So I was going to stretch these reviews out so that I would finish the series around the release of Fantastic Beasts but I can’t stop watching the Harry Potter film (I’ve already watched all of them). I had so much fun reviewing the Philosopher’s Stone, I’m going to review a film a week. So let’s get to the second film in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Chamber of Secrets stars Daniel Radcliffe (The Woman in Black, Horns), Rupert Grint (Currently working at a bowling alley), Emma Watson (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Noah), Richard Harris (Gladiator, Unforgiven) and is directed by Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Home Alone 2).
Despite the warning from a house Elf, difficulties getting to Hogwarts and a run in with a certain magical tree, Harry refuses to believe Hogwarts isn’t the safe place he thought it was. When attacks happen throughout the school year, Harry and his friends have to yet again discover the mystery and save the day.
I have been enjoying watching the Harry Potter films all over again the last week because although I’m only up to the second film in reviews, I haven’t been able to stop watching the films since I started. Chamber of Secrets isn’t my favorite of the Potter films but man, is it still enjoyable. Pretty much all the cast is back, Columbus is back and a 6 year old me was also back in the cinema in November of 2002.
In the last review I mentioned Daniel Radcliffe and the chemistry of the main three (which continued to grow in this film) but I neglected to mention the comedic brilliance of Rupert Grint. In this particular film he steals the show with constant hilarious antics, dialogue and the least effective wand. His comedic timing at such a young age was incredible and his facial expression were only matched by Richard Griffiths. And speaking of Richard Griffiths, he may be the unsung hero of the HP series, with his portrayal of Vernon Dursley. He plays a perfect mean Uncle, yet is hysterical to watch. He was a great talent and it was sad to see him pass back in 2013.
Another actor who unfortunately left us, was Richard Harris. Harris as Dumbledore couldn’t have been a better fit for the character in these first two films. The warmth, fragile, kindness he brought to the character, maybe wouldn’t have worked as well in later films but was excellent at this time. Dumbledore is known for his inspiring riddles and speeches, in the Chamber of Secrets he gives his greatest and most memorable, “choices” speech. Richard Harris was a legendary actor, with many legendary roles but Dumbledore may be he’s best.
Chamber of Secrets also brought us the introduction of Dobby the House Elf. Rewatching this film I was really surprised how well the effects held up. Some of the green screen and CGI in the first film looked a bit wonky but Dobby still looks awesome. He’s a great addition to the cast and in the films wasn’t used nearly enough. Even later on when the monster is revealed, for the most part the effects look pretty good.
Just like the first film, Chamber of Secrets is directed by Chris Columbus and so with that comes the light, happy tone. Similar to Richard Harris, this kind of tone wouldn’t have worked later on in the series but for these first two films, it’s wonderful. This is such a fun film to watch, it always puts me in a good mood just before things start to get really dark.
My problem with this film is that everything is very convenient. People are being paralyzed but conveniently we were just at a class with Professor Sprout and she has the perfect cure. The scenarios in which everyone is paralyzed is way too easy and characters who have information just happen to appear when needed. Usually Harry Potter films are subtle with the way they put their mystery together but in this one it’s not disguised well.
Maybe Chamber of Secrets isn’t the best of the HP films but I still love watching it. The comedy is really strong (I didn’t even mention the great Kenneth Branagh), the cast keeps getting better and Dobby won the hearts of fans everywhere.
Have you seen Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and what do you think of it?