Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
A lot has happened in the 16 years and 7 sequels since HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE first hit theaters. So much so that it’s really hard to review the first film in the series. Looking at the series as a whole, the Harry Potter franchise is very impressive, getting better as it went on and doing a fantastic job of creating a magical world and developing wonderful characters. But that wasn’t evident with The Sorcerer’s Stone. The film has grown on me since I first saw it, but I still think Chris Columbus’s first two films are weak when compared to the rest of the series.
Of all the Harry Potter directors, Chris Columbus had the most pressure, since any director kicking off a franchise has to please fans of the books as well as bring new fans into the series. Also, Columbus supposedly had to deal with a very strict J.K. Rowling, who was unwilling to concede on the vision. Looking back, that fact just adds to her mystique and brilliance, but I imagine it was tough for the filmmakers to work through at the time. The result is a very safe film that introduces us to the prodigal boy wonder, Harry Potter, who we learn was the sole survivor of an evil rampage carried out by the dark wizard Voldermort. The movie frustrated me originally because I wanted to know more about what went down between Voldermort and Harry’s parents, but now after seeing all 8 films, I get why they glossed over some things in the first film.
The Voldermort conflict is the running theme throughout the Harry Potter series, but The Sorcerer’s Stone also sets up what I found to be the more interesting part of the series, which is the friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione. They get thrust together en route to Hogwarts and became instantly inseparable. It was funny watching Emma Watson as the young Hermione, especially since we know how mature she became later on. She, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint overact their characters and it was clear that in the beginning, they were just taking direction from others on how to play their characters, but later on they really grew into them and made them their own.
As a series, the Potter films are incredible, but as an individual film, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE is a little weak. It’s cute and safe for pre-teens, but it does gloss over some of the more heavy thematic elements. For example, it was never talked about in the movies, but I realized on this viewing that at the end of The Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter was basically a murderer. He seemed to perfectly okay with that fact given he’s only 11 years-old. I wasn’t sure what I found more disturbing; the fact that they glossed over his newfound murderer status or that I didn’t realize that in 2001.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Everything I said in my 4K review of HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS holds true for Sorcerer’s Stone. The film has clearly been remastered and the result is a great transfer. I’ve always felt that Chris Columbus had a bit of a bland style, but I might rethink that after watching his films on 4K. There are colors and details I hadn’t noticed before and the pseudo-3D effect adds a layer to the film that made it feel like I was watching it for the first time. This is a great looking 4K from WB.
Audio: Once again, the DTS-X track is a nice upgrade.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but each of the 4K UHD Harry Potter films contain two Blu-ray discs, the first containing the movie and the second disc of special features “Creating the World of Harry Potter”. Both discs were found in the previously released Special Edition Blu-rays.