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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

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Released:  Friday, November 16, 2001  
Length:  152 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may not be suitable for children.

Synopsis

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone © Warner Bros.. All Rights Reserved.

Young Harry Potter has to lead a hard life: His parents have died in a car crash when he was still a baby, and he is being brought up by his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. For some reason unbeknownst to the bespectacled ten-year-old, the Dursleys let him live in the small chamber under the stairs, and treat him more like vermin than like a family member. His fat cousin Dudley, the Dursley's real son, keeps bothering Harry all the time. On his eleventh birthday, Harry Potter finally receives a mysterious letter from a certain Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, telling him that he is chosen as one of the future students of that supposedly renowned school. Hagrid, the gigantic man who brought the letter, finally introduces Harry into the real circumstances of his life: His parents were a wizard and a witch, they were killed by the evil wizard Voldemort protecting him. Harry still has a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead from that event. Since he survived the attack as a baby, and also somehow deprived Voldemort from his powers, he has been famous in the wizarding world ever since. The Dursleys, strong disbelievers in that magical crap, never told Harry anything about his true self. So, Harry is strongly surprised, yet absolutely happy to start his training. At Hogwarts, Harry meets his teachers, and becomes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The three of them accidentally find out that the potions master, Severus Snape, seems to plot on stealing something that is guarded by a three-headed dog. Since nobody would believe some first years to have found out such important things that even would incriminate a Hogwarts teacher, they take it on themselves to find out what Snape is up to. Their quest for the truth leads across many obstacles, from keeping up the everyday school life, a bewitched Quidditch match (Quidditch is a popular wizard sport), Fluffy, the three-headed monster dog and quite some tasks one has to overcome to get to the guarded object.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone images are © Warner Bros.. All Rights Reserved.


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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 4K Ultra HD Review


It has been twenty years since we were introduced to "The boy who lived" when J.K. Rowling's first book in the Harry Potter series debuted in the United Kingdom.  Originally titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone the name was later changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States for the first movie and, as expected, it was a box office triumph.  It made stars out of the three young actors playing the main characters in the series and the world then watched them grow up on screen.  Previously released on Blu-ray and DVD, it is now available on the latest technology 4K Blu-ray.

As we meet the famous, young wizard, he has no idea he is either famous or a wizard.  He lives under the stairs at his Aunt and Uncle's house who took him in after Harry's (Daniel Radcliffe; The Woman in Black) parents died in a "car accident".  On his eleventh birthday, Harry is visited by Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane; GoldenEye) who informs him of his lineage and takes him to become a student at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where Harry begins his formal training.  It's also where he meets his two best friends, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint; Snatch) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson; Beauty and the Beast).

Of course, there are dark forces at work conspiring against Harry including "He who must not be named"/ "The Dark Lord", Lord Voldemort (Richard Bremmer; Control) who was the one who actually killed Harry's parents.  The rest of the movie is spent determining who the threat is and how to stop it (while including a cool but deadly game of chess).  In the end, Harry survives and the perpetrator is not who you would expect (unless you had read the books before seeing the film).  However, if you are a fan of the books you already know there are more threats to come.  

I must admit, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone isn't one of my favorites out of the eight films but it does lay a solid foundation from which the other movies build upon.  The first installment in the film series isn't as dark as the later ones and is a bit more "kid-like", which is to be expected since the films' stars were in middle school when this one was made.  We do get a terrific introduction to Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson and Director Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire) gave us a sense of wonder and magic which set a certain tone for the remained of the series.

The 4k quality with the 2160p high definition video and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio is truly an upgrade and the fullness of the colors and details are noticeable.  The blacks are deep, which is a good thing because much of this film is shadowed in the darkness. The flesh tones and bright colors are also a bit warmer, making them inviting to the viewer's eye and there is little to no noise to speak of. The DTS: X audio bumps up the quality quite a bit and the effects are spread evenly and fully across all speakers.

The extras include an extended version of the movie and in-movie experience.  Disc two houses Behind the Story with an introduction by Daniel Radcliffe, Creating the World of Harry Potter: The Magic Begins and A glimpse into the world of Harry Potter, Deleted Scenes, Trailers and TV spots with an introduction by Daniel Radcliffe, Creating the World of Harry Potter: The Magic Begins and A glimpse into the world of Harry Potter, Deleted Scenes, Trailers and TV spots.

If you are a Harry Potter fan and own a 4K Blu-ray player it is time to upgrade your collection to the latest technology.  You won't regret it as you experience the movie anew in a whole new way.

Grade: A-

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