Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (movie review)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second installment of the franchise and the first time I saw it, I enjoyed it, but chucked it up to just a random Harry Potter adventure. Of course, we all learned later that the climax of this movie was much more important than it seemed at the time on at least two story points, which doesn’t help this movie much… Not to say it’s a bad movie (in fact, I think it’s Dr. Girlfriend’s favorite), yet I have seen on the ol’ inter-web that a lot of people don’t care for this one. Let’s take a closer look!
I readily admit that there’s a lot to criticize in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but it’s also a lot of fun. The flying car, the whomping willow, the pixies, Dobby the house elf, the quidditch game, the diary, the fight in the Chamber… it’s fun! Sure, I don’t think the production team took this movie as seriously as they could have, but there’s still plenty of good stuff here. It’s full of imagination, colors and a satisfying conclusion.
Fine, internet – I am prepared to talk about the more frustrating aspects of the movie. Bare in mind, a lot of this is nitpicking…
“Convenience at Diagon Alley” sounds like a western movie, doesn’t it? That’s what happens, though – Harry ends up in just the right place at the exact right time to hear exactly what he needs to hear. Whatever; plot convenience is hardly exclusive to the Chamber of Secrets.
The music is lazy; at least two themes are the exact same bits of music from Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The Couresant chase/Droid Factory music is played over the quidditch match. There’s also this “doom and gloom” thing that you hear when Count Dooku is around; it shows up in this movie at least once, too.
The movie keeps making Harry say, “hang on a minute.” It happens at least twice, and it really sticks out. Dobby is saying Harry shouldn’t miss his friends because they didn’t write him, to which Harry replies, “Well, I expect they’ve been busy… hang on, how did you know…”
“I can’t let you out, Hedwig! I’m not allowed to use magic outside of school.”
Opening a cage doesn’t require magic, Harry. But that’s true, that’s the rule… unless Hermione is fixing Harry’s glasses – in that case, whatever.
As long as we’re nitpicking, I only remember the Chamber of Secrets having one secret… but the “Chamber of Secret” sounds like it’s full of deodorant or something.
Oh, and the Weasley’s clock is broken – Molly, Percy and Ginny are all home, yet their hands are not at the ‘home’ position.
Roll call! Harry is constantly tasked with naming all of the characters in the movie in case we forgot. The most awkward deliveries are:
“Ron, Fred, George, what are you doing here?”
“Professor McGonagall! Professor Dumbledore!”
It doesn’t help that we hang on these images of people who just stare back at Harry.
If you care about such things, this movie is ripe with continuity errors and countless pieces of equipment and crew members lying around in many shots, but that sort of thing doesn’t really hurt the movie; sure, it might bug you that dents appear and disappear from the flying car, but it really doesn’t matter. And yes, there are tons of jeans clad crew members hanging around Hogwarts Castle, but whatever.
For me, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a lot of fun, and it’s not exactly The Godfather; it stars at the time unknown child actors and features prominent British actors in supporting roles, so it’s a mix of skilled veterans and kids trying to find their way… just like school! It’s got plenty of memorable moments (I didn’t even mention The Howler or the Weasley’s family bird) and while it might be a bit too intense for the real little kids, it’s mostly family fun, and that’s a rare thing in an entertainment world that has become more and more compartmentalized.
I recommend revisiting Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and if you’re new to the series, hit up The Sorcerer’s Stone and then head back for this one.