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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Description: Young boy discovers he is the son of two powerful wizards and has powers himself. Harry goes off to study wizardry, but also stumbles upon a plot involving his parents' murderer.

As you can see from this month's book reviews, I read the Harry Potter books (all four) before I saw the movie. The books offer a deeper insight into character and plot, but the movie is lots of fun for the whole family. I saw it both with friends and with my grandmother.

I think everyone knows the plot. Harry is miserable with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, living in a cupboard under the stairs, till the day he gets his invitation to study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The characters and atmosphere of the story are brought to life beautifully in the movie. Harry is brave and adorable, Hermoine is plucky and bossy, and Ron stole the show with his dismayed faces and classic one-liners. I liked all of the casting choices, and it was great to hear lines straight from the book spoken just an I had imagined.

The scenery and effects were the second great accomplishment in this movie. Hogwarts is huge and mysterious, and the game of Quidditch is fast-paced and exciting. Attention to details, like pictures moving in the background of several shots and random ghosts, make the look and feel of the picture very complete and convincing.

As for the plot, of course they couldn't include everything from the book in two and a half hours. The main points are hit, but I think the movie is vastly improved if you have already read the book. Your mind fills in the plot holes and details that just don't fit into the movie. I'm guessing on this point, but I'd still highly recommend the movie to anymore who likes fantasy, kids, and fun.

Monsters Inc

Description: They scare because they care. Turns out that the boogie man is just a working shmo, who comes through the closet door to scare children to harness their screams as an energy resource.

This is a clever movie with heart. When I left the movie theater, I felt all warm and fuzzy, which when you figure I really didn't want to go out that night, is saying something.

The animation was great. I loved Sulley's fur. You just wanted to reach into the movie and pet him.

There were some nice in jokes. From Ray Haryhousen's restaurant to the Abominable Snowman modeled from the old Claymation Rudolph movies. And okay, I like movies that can be funny without being unduly mean. There's some pratfalls, but they're handled with enough good humour  that I didn't feel guilty for laughing.

The voice talent was well chosen. John Goodman's (Sulley) voice just has nice guy/average joe just wired right into it. While Billy Crystal (Michael "Mike" Wazowski , Michael "Mike" Wazowski , Michael "Mike" Wazowski ), as his wacky one-eyed sidekick, had great energy. And the widdle girl was just uffy, wuffy cute. Ahem, nothing to see here folks, move along.

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