Given that a lot of scifi and fantasy media today, and perhaps since the 70s, are designed to contain multiple messages for the viewing audience, it's difficult for me to rate this film highly, even though I really do want to.
Harry Potter himself has a John Lennon look, which leads me to wonder if it was intentional or part of Rowling's imagination at work by drawing on her pas memories. Dumbledore and Rebeus, to me, look both like an homage to the Spirit of Christmas present from Dickens. Again, was that intentional? I want to think not. And Professor Minerva McGonagall reminds me of the stereo typical which, but one with a heart of intellect and gold. That's a plus, but it does, for me at least, call to question how much of these characters were inspired, and how much of them were designed.
Typically big budget projects have a social agenda to them, and to me this one feels like guiding youths towards being skeptical in spite of all of the magic and sorcery that takes place within the movie. It also feels like an attempt to make the readers and movie goers feel special as they see themselves within the characters. Again, is that by Rowling's imagination and intent, or might there be some social psychologist injecting a bit more into Rowling's work?
As a movie I liked it. Even though I saw all of these potential shortcomings, I didn't get all worked about possible Hollywood social media tinkering. I mean if it's there, then what can I do about it? However, at one time Hollywood was more concerned with telling a good story and not layering visual cue for the lay audience member. Whatever. I didn't read the book, have no intention of doing so, but had never seen the first film in the series, so I rented it.
Visually the production values are really out of this world, but the plot tends to get overshadowed by the personal story, and in the end the film that we're left with is a kind of unresolved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory kind of film. That is to say what's going to happen to Harry and friends? Well, perhaps that's the reason the whole franchise was created in the first place.