One of the most anticipated films of the year has finally arrived, along with Harry Potter stuffed toys, Harry Potter figurines, Harry Potter Breakfast Cereal, Harry Potter Underarm Deodorant, etc. It would be hard for any movie to live up to this much hype, and this one doesn't.
It's not a bad film, by any means. The story is well told, most of the performances are adequate, and it is as faithful as possible to the book. But it's missing heart. The scary parts weren't very scary, the funny parts weren't very funny and the suspenseful parts weren't very suspenseful. For instance, in the opening scene Dumbledore, Hagrid and McGonagall are standing outside the Weasley's house, preparing to leave the infant Harry on the doorstep. They discuss what they're doing very matter of factly, even though they know that the Weasleys are horrible people and that Harry will have a miserable life here for the next decade. They don't show any real emotion, and that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Daniel Radcliffe, as Harry, never acts very excited or scared. Alan Rickman, who usually plays the hell out of his parts, seemed to be going through the motions. And Emma Watson, who plays Hermione, overacts in every one of her scenes.
The effects were usually good, but were unacceptably sloppy in some places. Most of the quidich game, especially the background, was obviously computer generated. There is no excuse for that in a movie with a budget this large.
The whole thing has a paint-by-numbers feel. Perhaps, for the next film, they'll find a director who can give the story of Harry Potter it the heart and soul it deserves.
© 2002 Dave Hitt