I made a mistake of watching "harry potter" after "lord of the rings." if not for this unfortunate sequence, I might have even enjoyed it, but in the shadow of peter jackson's movie it looks simply pathetic. simplified story that has none of the splendor and wide-eyed excitement I expected from it; immature plot devices that made me quiver uncomfortably in my seat, ashamed for the director. the story seems to be horribly chopped-up, leaping from one event to another, leading nowhere until finally it reluctantly builds up to a weak climax. I admit the possibility that the book makes it a lot more plausible, but watching cut-up episodes from the life of the wizard school fell far below the expectations I had for this set up that could have yielded so much from this initial excitement of discovery of magic and ones' inner powers.
as for character design, special effects, and *cough* fight *cough* choreography... please! the chess battle scene, the final scene with the evil wizard left me in the state of disbelief, as I was wondering what the hell the whole hoopla was about. computer graphics? character design? set design? anything?! visually it is a mess that lacks a unifying style, bouncing between mid ages, cliché mythological characters and truly american numbing wholesomeness.
if you want a grand story, a truly epic adventure executed in the most visually believable manner with attention to details and maturity that does not believe their audience to be gullible five-year olds, watch "lord of the rings" on a big screen.
I admit that it is probably not fair to compare "lord of the rings" and "harry potter", since I have not read the latter, but there is enough in the movie to indicate how simplified the story is. banal emotions aroused in the audience, happily exploited by the author, are too thin for anyone older than five. one cannot even see this as an appropriate escapism literature.
there is no temptation of the evil, it is timid at its best, lurking somewhere in the shadows as a secondary plot device. no one has any doubt that it will be defeated in a matter of time, and half way through the movie one yawns, "get on with it already!"
harry potter himself is a charming character that definitely has an identity. too bad he is locked in the setting and dialog that makes him look like a dorky puppet.
I would think twice before taking any child to this movie, afraid that it would ruin their fantasy. come to think of it, any good fantasy movie that was made in past twenty years serves better as imagination stimulus than "harry potter."
predictable, two-dimensional, simplified, it aims for nothing more than simple entertainment, evoking none of the splendor and fascination it promised. if you get a chance, watch "lord of the rings" yet one more time.
I would still consider reading the books, before renouncing it completely, but the movie has left a terrible taste in my mouth.