Corrections or additions?
This article by Pat Summers was prepared for the November 28, 2001
edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
At the Movies
At the premiere-day show at 6:30 p.m. on Friday,
16, it was like an old-time Saturday matinee: excited kids all over
the place (and popcorn, too) in a general, happy hubbub — and
if hubbubs can be focused, this one was. Some people wore costumes
featuring capes and tall hats; many read a book, the same book, while
waiting in the long, snaking line; still others held stuffed animals
— white owls were rampant.
This would be "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,"
of course, and the show was sold out. Once the lights dimmed and the
feature began, the din immediately stopped, replaced by rapt
Unaware, or properly unconcerned about reviews being mixed, records
being broken, millions being made and far more anticipated, young
viewers wanted only to see their fictional hero and relive with him
the first adventure, as told by J.K. Rowling in the first of her four
books that have made publishing history.
If you weren’t so wrapped up in the Harry Potter phenomenon yourself,
you could tap in to all those eager little minds anticipating what
comes next, anxious to see how it’s done, and eager to know what this
or that character looks like in the movie. Would it match their
and if not, is that OK?
No wonder 11-year-old Ryan Kelly — who had two Lawrenceville
neighbors share his experience of this first Harry Potter movie, as
he had with the books and his Halloween outing as Potter himself (U.S.
1, November 17, 1999) — mentioned having butterflies in his
Given his extensive time investment, including the wait for this
his butterflies must have been the size of Canada geese.
By now, the world knows all about Harry Potter: At age
11, he is freed from an unhappy life with his awful aunt, uncle, and
cousin to attend Hogwarts, a school for witches and wizards. There
Harry learns why he was orphaned in infancy, and with two good
continues the fight against the evil wizard — we won’t name him
here — whose early attempt on his young life left a lightning-bolt
scar on Harry’s forehead.
Young Kelly had predicted "lots of special effects" in the
movie, and he was right: the entrance to platform 9-3/4 at King’s
Cross Station, London; the high-speed, high-altitude Quidditch game
played at Hogwarts; "Fluffy," the fierce three-headed dog;
the life-sized and life-threatening wizards’ chess game. Then again,
if a movie about wizards doesn’t call for special effects, what does?
The film is filled with appealing tableaus: Diagon Alley comes right
out of Dickens; the colorfully uniformed Quidditch players resemble
noble knights marching into battle, and the field itself, with posts
and pennants, looks ready for jousting; the Hogwarts banquet hall
suggests a medieval romance. So the conventions are there; only the
basic setting is new.
As for the characters, Kelly was happy with Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid,
Hogwarts’ giant game keeper, even though he was shorter than expected,
and he found Alan Rickman’s Professor Snape "chubbier" than
his imaginings, but otherwise effective. Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley
was just fine with Kelly, and although he had thought Hermione would
"wear glasses and be more of a nerd," he stopped short of
agreeing with us that Emma Watson was just too pretty for the role.
Daniel Radcliffe satisfied as Harry, even though his hair didn’t stick
up and his off-center jagged scar came as a surprise. Overall, Kelly
gave this cast the green light for the six Potter movies yet to come.
And he was less literal than his companions — both about plot
compressions and omissions, probably made to keep the length
and about our hero’s eye color. In the books, Harry is emphatically
green-eyed; Radcliffe’s eyes are a pretty, but somehow less spirited,
blue — much like his rendering of the Potter role: too often
passive. As is the case with Dante’s Satan, Draco Malfoy, Potter’s
student nemesis, is the more interesting character to watch. Blonds
really do have more fun.
Kelly thought the scene with the silver-blooded unicorn and the
"pretty cool." And he liked "how they suspected Snape,
when actually it was (name concealed to protect the guilty)."
And that created a teaching moment, one ripe for "red
"Basically, it was perfect," Kelly determined, awarding
Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" a critic’s A-plus. On a practical
level, Kelly advises having snacks with the movie.
is a long time, and those butterflies must be fed.
