Harry Potter

It pains me, but also delights me to disclose the fact that the "Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone" (2001) film adaptation, known as the "Sorcerer’s Stone" here in the United States, turned twenty years old this November!

Unbelievable, right?

Two decades have passed since Chris Columbus brought J.K. Rowling’s beloved book of the same name about The Boy Who Lived and his introduction into the magical world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to cinemas across the globe. 

For the Muggles unfamiliar with the story or those who simply live under a rock like the Dursley’s, the movie follows the titular orphan Harry Potter who is thrust into a world of magic when he receives a letter to attend Hogwarts, a wizarding boarding school. There, Harry realizes that he famously conquered the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, as a baby, meets fellow witch and wizard Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley who he befriends, and uncovers a plot to steal the infamous Philosopher’s Stone with the help of his friends. The film launched the acting careers of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson who portrayed Harry, Ron and Hermione respectively while also featuring a tremendous ensemble of standout British actors like the late Richard Harris and Alan Rickman. 

The film premiered in the United Kingdom on Nov. 10, 2001, and was subsequently released in the United States on Nov. 16 that same year. Viewed globally as a critical and commercial success, "Philosopher’s Stone" grossed $974 million at the worldwide box office, later crossing over $1 billion in re-releases. Additionally, it spawned seven sequels and a spinoff series, so you might say mischief managed.

I view "Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone" as a whimsical, colorful adventure that I absolutely love nearly twenty years later. The cast, particularly the three leads, are exceptional and are having the time of their lives. John Seale’s cinematography jumps off the screen and transports you to the Wizarding World of Hogwarts even if some of the CGI is a little dated. It still looks great. While I can’t speak for the other films, the first installment of the "Harry Potter" films is one of the most well-realized and faithful book-to-film adaptations I’ve ever seen adapted to the screen, and I believe that’s why this movie is so successful. It honors the source material, even if some content is cut out or slightly altered. Overall, this is a fantastic freshman foray into the life of Harry Potter that stands the test of time as a true classic for kids and adults alike, regardless of race, sex, orientation, etc.

You’re also in luck because the movie is being re-released in theaters soon in the “Magical Movie Mode” version which allows the audience to learn insight into the filmmaking secrets behind the movie, learn spell incantations, face dark creatures and answer trivia. If you don’t catch it in theaters, it’ll be available in stores on Blu-ray and DVD or you can stream the whole franchise on HBO Max!

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