Saturday, 21 June 2014

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Part 2

Last week I started my kinda-live blog of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. As it was running over the 2000 word mark I decided to split it into three to save you from my waffling for another week.

In last week's edition we were introduced to Harry (and a whole hole of other characters), Harry was revealed to be a wizard, met a giant named Hagrid and went on a very unusual shopping trip in London.

27. They seem to be well outside London when Ron comes and asks Harry if he can share his compartment. I’m guessing that for all this time Ron has been fruitlessly walking up and down the train looking for someone who’d give him a seat.

28. Does anyone remember the Harry Potter sweets you used to get? We had a bunch of the selection boxes that were shaped like old fashioned desks. I used to love the liquorice wands. While I’m being nostalgic, Scabbers (in this film) looks just like one of our old rats, Dill. Obviously, as far as I’m aware Dill wasn’t a middle-aged balding guy disguised as a rat… though he did live to a good old age for a rat… Hmm…

29. This film sticks really close to the books in some ways, but then there are bits which I don’t think they really needed to include, like Hermione pointing out that Ron has dirt on his nose. In the book this was funny because his mum had been fussing over the same (and then Hermione did it because they were destined to be together and she cares about him *ahem*). In the film it’s a bit of an orphaned reference because it doesn’t tie into anything. All I can think is that they’d made up Rupert Grint to have a dirty nose for the scene and had to keep the reference in so people didn’t watch the film thinking ‘why does that kid have a dirty nose?’

30. Hogwarts looks beautiful. I want to go there. Why can’t it be real?

31. I’ll probably say this every time Professor McGonagall appears on screen, but I love her. She’s awesome. While we’re discussing people on screen at the moment; Malfoy is a little twit and the kid who plays Seamus Finnegan is really short.

32. The little hats the kids wear in this film are kind of funny. Do we see them again? I think they might crop up again in the next one but I don’t remember them in any of the others.

33. I wish they could’ve found a way to do the Sorting Hat’s thoughts spoken only to the wearer. I don’t like the fact that it shares its thoughts about putting Harry in Slytherin with the whole room. Isn’t there student-hat confidentiality?

34. I think that technology at the time helped to make these films work really well. I don’t think they would’ve looked half as good ten years before they were made. I love the little details like the moving paintings in the background, it just adds to the magic and the world.

35. Snape is such a drama queen! He bursts into the room and then kind of gives this poetic speech. Don’t worry Snape, we know this serious is really all about you. I can’t imagine another actor playing him half as well as Alan Rickman, he just is Snape. Also, in this scene is he seriously pulling up a student for making notes on what he’s saying? Surely a note-taking student is a good student?!

36. From the way the packages and parcels get tossed around by the owls when the mail is delivered, I can’t help but wonder how many students get taken to the hospital wing with concussion. Imagine taking a tin of biscuits to the back of the head!

37. I love the layout of The Daily Prophet. Now we have e-readers please can the press start designing publications like this, please.

38. Is it ever explained why Madame Hooch has yellow eyes?

39. I can’t help but notice how obvious the CGI is when Neville ends up dangling from the tower. I wonder if this was made now it would be a little more seamless.

40. Hermione gets some great lines in this film: “What. An. Idiot.”

41. Professor Quirrell is teaching a lesson whilst holding a large lizard, and I’m fairly certain I heard him mention vampires. I want to know whether the lizard deters the vampires, is a vampire, is a cure for vampirism, or what. It’s kind of bugged me since I first saw this film.

42. I love that one of the names on the Quiddith trophy is McGonagall. I don’t think that’s something that’s ever mentioned in the books, but it’s a lovely little detail and I bet it comes from J.K. Rowling because she has this whole world so well developed.

43. Lesser of two evils: Filch with his weird cat, or a three-headed dog that wants to eat you? Think I’d take the three-headed dog too!

44. I love that on the Hermione Granger Scale of WrongdoingTM getting expelled is actually a fate worse than death. That was actually me at school. I never even had a detention or anything.

45. Quick Quidditch lesson while I ogle Oliver Wood. It’s okay for me to ogle him because he’s actually older than me and has been since this film was made so it’s not really like I’m lusting after a teenage boy.

46. Did anyone else see this film and actually try the whole ‘swish and flick’ wingardium leviosa thing? No, just me then? *ahem* Moving on. Speaking of Charms, why did Flitwick get younger in the other films?

