Harry Potter

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 5, 2014

You’ll make allowances for the fact that it’s hard to start a franchise, and that these kids were really little. After making allowances, though, you’re still left with the fact that this is a really lousy movie. Children are sweet and direct, and we should be clear and affectionate when we communicate with them. One suspects that these were not Mr. Columbus’s methods. So heavyhanded, so telegraphed!

The great Hollywood film director Frank Capra was celebrated, among other things, for his reaction shots. As is conventionally the case, Capra’s reaction shots gave audience members hints about what they were supposed to think and how they were supposed to feel. But more than that, Capra’s reaction shots contained joy and generosity, an immigrant’s democratic suggestion that even the movie extra or featured bit player contained multitudes. Conversely, Columbus’s reaction shots contain all the infinite dumb and manipulative of his cinema, and of so much popular culture. Too big! Too obvious! Too loud! Too much!

Also, way to leave all these great actors standing around with nothing to do. Mind you, that Richard Griffiths is some kind of comic genius.