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THIS WEEK'S MOVIES.

Byline: JANE SIMON

HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE

"THIS boy will be famous, there won't be a child in this world who doesn't know his name," predicts Albus Dumbledore as baby Harry is delivered to his muggle relatives.

A truer word was never spoken. The most hotly anticipated film ever made was guaranteed to be a huge hit before a single frame was shot.

And the smartest thing director Chris Columbus and screenplay writer Steve Kloves have done is not to change a thing - although even at 152 minutes there are inevitably things they've had to leave out.

The millions who have read J K Rowling's books have already imagined Harry Potter's world in their own minds so designer Stuart Craig and his art department get extra house points for bringing the magical world to life.

Hogwarts School with its infinite staircases and endless banquets, the twisted streets of Diagon Alley and the goblins guarding Gringotts Bank are all perfectly realised.

Robbie Coltrane is a huge success as the indiscreet giant Hagrid and Alan Rickman is fabulously shifty- eyed as Professor Snape.

It's also impossible now to imagine anyone else other than Richard Harris and Maggie Smith as Dumbledore and Miss McGonnagal.

Of the child actors, Rupert Grint as red-headed Ron Weasley is brilliant while Emma Watson stays just the right side of annoying as the swotty Hermione.

As Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe has the toughest job and takes things a little too much in his stride. When Hagrid finally informs him he's a wizard, he reacts as though this isn't even the most interesting news he's heard that day.

Partly that's the fault of Columbus who stuck to the book so closely he didn't conjure up any magic of his own. But this is a minor quibble for grown-ups to thrash out later.

Children everywhere will think Harry Potter is absolutely wizard.

-Fantasy adventure, Cert PG

Out of five:

CAPTION(S):

MAGIC: Daniel's Harry; HIT: Coltrane's Hagrid
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Nov 18, 2001
Words:330
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