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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
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Genre:Fantasy
Year:2001
Rating:PG
Length:2h 32mins
Cast:Chris Columbus, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint

A remarkably faithful adaptation of J. K. Rowling's bestselling children's novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone brings its characters vividly to life and presents their supernatural adventures with verve and imagination. Director Chris Columbus (Bicentennial Man) hews closely if not slavishly to Rowling's original, but his few embellishments enhance the yarn's cinematic effectiveness. Daniel Radcliffe is enormously appealing as Harry, the wistful and gifted orphan whose life changes radically when he is accepted into the Hogwarts School for aspiring young wizards. Accompanied by new friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), the bespectacled sorcerer-in-training makes a name for himself and figures prominently in the perilous search for a long-lost talisman. Fans of Rowling's books will be delighted with the film's visualizations of their favorite Potter people, including headmaster Dumbledore (Richard Harris), professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith), and gamekeeper Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). The special effects are truly dazzling, but Columbus doesn't rely solely on virtuoso visuals to thrill his viewers; he takes time to flesh out the characters and imbue their surroundings with the proper mystical atmosphere. Ultimately, what he creates isn't just a rousing fantasy film -- it's a unique, magical little world that will envelop and entrance all who venture near. Ed Hulse

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