Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
San Jose Mercury News:
The effects are special, but too often they're the only thing that is. They seem to drive the story, instead of the other way around.
It's pleasant, and not nearly as hollow as, say, The Phantom Menace, but it's never truly captivating.
If the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone were released in a parallel universe in which J.K. Rowling's book didn't exist, its richly envisioned world and inventive, engaging story could be appreciated in their own rights.
The new, much-anticipated movie is a faithful, literal, only mildly imaginative rendering of that book. While no disgrace, it is certainly no classic.
At its best, the film's visual dazzle equals the tasty wordplay of the novel. But it is overlong, overscored, and curiously misshapen.
Paul Clinton (CNN.com),
The sheer magic of the movie's spirit saves the day.
Columbus and screenwriter Steve Kloves are so careful to avoid offending anyone by excising a passage from the book, the so-called narrative is more like a jamboree inside Rowling's head.
New York Times:
This film is capable of a certain brand of magic: it may turn the faithful into Muggles.
As it is, Harry's gotten a ride. But at a much lower altitude than his fans might have wished.
New York Post:
Remarkably faithful, consistently entertaining if overlong adapatation.
I hear the J.K. Rowling books are great, and on the basis of this 2001 movie I'm ready to believe it.
The movie version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is, as the Brits might put it, quite good.
For every flight, the film serves up equal amounts of flattened-out shortfall.
Lovers of the book will find most of their favorite moments beautifully realized, perhaps even bigger and more wondrous than they imagined them.
The movie needs to be stronger dramatically, with a much more appealing central performance, to be the great family-oriented screen fantasy so many wanted.
Globe and Mail:
Despite the movie's pedestrian direction, our cranky old critic finds he can't deny kids the right to be enthralled.
Gets most of the book's events in, but loses much of the lightness and charm of Rowling's vision.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is, despite its trickery, that plainest and least surprising of artifacts: the work of art that is exactly the sum of its parts, neither more nor less.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
The filmmakers want to show us a magical world that is, at the same time, wholly believable. They want to create matter-of-fact miracles, but what they end up with is mostly just plain matter-of-fact.
Just as the Harry Potter books have reached a wide audience, so too does the movie appeal to audience members of all ages.
During Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I was pretty sure I was watching a classic, one that will be around for a long time, and make many generations of fans.
Professional entertainment with just enough human moments to squeak by.
As a movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has no inner life -- no pulse -- of its own: It's secondhand.
I doubt that most Harry Potter fans will mind a film that attends to their wishes so splendidly.
What a feast for children! Long, and engrossing. Kids will love it! Wizard!
Though the film will undoubtedly please the young viewers who flock to it, ultimately many of the book's readers may wish for a more magical incarnation.
A near-perfect commercial and cultural commodity.
Retains (and in many cases, boosts) as much of the spirit [of the book] as you could reasonably expect.