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Friday, October 12, 2012

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) - The Mold is Set for the Franchise


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 movieloversreviews.filminspector.com film poster
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002).

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002), directed by Chris Columbus, is the second installment in the Harry Potter franchise. While the first film in the series, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (2001), was a big success, the production team still was experimenting and tinkering and the actors were still trying to create their characters. In my humble opinion, that first film was mediocre despite its rapturous reception. With "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," the Harry Potter team gets things right. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" sets the mold for all the Harry Potter films to follow.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 movieloversreviews.filminspector.com Daniel Radcliffe
Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe, learns his lessons well.

The first installment, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," introduced all of the main characters. It did not quite get to establishing the wizard triumvirate of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as the foundation of everything. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" does that definitively.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 movieloversreviews.filminspector.com Emma Watson
Hermione (Emma Watson) mixing a potion in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

In brief, Harry Potter (Radcliffe) ignores warnings not to return to Hogwarts. When he does get there, he finds the school plagued by a series of mysterious attacks. In addition, there is a strange voice haunting him. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" shows how Harry Potter handles the situation with his friends, Hermione Granger (Watson) and Ron Weasley (Grint).

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 movieloversreviews.filminspector.com Daniel Radcliffe Tom Felton
Harry and Draco square off in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 ."

Let's back up a step. Forced to spend his summer holidays with his un-cool relations, Harry Potter is shocked when he gets a surprise visitor: Dobby the house-elf (voiced by Toby Jones). Dobby warns Harry Potter against returning to Hogwarts because terrible things are about to happen there. However, Harry is determined to return and continue his education as a wizard.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 movieloversreviews.filminspector.com Rupert Grint
Rupert Grint gets second billing in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

Harry ignores Dobby's warning and continues with his scheduled return. He finds that strange and terrible things indeed are happening at Hogwarts. He hears mysterious voices from inside the walls, muggle-born students are attacked, and a message scrawled on the wall in blood puts everyone on their guard - "The Chamber Of Secrets Has Been Opened. Enemies Of The Heir, Beware." Nobody knows what this means, so it is time to do a little investigating. Things proceed to their logical conclusion from there.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 movieloversreviews.filminspector.com Daniel Radcliffe Emma Watson
Harry and Hermione in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is generally considered a better film than the first one, and not just by me. That isn't too surprising, the Harry Potter universe is very unlike any other and required a lot of thought about how to transpose it to the screen. Director Columbus and his team used the lessons from the first film to figure out the formula. In "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," they pound it out. As if to emphasize this increased perception of what is driving the franchise, Radcliffe, Grint and Watson get the three top billing slots in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," unlike the first film.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 movieloversreviews.filminspector.com Tom Felton
Tom Felton makes an impact as Draco Malfoy in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

The kids are a bit older, though they still are kids. Their acting is somewhat improved, though not much. The Harry Potter film progression obviously is a learning process for everyone, both behind and in front of the camera. Rather than just being cute kids dressed up, in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" they actually carry their scenes rather than just inhabit them, which is a vast improvement over the first film.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 movieloversreviews.filminspector.com Daniel Radcliffe
A learning experience in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

There are the usual colorful scenes in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," and lots of Halloween imagery as in the first film. You pretty much know what you are getting when you enter a Potter movie, as you do when you go to McDonalds. The surprises are few, the machine just runs smoother. The cast is virtually unchanged with Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters and Alan Rickman doing their usual bits. Tom Felton is good as a classmate of Harry Potter who challenges him to duel. Note for the future - challenging the star of the series to a duel is usually not a wise choice.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 movieloversreviews.filminspector.com Daniel Radcliffe Alan Rickman Richard Harris
Harry learning some lessons in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

So, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is a great film for fans of the franchise. You must see it if you have read the J.K. Rowling books because it is a "faithful adaptation" by screenwriter Steve Kloves. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" did not get nominated for any Academy Awards through some oversight, but the effects and cinematography are top-notch. This film I can recommend for its quality, not just its hype.



Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 movieloversreviews.filminspector.com Daniel Radcliffe film poster


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