Currently watching: the entire Harry Potter series, just finishing up the first movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Cannot believe how absolutely little and adorable the threesome are in that movie! The changes in their appearances from the first movie to the most recent are stupendous. Now, obviously they look a bit older than the required 16/17 that they are supposed to be in the most recent movie, but it's still interesting to think of how much our bodies change from the age of 11 to the age of 17. No wonder it's such an awkward, difficult period for most people.
Anyway, as a whole, the first movie is wonderful. Although the sets are so obviously fake, and the costumes are one step away from the terrible 90's horror flicks, you can see that it was basically taking that first dive into the foray of fantasy films.
(However, hands down, Lord of the Rings wins for quality of CGI and costumes. Weta Workshop is not to be trifled with.)
At some points in the movie, after reading the books several times, you can get a bit annoyed at how the directors blatantly cut out bits of the book from the movie, and awkwardly pieced certain parts together. A brief introduction of "Norbert" (the Norwegian Ridgeback dragon) and then his sudden disappearance to the Romanian colony, coupled with Hagrid's sobs leaves the viewer feeling a bit cheated. Clearly they only included that part to explain Hagrid telling the secret to the stranger in the inn. Um, why not just get Hagrid all sauced up and have him blurt out all the information about "Fluffy" (the three-headed dog).
In some ways, you can see that the director was attempting to keep as much of the book in the movie, which I do appreciate to some extent. Certainly I enjoyed the first movie almost more than the recent ones, as a young, fresh-faced, and innocent Potter is much more enjoyable than the angsty one.
It's easy to see why the Harry Potter series draws children in so strongly; even as an adult, the idea of leaving the realities of this world, to live in a remote area with all your friends, is appealing. You can see that the books and movies can become a form of escapism for unhappy children, teenagers, and even adults.
I will continue to update and post more thoughts on these movies.