Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Rated 2.0 Big fans of the popular novels by J.K. Rowling might find much to love in this screen adaptation about their boy wizard hero. Others, like uninformed, haven’t-read-the-books-and-don’t-intend-to me are likely to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as one major boring movie. At 2 and a half hours, the movie doesn’t have a real plot, a clear-cut villain or a hero that inspires. Daniel Radcliffe is capable as Harry, the Messiah of wizards at Hogwarts magician school, but his character is more comic book than the stuff of great literature. His two friends, Rupert (a fantastically faced Ron Weasley) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) are far more engaging. The film has a few great sequences, including a nasty-looking three-headed dog, and a soccer-like game of Quidditch played on broomsticks that reminds of the pod race from the most recent Star Wars film. Still, there’s no real story to get involved in here, and director Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire) fails to put a distinctive stamp on the project. His unimportant, by-the-numbers approach left me wondering what the likes of Spielberg and Gilliam (two directors who had been rumored for the film) would’ve done with the material. It’s going to make a ton of money, but I have a feeling the Lord of the Rings movie will knock it off its perch next month. Harry Potter might be a major phenomenon, but it strikes me as nothing to get excited about. It’s a flat-footed drag.