Film Review © 2001 by Trip Reynolds


Directed by Chris Columbus; Screenplay by Steve Kloves based on the book by J.K. Rowling; Produced by David Heyman; Executive Produced by Michael Barnathan.

Starring Daniel Radcliffe (as Harry Potter), Emma Watson (as Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (as Ron Weasley), Maggie Smith (as Professor McGonagall), Robbie Coltrane (as Hagrid), Alan Rickman (as Professor Snape), Richard Harris (as Albus Dumbledore), Richard Griffiths (as uncle vernon Dursley), Ian Hart (as Professor Quirrell/Voldemort), and John Hurt (as Mr. Ollivander).

I just wasn't impressed.

Story of a boy wizard attending a "how to be a good wizard school" was remarkably uneventful. The sole purpose of this film was to introduce characters and special effects, and neither were particularly impressive. In particular, with or without the magic - at no point in the film did Potter's existence appear in jeopardy. We don't become involved or care about Potter, we just watch him. Yada. Yada. Yada.

On the other hand, "Dragonslayer" made in 1981, is an exciting film about Galen, an error prone sorcerer's apprentice (portrayed by Peter MacNicol) who must defeat a very big and very nasty fire breathing dragon - while also saving a damsel in distress! You become very involved in Galen's peril because, after seeing the destruction and death caused by the dragon, you know the immediate consequences if Galen fails.

"Harry Potter" has a who's who cast of legendary English actors including Richard Harris, Maggie Smith and John Hurt. Clearly, the film does not suffer from weak performances by an exceptional ensemble cast, but does suffer from an uninspired script and overly pretentious direction.

Film is directed with pretentious importance by Chris Columbus.

Film has an unbearably long running length of 142 minutes.

Recommendation: It's strictly a cable movie! Instead, rent "Dragonslayer." It much more fun and exciting.