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Chris Columbus Reveals The Effect He ‘Beats Himself Up’ Over From Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Movies tend to be a product of their time. Whether it’s due to technology, story, or something else entirely, some of them just don’t age well. And some can withstand the test of time, like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Even though this film is much beloved and rewatched in many households across the globe, there’s still an effect that director Chris Columbus beats himself up over. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released in theaters in 2001. Technology has come a long way since then, and there are many effects that would be done differently had the film been made today. Overall it remains a gorgeous film full of magic, but there’s one effect director Chris Columbus says he still beats himself up over. Here’s what he told CinemaBlend:

I still think, interestingly enough, but again I tend to beat myself up when I see clips from the films today, particularly the Sorcerer’s Stone, I have some issues with some of the effects because it is 20 years ago and effects have come a long way. And as a result of that, I tend to look at something like the Quidditch match and say ‘Oh, God, I would do it so differently.’ On the first film, we were learning about Quidditch ourselves. By the time we got to the second film, it’s a pretty solid Quidditch match in the second film, so I’m proud of that, but yeah I wish some of our effects were better.

We’re all our own worst critics, right? So it makes sense that Chris Columbus would have critiques of his own work, particularly work he did 20 years ago when he’s been in this business a long time. When rewatching the Harry Potter series, it’s a lot of fun to see how the Quidditch sequences evolve from the first to the last film. As Columbus said, they were still learning about the sport on the first film. And as the starting point, it’s absolutely excellent. 

Chris Columbus is quite proud of all the practical effects he and the crew got to do on the Harry Potter sets. He directed the first two films, so his team got to set the stage of what the entire Wizarding World was going to look like. Here’s what he said of the special effects:

Our special effects, not the visual effects, but the stuff we built practically was astounding because we built practical creatures for almost all the creatures in the film, and that meant the kids were able to interact with something on set. And that blend of practical effects with VFX, to me, is the best combination.

The number of effects that are not done digitally throughout the Harry Potter series is truly astounding. For example, the scene where Harry first receives his Hogwarts letter is done practically, and none of the letters were added digitally. Check out the clip below from Magical Movie Mode.

Magical Movie Mode is a new way to experience Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone from Warner Brothers Entertainment. Viewers will discover filmmaking secrets, spell incantations, creatures, magical artifacts, trivia, and more. Harry Potter Magical Movie Mode is available now on Digital and DVD and streaming on HBO Max.

Samantha LaBat

Obsessed with Hamilton and most things Disney. Gets too attached to TV show characters. Loves a good thriller, but will only tolerate so much blood.