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Near-perfect Potter

Lucky Muggles who attended Sunday's sneak preview of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at the Veterans 24 theater in Tampa had plenty of nice things to say about the film. Here's a sampling of their glowing opinions:

Nine-year-old Krista McNeel of Tampa was still giggling after the show: "My favorite part was that the dragon blew fire on the big guy's beard. That's the funniest."

Did anything in the film scare 7-year-old Edward Davis of Tampa?

"Only the part when the (three-headed) dog roared. It hurt my ears and made my head jump," he said.

Elizabeth Hart, 10, of Tampa, said the movie compared well to J.K. Rowling's book. "There were some parts that they cut out, but mostly it was pretty good. (My favorite part was) when they were flying around getting the magic keys."

There were plenty of adults in the audience, and not just the parents of young Potter fans.

"I think the attraction for little kids is probably the fantasy angle. For the adults, it's pretty much the same thing," said April Majewski, 22, of Beltsville, Md.

"I really liked it, and I've read all four books," said Christina Sloan, 22, of Tampa. "The only thing I missed (being included in the film) was at the end with Hermione and her potions, the one last test that she and Harry and Ron had to pass."

"It was really fast-paced," said Hector Gonzalez, 22, of Tampa. "They cut out a few things, but they did make a great movie, condensed well, and the Quidditch match was great."

Reading experience didn't matter to Alice Ballmer, 57, of Clearwater: "I thought it was great, and I've never read any of the books. (It's about) the magic of life, looking forward to new things and new adventures."

And probably about looking forward to new movies.

Oldsmar's Kristen Haycox, 10 and already aware of the law of movie sequels, gave this assessment: "I liked it very much, especially the troll, the part where he got the wand stuck up his nose.

"But I thought they were going to show (action from) the whole set of books. I think there will be more movies."

_ STEVE PERSALL, Times film critic