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Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone

If you haven't read any of the Harry Potter books, shame on you. Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame. You should drop your ignorant head in shame and beg forgiveness on the altar of idiocy.

However, you may actually enjoy the movie event of the season more than those who have already read it, if that's possible.

Yes, the world is officially a better place in which to live because of the release of the rather highly anticipated new film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. (Or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, if you so prefer.)

Harry Potter and pick your Stone is the story of Harry Potter. Imagine that. An 11-year old boy who suddenly learns that he's a wizard, and so he goes off to spend his first year at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He meets wonderful people, he has wonderful adventures, he discovers the wonderfully addictive, if somewhat flawed, sport of Quidditch, he has a wonderful adventure, he overcomes wonderful obstacles, and he lives to come back for his second year at school in next year's sequel.

Folks, this is a great movie. You will like it. Your kids will like it. Your pets will like it.

It is 2 1/2 hours long and that may well be too short. Which may end up being the only problem with the movie. As a fan of the book, I kept waiting to see a few things that never materialized. Whole sub-plots were snipped or shortened, and I was sad. But what the heck did I want? It's not as if they cut a bunch from the book and added new stuff- they rammed an amazing amount of nifty neat stuff into one movie! It's faithful to the book, faithful to the spirit of the story, faithful to J.K. Rowling's vision, faithful to it's wife and/or husband, faithful to all.

So do yourself a favor: fight the crowds, step on the small children wearing the colorful robes and pointed hats, grab a seat, refuse to give it up to a crying child, and take in a wonderful movie. Sit back and relax as the film works it's magic over you, drawing you ever farther from the purity of Christ and instilling its Satanic beliefs deep within your psyche.

I'm kidding.

Any review of this movie starts with a review of the three young unknowns who play Harry, Hermione and Ron. They are all terrific, and can look forwards to years of celebrity as icons to a generation, followed by a series of best-selling books entitled such things as "More than a Weasley" "Life as Harry" and "I Am Not Hermione." A number of bloody brilliant British-like actors pop in and out of the film as the adults, from Richard Harris to Maggie Smith to Alan Rickman to John Cleese to Robbie Coltrane to John Hurt. Basically, any British actor who wasn't already busy making Lord of the Rings. All hold their own with the kiddies.

Visually, the movie is stunning. The sight of a brick wall transforming itself into a passageway just knocks you off your feet, and is one of a gagillion sights that make this an amazing film to get totally lost within.

And then there's Quidditch. A bunch of wizards and witches flying around on broomsticks. This is not a game for the meek. Think hockey without the pads, while 100 feet above the ground. It's totally rib-ticklingly kick-ass to watch. Problem is, and this is a problem with the books, the game just doesn't make any sense. In fact, it's downright offensively stupid.

They try to get the ball through the hoops. 10 points when they score. Game continues on and on, exciting and so forth, until it ends when a player from either side finds the tiny little snitch. When said player gets said snitch in said hands, that player earns 150 points and the game ends. So unless one team is 15 goals ahead of the other, all the junk that goes on before the snitch is found is completely pointless. So why do they even bother to play? Why not just sit around and wait for the snitch? When was the last time you saw a hockey or soccer game get to 15-0? The record for NFL football is 73-0, and figuring 7 points a score, that's less than 11-0. A really tight, well-played Quidditch match, a game for the ages pitting two teams that are equal in skill, will end 150-0.

But this isn't a problem with the film, it's a problem with the book. Don't you think somewhere along the way to publication, some editor could have taken J.K. Rowling aside and said "Hey J.K., I know mathematics isn't your strong suit, but you may want to rethink Quidditch scoring."

Aside from that, however, the movie is simply brilliant. You should see it. You really should. Otherwise, you will lose touch with popular culture and be shunned for all time.

Don't laugh, it happened with Star Wars, it'll happen with Harry. And Star Wars is an apt comparison. Star Wars was the defining movie for an entire generation. Harry Potter will be the same movie for this generation.

After much soul searching and much debate, Harry Potter gets 3 1/4 Babylons.

I'm kidding.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone gets 4 7/8 Babylons. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone gets 5 Babylons. The story was created British, so you guys get the better movie.

Editor's Note:

Finally! We break the 3-and-some-fraction score! It takes a 93.5 million dollar extravaganza to do it. Bookmark this review, folks. There ain't going to be another for a while.

Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone
Rated: PG
Directed By: Chris Columbus
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe (think Mark Hamill), Emma Watson (think Carrie Fisher), Rupert Grint (don't think Harrison Ford), Alan Rickman (think Peter Cushing), Warwick Davis (think Wicket), Richard Griffiths (think a younger, trim, Jabba the Hut), Robbie Coltrane (think Chewbacca), Academy Award Nominee Richard Harris (think Alec Guiness), Academy Award Winner Maggie Smith (think Academy Award Winner Maggie Smith), Academy Award Nomniee Julie Waters (think Uncle Owen or Aunt Beru), Academy Award Nominee John Hurt (think how cool it must have been to go through life with a name like Hurt), Academy Award Nominee John Cleese (not kidding, look it up) and some kid named Biggerstaff. Nice name, Biggerstaff, no pressure or anything.

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