British author J.K. Rowling has created the most influential fictional character of the twenty first century with her four Harry Potter books. Harry is a modern literary creation worthy of Roald Dahl and Charles Dickens. All three authors have created the archetypal Western hemispheric hero; a young individual is born in an impoverished situation, perseveres through hard work and moral virtue. One can write doctorate dissertations comparing Harry Potter with Charlie Bucket and David Copperfield.
American Director Chris Columbus persevered with Warner Brothers Studio executives by making "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone" with an all British cast. Columbus mixes an ensemble of British veterans with relative new comers. Richard Harris, Dame Maggie Smith and John Hurt go about their business with the confidence of working in an ensemble. They know their parts, but willingly give their focus to the children, animals and special effects.
The naturalness of young actors is what makes "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" click. The friendship between the three leads appears warm and geniune. In times of a crisis, the three friends support and do not demean each other. Emma Watson portrays Hermione Granger as the class braniac with a hidden heart of gold. Red headed Rubert Grint is Harry's loyal friend Ron Weasley, a middle child of a very large red headed family.
The weight of the movie and Harry Potter myth falls on the shoulders of 11 year old Daniel Radcliffe. Radcliffe does a fantastic job and creates empathy for our hero. It is a tough role, because Radcliffe has to be the center of attention even when he is a bystander. During the breath taking aerial Quidditch match on broomsticks, Radcliffe reveals a cinematic charisma that Harrison Ford used to have.
For those who are not familiar with Harry Potter, the film provides an entertaining Cliff's Notes version of the book. "Sorcerer's Stone" is about Harry's first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is an orphan whose parents were murdered by the Lord Voldermort. When he was an infant, Harry somehow defeated Lord Voldermort, who plans to exact revenge upon the young boy.
Much news has been made about some religious intolerance towards Harry Potter because of the connection to witchcraft. While the witchcraft provides some texture to the story, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is not propaganda for the devil. In fact, the themes that "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" celebrates the things the devil hates most; honor, loyalty and love. It is a good movie to take Grandparents to because they can tell the good guys from the bad guys and there is no swearing or cussing.