— Pat Summers
Gertrude Stein’s "Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights" on
November 28, and Tuesday and Wednesday, December 4 and 5, at McCarter
Theater. Seeking a male actor-singer, age 25+; dual female leads
ensemble roles, and choreographer/dance director. Call 609-688-1957.
20s to 40s for "The Mousetrap," Kelsey Theater, Mercer County
College. Auditions are Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2, noon
to 3 p.m. Call Marge Swider at 215-968-1904.
"The Legend of Redwall Abbey" at Kelsey Theater, Mercer County
College, West Windsor. Auditions on Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m.
to 4 p.m., and Sunday, December 9, Noon to 4 p.m. To schedule an
& Hammerstein’s "The King and I" on Saturday, December 8,
at 9 a.m. and Wednesday, December 12, at 3:30 p.m. The open call is
for Asian children, age 12 and under. Rehearsals begin March 14, for
the production that runs from April 3 to May 19. Call 973-379-3636,
for non-Equity roles in a workshop of the New Brunswick Community
Bridge Projects’s new play by Ain Gordon, "Public Ghosts-Private
Stories." Workshop is Friday through Monday, December 14 to 17.
Roles are for African-American men, Mexican male and female, Caucasian
male and female. Send photo and resume to George Ryan, Associate
George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.
No phone calls.
Sun" will be on Sunday, December 15. Theater is at 915 White Horse
Pike, Oaklyn. Performance dates are March 5 through April 13. Call
856-858-5230 after December 4 to schedule audition time.
food, clothing, shoes, and gifts for its second annual "Adopt-a
Family Program" Help is needed for local low-income families whose
children attend the multicultural nursery school, YWCA Princeton’s
Child Care Center at the Valley Road School. Participants will be
matched with a family and wish lists provided. Call 609-919-6608 for
and paperback books as gifts for disadvantaged children in Middlesex
County through the "Books to Keep" program. Distribution is
through service clubs and social service agencies. Donations may be
brought to any Middlesex Country library through Saturday, December
15. Call 732-873-8700.
for Christmas gifts. Basic toiletries may be delivered by Saturday,
December 15, to 123 East Hanover Street in Trenton. Call 609-396-9355.
from corporations, businesses, and citizens for New Jersey children
who lost a parent in the terrorist attacks. Disaster Fund for the
Children of NJ, New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 216
West State Street, Trenton 08608.
project, "Changed Lives: Understanding New Jersey in the Aftermath
of September 11th." The society is looking for materials related
to events commemorating or honoring people lost on September 11 or
materials concerning those responding with assistance, photographs
of memorial shrines, or other public displays erected in honor of
the victims, and written personal stories from all perspectives. Send
to Changed Lives: Understanding New Jersey in the Aftermath of
11th, The New Jersey Historical Society, 52 Park Place, Newark, New
Jersey 07102. Call 973-596-8500.
and merchandise vendors, nonprofit organizations, and local performers
for Communiversity 2002 to be held on Saturday, April 27, from noon
to 4 p.m. Call 609-924-8777.
near both campuses for students. The college will serve as a listing
agent for residents wishing to rest a room or apartment. Call
culture, provide orientations, and guidance to au pairs and host
EurAupair provides training, support, and guidance, and reimburses
for expenses. Call Susan Borelly at 800-901-2002.
message as a milestone such as birthday, graduation, anniversary,
memorial for a person, event, or organization. $50. Forms available
at the library, 4 Municipal Plaza.
provides non-medical, day-to-day, free transportation to the senior
community within Mercer County. For information or to volunteer, call
Spring 2002 contest. The theme "Crisis," may be in any form
of poetry with a 32-line limit postmarked by March 1, 2002. Prizes
range from $12 to $50 U.S. Bonds. Call 609-882-4784 for complete
rules and information.
edition of "Underage," an anthology of short stories and poems
from children under the age of 18. The deadline is Friday, March 15,
2002. Call 609-924-8777.
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