HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE - MAKING ITS WAY TO THE BIG SCREEN
After the much appreciation that Rowling’s debut novel got in the market, it was time to adapt it to the big screen. In 1998 Warner Bros bought the rights to make a film on the first two parts of Harry Potter series that is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of the Secrets. The first part came on the screen on November 16, 2001, and was the blockbuster of the year! Warner Bros tried its best to consider Rowling's opinions and wishes while filming the novel. Rowling stressed that the film must be shot in Britain with all the British cast and Warner Bros also agreed upon this. While starting the project, there was much anticipation about who will direct the film.
According to the news reports, Rowling wanted the film to be directed by Terry Gilliam. However, on March 28, 2000, Warner Bros appointed Chris Columbus—the maker of children’s movies like Home Alone and Mrs Doubtfire for directing the first two parts. After his decision, he reported to the media that for a sensational literary work like Harry Potter which is popular worldwide, they needed a passionate director that is attracted both by magic and children and for this, there could be no better person than Chris. The movie was produced by David Heyman and the script was provided by Steve Kloves.
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE - CASTING
David Heyman and Steve Kloves led a search of almost seven months for finding the right actor that could do justice with the role of Harry Potter. In a theatre, the two of them found the right boy, Daniel Radcliff, who was immediately decided to be given the lead role of Harry. Radcliff has already established himself as a professional actor since 1991 where he played the role of little David in BBC series of David Copperfield. Radcliff’s parents were soon persuaded to allow him to audition for the film. Heyman described Harry Potter as an inquisitive child with the hunger to learn and grow. His big blue eyes and energetic nature made Heyman choose him for the leading role. Rowling shared her views by saying that other than Radcliff, there can be no better choice for the role of Harry Potter.
From the auditions of a thousand children, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were finally selected for the roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. They had no previous background of professional acting, apart from participating in school plays and theatres. At the time they were cast, Grint was 11 years old while Watson was 10. Geoff Boucher of Los Angeles Times wrote about the casting decision regarding Radcliff, Watson, and Grint as the best trio selection of all times which is no doubt the perfect show-business decision ever. The other important cast includes Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, Richard Harris as Professor Dumbledore, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape and Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort.
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE - SET DESIGN AND VISUAL EFFECTS
Stuart Craig along with Stephenie McMillan worked as the production designers of the movie. The iconic and majestic set pieces created by them is indeed one of the reasons for the huge success of the movie. The Ministry of Magic, Gryffindor Common Room, Chambers of Secrets, Malfoy Manor and Horcrux Cave are some of their best set designs created ever in the history of film production. Similarly, the amazing visual effects were done by three different companies that are Cinesite, Framestore and Industrial Light & Magic that made the movie a whole more enjoyable and eye-catching.
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE - COMPARING WITH THE BOOK
IN TERMS OF PLOT
The main storyline in both the movie and book are the same except for some changes. For instance, the plot of the movie doesn’t up with an eleven years old incident when the whole wizard world rejoiced over the victory of Voldemort. Neither did Mr and Mrs Dursley noticed anything creepy or unusual they day Dumbledore left Harry on their doorsteps. Proceeding on the event of Dudley's birthday when the whole family went to the zoo the glass of Boa Constrictor didn't escape—the directors took a little twist on it and showed Dudley trapped in the snake section behind the glass shield. In the book when Harry met Professor Quirrell for the first time, he wasn't wearing any turban. This suggests that Voldemort hadn't possessed him yet, he only did it after he failed to steal the sorcerers' stone from Gringotts. However, in the movie Quirrell was wearing a turban since his first appearance in the movie. Unlike the movie, where Harry first met Malfoy in Hogwarts, in the book it's slightly different as the two of them had already met in Diagon Alley where they went to buy the wands together. The Gryffindor common room was introduced in the movie, it was a part of the book. Similarly, in the movie, Harry could only see his parents in the Mirror of Erised, while in the book he could see his forefathers too. Even in the end, Harry kills Quirrell by grabbing his face and turning it to ashes, however in the book, Quirrell dies when Voldemort leaves his body.
IN TERMS OF CRITICS’ REVIEWS
Ever since the movie got released not only the fans about also critics have been comparing it with the book. There are overall mixed reviews where some criticize the movie for failing to maintain the profound vocabulary and richness of the literary work and eliminating so much that was depicted in the movie. However, some praise the movie for its high-quality cinematographic effects and mind-blowing cast. Dominik Suzanne a film editor balances the whole controversy by saying, ‘it’s difficult to truly compare the two. The film series, by the nature of film…, had to cut so many of the smaller stories and side journeys that made the books so rich. Likewise, the films had the advantage of paring the stories down to their most essential elements … Each offers its own pleasures, and preference is often as simple a matter as which one you grew up with.’
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE - BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone became the highest-grossing movie worldwide during the theatrical run of 2002. Made under a budget of $125 million, the movie earned $974,755,371 worldwide which was a huge success not only for the whole production team but also for J.K Rowling. In an all-time ranking around the world, the movie was ranked on number 29. It won a number of awards, for instance, 74th Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score. With all this appreciation and accolades, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’ Stone is indeed a blockbuster of the 21st century!