Movie Synopsis: Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary, and unlucky, boy.  He lives in a cupboard under the stairs, is picked on by his bigger cousin Dudley, and is put down by his mean Aunt and Uncle.  However, on his eleventh birthday, he gets an amazing visit by none other than a giant, and learns he is a wizard, like his parents before him.  Harry then leaves his unhappy home to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  But the year involves decisions of who is a friend and who is not, and also dangers around a mysterious object that is being guarded at the school.

Movie Review: This first movie adaptation of the successful J.K. Rowling book series is overall an excellent family movie by Director Chris Columbus.  Columbus has worked with many child actors in the past, and does a fantastic job of getting the most from the youthful child cast (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and others) in the main roles.  The adult ensemble cast also shines, with actors like Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, and Richard Harris, performing admirably in their characters.  The acting is superb, and of course the plot and imagination of Rowling comes to life beautifully with majestic scenes of the Hogwarts school and British countryside beyond.  This first movie is a safe one, where there is some intense scenes but overall is not designed to be overly dark or frightening for children of most ages.  This is similar to the books, where later installations get darker.  Overall, Columbus does a nice job of creating a family-friendly movie that takes Rowling’s first novel and bringing it to life in a fantastic way on screen.  Well done!

Overall Review: 5 stars out of 5

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