So... let's start with: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
|The book that started it all.|
Sorcerer's Stone (or SS) has gotten some flack over the years - many say that it is not as good or as interesting as the companion books that follow. I believe that SS does tend to fly below the radar in that respect. It's not the book I'm going back to for an HP fix; however, it is the book that started it all. It will always hold a special place in my heart because of its ability to set up the world so perfectly that I want to read the next installment.
SS, while not Rowling's best work, is certainly a wonderful way to start the series and is on level for the age group that should begin reading the series. She also sets things up from the beginning that come into play later, so a reread of SS can be a lot of fun. When you know who Sirius Black is, it is fun to hear him mentioned in Chapter 1 and knowing that Ron gets Dumbledore's deluminator makes Dumbledore's first moments even more awesome. Even knowing Snape's story makes you care more about his attitude toward Harry.
And... some of my favorite moments from the series are in SS: the sorting hat is a favorite, learning about Voldemort and Harry for the first time, and the Dursleys (they're just so freakin' awful). And you have to admit the twist at the end with Quirrell being the bad guy was pretty good for a book meant for 11 year olds!
It has been a little while since I have sat down and watched the entire first movie from start to finish. Every time it's on ABC family, I do have to stop what I'm doing and put it on, so I've seen it all in bits and pieces multiple times over the last few months.
The thing I always remember about SS is that we were all so nervous about them messing up the world. I was 15 when the movie came out and I just knew that Steve Kloves and Christopher Columbus were going to do something I wouldn't like with MY story. I mean, it's a lot of pressure on this movie - it sets up the entire wizarding world and Hogwarts. You want it to look like it does in our heads.
There was a point I realized it would be ok though - they played a clip from SS - the one where Harry visits Ollivanders and gets his wand. The dialogue was perfect, Harry and Hagrid looked just like the book's description, and the scene was awe inspiring and creepy. I loved it. I knew they could do the book justice.
The movie does a great job of taking scenes from your head and making them real. I though the invisibility cloak was fantastic in the movie - I loved seeing it work instead of just imagining it. Actually seeing Harry sit in front of the Mirror of Erised and being glum at Christmas brought those moments alive for me.
Plot: Not much was left out of the first movie (the book was under 500 pages this time - that helps!), but I did feel like the kids solving the mystery was done very quickly. It was like... And now we know the answer to the whole puzzle! It took us two seconds to figure it out! A little silly in my thoughts.
The acting: I know, they were so young, but some of the acting really sucks in the first movie.
My Big Whiny Complaint:
I think the bigger over all issue with the movies compared to the books is the fact that some of the little touches Jo carefully puts in the books get lost in the movies. She sets up these characters and games and ideas that happen in each book - Peeves is throughout the books causing trouble, wizard's chess is something the boys play almost constantly throughout the books, and they are always sitting around doing homework - in the movies we're lucky if there's a shot of them working at all. At least class seems to happen more in the 1st movie than many of the others. I think it's a problem the movies consistently had; they always left out these little things and it started with the first movie - case in point: Peeves was never brought in because he was never introduced.
Anyway, that's my take. I do think that as a whole piece, SS the book is more rereadable than SS the movie is rewatchable. I think pieces and scenes will always be things I'll watch, but I'm far more likely to reread than to rewatch - the little touches and my imagination just had so much more to it as far as I'm concerned.