Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone ★★★½

70

Hadn't seen the Harry Potter series in full in quite some time, so I figured I'd make Philosopher's Stone my initial selection for autumn viewing. This first entry honestly holds up incredibly well. It's a joyous, whimsical kids movie, with delightful world-building that is strengthened by the ensemble cast and a genuine sense of magic. If this movie can be categorized as anything, it's one long introduction and an exposition dump in its entirety, but it's still super evocative, and it doesn't really feel its length in comparison to other films in the series. The scene on Halloween night where a troll appears in the dungeon while all of the kids are being served nothing but candy in the great hall? Hogwarts has always been incompetently managed and I love it.

Shoutout to John Williams' score, which is about as iconic as anything he's ever written, and another John: John Hurt - who kills it as Garrick Ollivander in a one scene knockout performance. Also worth mentioning is Richard Harris' (RIP) role as Dumbledore, which is magical in a way I can't fully describe. As much as I love Michael Gambon, I would've liked to see Harris complete the series. The hospital scene between Dumbledore and Harry towards the end of this movie is so heart-warming.