47. Ron, don’t tease Hermione, she’s your future wife and you comments can and will be held against you in future arguments, just saying.

48. Love the look of the Halloween feast. I would love to have a feast like that; I think it’s about 98% sugar! I hope there’s a dentist in Hogsmede.

49. Quirrell demonstrates his credentials as a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher as he runs, screaming about a stray troll, into the Great Hall before fainting. Everyone else screams too, but to be fair they’ve got an average age of about 14 so they’re allowed to. Dumbledore takes charge and we don’t hear him voicing his concerns about his staff evaluation process.

50. CGI Harry gets a little ride on the troll and I don’t think his CGI is as jarring as Neville’s was earlier on. I’m not sure if it’s because the troll is also CGI, or Harry is the title character so they thought people would be paying more attention to him, or because this is one of the big action scenes in the movie so they threw everything they had at it.

51. I do love McGonagall’s reaction to finding the trio beside an unconscious troll. It’s like she doesn’t know whether to congratulate or punish them, so she has to do both!

52. I’ve never realised before but in this film Harry gets his Nimbus 2000 on the day off his first Quidditch match. That doesn’t really give him much time to practice and get a feel for the broom, does it?

53. I like the Quidditch matches and I wish they didn’t cut them out of most of the later films. I could quite happily watch two hours of Quidditch; why can’t they invent actual broomsticks? Actually, I’d be rubbish at playing as I’m scared of heights. Also, advising Slytherin you want a clean game, yeah, good luck with that!

54. I love that for the briefest second, as Harry’s broom goes haywire, when Hermione looks at Snape we can see Quirrell behind him, covering his mouth with his hand. We’re onto you Quirrell.

55. Once again Hagrid is the font of all knowledge, regardless of whether or note it’s information he should be sharing. In this case it’s the origins of Fluffy the three-headed dog. Hagrid tells them Snape isn’t after the thing Fluffy is guarding, but then mentions that it involves someone named ‘Nicholas Flamel’. Poor Hagrid can’t open his mouth without putting his foot in it. Harry would never get to the bottom of this mystery without him!

56. I love wizard chess! There’s got to be an online version somewhere, right?

57. Harry’s excitement at getting Christmas presents is so sweet. Poor deprived kid. Speaking of presents. I love the knitwear in these films. It’s so hard for me to sit and type out what I’m thinking while I’m watching this film because every time I see a hat or scarf or jumper I want to get my knitting needles out and start clicking!

58. An eleven-year-old boy gets a cloak that makes him invisible, does he go to a) the girls’ changing room? b) a toy shop selling the latest gadgets and games? or c) the library?

59. I wonder how Snape explained his threatening of Quirrell to Voldemort, considering Voldemort was right there at the back of Quirrell’s head, so surely he’d know what Snape said and did. Also his Legilimency skills would mean he could just read minds! I’m sure this gets a mention in the book but I can’t remember where. So frustrating. I must get a move on with my reading!

60. The bits with Harry seeing his parents in the Mirror of Erised make me feel all sorts of things. Particularly when his mum puts her hand on his shoulder and he touches it and looks at where her hand should be. Poor kid.

61. It’s funny how much of what Ron sees in the mirror actually has the potential to come true, whereas Harry’s doesn’t. Unless you want to get into Harry being reunited with his parents in some form of afterlife if Voldemort kills him. I wonder what this says about Ron as being a more straightforward sort of person who’s never really had any serious heartache, and Harry, who has. I’ll stop here before I start getting too deep.

62. I like the use of Hedwig to transition this section of the film out of winter and into the new term. It’s nice and neat.

So as we move out of the winter bit of the film and into the spring term I'll come to a stop here too. Next week I'll cover the climax of the film, with the big reveal which isn't such a big reveal when you're watching it for the fiftieth (or close to it) time.


  1. I think Snape got out of it by telling Voldemort that he thought Quirrell just wanted the stone for himself, and that's why he kept trying to stop him. That's what he tells Bellatrix at the start of Half Blood Prince, anyway :)

  2. I loved all the harry potter movies.

    1. Me too, I miss the excitement of waiting for them to come out, going to the cinema to see them, looking out for the bits they changed from the books and also the awesome knitwear all the characters end up sporting. ;-)


Let me know what you think. :-)