my favorite film adaptation is, I will ALWAYS say Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. For me, the film is like a warm hug from a friend I’ve grown up with. But most of all, the film is a promise that the world of Harry Potter will always be alive in our hearts.
As I return to my partially Muggle existence (for every Potterhead is part magic) I will reiterate what Harry himself said as he hopped back onto the Hogwarts Express at the end of his first year: “I’m not going home, not really.” ϟ