If you missed the inaugural post in our new series of articles that we’re calling “Bandwagon Corner,” basically we’re going back and reading and/or watching series that it seems like everyone else has read or seen, but that we haven’t. The first series that we’re experiencing for Bandwagon Corner is the Harry Potter series. Feel free to click here and go back to the original article to find out what led to this. Don’t worry, we’ll wait… Okay, back now? So basically what’s going on is that Violet will be reading each of the Harry Potter novels (Josh isn’t much of a book reader), and each time she finishes, she and Josh will watch the corresponding Harry Potter movie, and report back on their thoughts about it. Read on to find out what we thought about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone…
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Josh’s Thoughts on
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:
So, I have not read any of the Harry Potter books. I think it was something a little past my time, really. I was 15 when the first book came out, so I viewed the books as “kid-ish”. But when the movie came out, back in 2001, although I was nearly 20, and still thought the whole concept seemed beneath my age demographic, I gave the movie a shot. To be fair, I was pretty jaded watching it, given my preconceptions for this movie, already resolved to it being too childish for myself. I finished the movie underwhelmed, and unmemorable, despite how both the movies and books had begun to form its following already.
I never saw another Harry Potter movie after that. At least not in full. Surfing through cable channels I think they would air them occasionally. I would stop for a moment to see what was going on, but remained resolute with my decision as to what this movie was to me.
The thing is, there are a lot of things I should like about this movie, I am told by several people including good friends David and Tamara. But I remained stubborn, and steadfast. I would not give in. Until…
There are a couple factors that changed my mind on this. The first being Eddie Redmayne. This sounds strange doesn’t it? Well, most Harry Potter fans probably know he is starring in the spin-off movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. After seeing The Theory of Everything and then a trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I became very interested in that movie. Then I decided it could be a good idea to revisit the whole Harry Potter…Octalogy? As it could have some insightful stuff worth knowing when watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, even though the former is a prequel.
Then Violet came up with the idea for her “Bandwagon Corner“, so that pretty much resolved me to watching it. Violet would read the books, I would watch the movie with her, and then she would be begin the next book, and we would continue that pattern.
So that’s what led to me giving the first movie another shot. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was watched again. I didn’t remember too much about it, since seeing it some 15 years ago (has it really been 15 years?!). But one thing I do remember–it is certainly geared towards children. The weird “Cinderella” theme in the beginning with Harry being locked in a closet, while his cousin essentially runs the house just seemed really bothersome, as it was very unrealistic. But once all that was over, and we began making our way to Hogwarts, I actually got into the movie a little bit. There were certainly a lot of moments that made me roll my eyes, but the lore of Hogwarts and that world was very intriguing. There are actually some pretty thought provoking moments too, with one of my favorite being when Harry Potter is looking into the magic mirror, and Dumbledore tells him how the mirror works, and provides a pretty philosophical idea to Harry Potter.
Unfortunately, as the movie came to its climax, I became rather bored with the movie. Harry Potter and his trio’s investigation just seemed a bit of a yawn. To top everything off, it turns out that Harry Potter was almost the reason that the Sorcerer’s Stone ended up in the wrong hands in the first place.
So after the second viewing of the film, there were certainly a lot more things I could appreciate this time around. I think maybe being a little older allowed me to analyze the film a little more objectively. What I really hope is that as the films continue, and the characters age, we will see more sophisticated stories and less of the cheesy, over the top type stuff that is in any kids movies. I certainly see the potential in this film, and from many people who like the movies, they say it only gets better, so here’s to hoping!
Violet’s Thoughts on
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:
I could tell within the first few pages of reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that I would like it. Despite my best efforts to avoid the Harry Potter franchise for the past 16 years (literally half of my life), I had to admit to myself that I had become hooked within just a few pages. Some books take a little while to get into, but not this one. There were very interesting and mysterious things happening from the get-go, things that I was intrigued by and wanted to know more about. The writing reminded me of the Chronicles of Narnia series, which I read when I was a child, and in fact have re-read them in my adult life, around the time the movies were coming out. So maybe that’s part of why I was able to fall into the book so easily, because it felt familiar, in a way.
However, it was evident that it was targeted toward a much younger demographic than myself, and this being the first time that I read it (rather than returning to it after having read it as a child), I felt a little too old to be reading it. But I was still able to enjoy it all the same. Despite being targeted to a younger age group, I felt it had some good twists and turns, and I’ll admit, that I wasn’t expecting things to turn out the way that they did in regards to the bad guy. I had been expecting a simple children’s book, so I was pleasantly surprised when the storyline and resolution turned out to be more complex than I originally thought it would be.
The day I finished the book I was actually able to watch the movie as well. I had discovered that our local library has all of the Harry Potter movies on both DVD and Blu-Ray, which you can check out for free, so we stopped by the library on the way home from Josh picking me up from the train station after work, and picked it up, then went home and watched it. As I mentioned in the previous article, I had seen part of the first movie several years ago, which had reinforced my attitude of non-interest in the Harry Potter franchise. But it turned out that I didn’t actually remember anything from it. As far as book to movie adaptations go, I thought it was a pretty good adaptation, in regards to content. Sure, there were a few things that were changed or left out, but for the most part, I could understand those changes, and in some places agreed with the change because it made more sense for streamlining the movie. Regardless, the movie was still granted quite a long run time (2 hours and 39 minutes), and stayed quite true to the book for the most part.
However, the parts that I found a bit too childish in the book were even more so compounded by the movie. The over-the-top acting and overall cheesiness just made those things even more bothersome. The primitive CGI was all too noticeable, as were the numerous scenes that utilized very fake looking green screen effects. Of course, I do have to acknowledge the fact that this movie was made 15 years ago, so obviously the technology back then wasn’t what it is today, but it was still enough to distract me from the movie.
All in all though, I was able to enjoy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (both the book and the movie) for what it was, and look forward to delving more into this whimsical world of Harry Potter as the characters get older.