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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Two Disc Widescreen Edition) [DVD] 
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DVD Special Features:
Self-Guided Tour of Hogwarts
Mix potions, perform transfigurations, explore Daigon Alley, catch a snitch and much, much more!
Languages: English (Dolby 5.1 EX) Subtitles: English, Arabic
Hearing Impaired: English
Screen Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1
DVD-ROM PC Features:
Collect Wizard Trading Cards
Be Sorted by the Sorting Hat
Download Screensave and Remembrall
Receive Owl e-mails
Link to the Web
To try and please all the fans of JK Rowling's novel was a challenge that the makers of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone met head on. The result of their efforts is one of the most lavish, beautiful and magical cinematic treats to hit our screens in years. Director Chris Columbus and screenwriter Steven Kloves (thankfully with the help of Rowling herself) prove that although you can't translate everybody's reading of this much-loved book onto the cinema screen--maybe Fluffy was a bit more Fluffy in your imagination or Hagrid (superbly played by Robbie Coltrane) a little more giant-like--it is nevertheless possible to transfer Harry's adventures with fidelity as well as superb energy and excitement.
If there is a downside it's that the performances of the child leads tends to verge on the Sylvia Young-tastic in places. Nonetheless, the three young stars are both likable and watchable, showing great potential to grow into the parts as the adventures continue. The main disappointment is the substantial cutting of the ghost scenes and what promised to be a fine comic turn by John Cleese as Headless Nick, though with more Potter films on the way the ghosts will surely assume their rightful prominence later. There are, of course, some areas of the story that may frighten smaller children--such as the entrance of the evil Voldemort--and undoubtedly for any true Potter fan that cinematic entrance cannot live up to the images created in their imagination. All in all, though, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is what it should be: an unmissable treat for the whole family.
On the DVD: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone really is a magical experience in this lavish two-disc set. Disc one offers the film in all its surround-sound glory along with trailers and links to the Harry Potter Web site, but, disappointingly, there's no commentary.
Disc two is where the real wizardry can be found, with a vast and beautifully designed selection of special features. Entering the Great Hall a mysterious voice invites you to explore and find the secret hidden within (though it's frustrating that in some cases you have to re-enter the Hall after viewing a feature). Various options let you tour around Harry's world: from Diagon Alley to a virtual 360-degree tour of Hogwarts. The interactive component is excellent, with real thought having been put into ensuring that, instead of just the standard behind-the-scenes stuff, there is material aplenty to keep children and adults alike entertained for hours. Throughout the emphasis is on the disc's educational value: yes there are insights to be had from the film crew, but it's in the Classroom where you will find the real precious stones! --Nikki Disney
"Widescreen" vs. "Full Screen"
Widescreen preserves the original theatrical picture ratio of the film (Panavision 2.35:1), which will appear in "letterboxed" format on a normal TV screen.
Full Screen (or "pan and scan") crops the theatrical picture to 4:3 ratio (i.e., 4 units wide by 3 units tall), which is the shape of a standard (non-widescreen) TV screen. There is no letterboxing, but up to a third of the original picture is lost.
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This is the first Harry Potter in the series. For anyone that hasn't yet watched this, this particular movie is someone that you must watch because it explains everything that happens in subsequent movies.
Join Harry Potter in his magical adventures at Hogwarts.
The story is really good. The special effects are absolutely incredible. This is a fantastic movie.
What I love is that it stars so many of our own iconic British actors. Now that makes me happy :)
It's hard to imagine in the 90's J.K Rowling being rejected a contract for her wizard series. The Harry Potter franchise has spun further than many anticipated and this film reminds us of the moment when the franchise really took off and some magic really happened.
Almost 8 years ago now and current renowned teen stars Radcliffe, Watson and Grint star in their first roles as the famous friends Harry, Hermione and Ron, all with a magical gift. So the acting is far from perfect, it hardly matters now when you watch the series as the actors learn from their mistakes and we see them growing up and facing more challenging tests, for their characters and for themselves.
It is however the older actors who generate the magic of acting. Alan Rickman was born to play Snape whilst Richard Harris fits the role of Dumbledore like a glove.
But this is all about the story of a young unappreciated boy who was born in a different lifetime from his adoptive parents the Dursleys. Struggling under the strain of life Harry is thrown a lifeline when he arrives at Hogwarts, a chance to make friends and live life as he wants. This is an entertaining 2 hour picture that generates laughs, mystery and excitement in the form of a different world. The concept of magic is always tricky to cover in terms of realism but J.K Rowling's imagination is frequently present here and is adapted with some gusto in this 2001 fantasy adventure.
However where this film offers spills and thrills consistently there is so much missing from the book. More imagination and excitement appears on the pages where we see more characters are introduced. Therefore it is worth reading before viewing, s with all the instalments.
John Williams' score fits the scene perfectly whereas Chris Columbus' direction is good, you can't but feel the elements of magic could have been justified to generate a bit more surprise. Nevertheless the Quidditch match is some of the finest sporting direction you will ever see in the franchise.
This first part is a humorous and enthralling family adventure that does enough good justice to the book and with some good performances is a fine reminder of where the young stars started and where the franchise really begun.
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