Harry Potter and the Chamber of the Secrets (2002)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 8:26 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 8.3/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 7/10


Things have just become a little bit darker for Harry, and it all begins with a warning from an elf; a warning that Harry must not return to Hogwarts. Putting Chris Columbus back in the director's chair, The Chamber of Secrets is the next entry of the Harry Potter series, this time with a plot that is far more involving for every character and far more large-scale.

Chamber of Secrets once again revolves around our favorite trio of young wizards and best friends, as they find victims petrified into statues, warnings written in blood on the walls, and word that the Chamber of Secrets has been "opened," unleashing a monster. With a larger story, The Chamber of Secrets is in ways better and worse than its predecessor.

Doing what a good sequel needs, Chamber of Secrets expands the history of Hogwarts, diving deeper into the four houses, specifically on Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin. As a result, the realm of mystery is far stronger this time around, in comparison to The Sorcerer's Stone, and because this mystery is hurting all kinds of people in the school, there exists a far greater fear for our loved characters. This is where Chamber is stronger in terms of a film, for it packs a far more compelling narrative and far more gripping directing.

The acting this time around is far more natural, as each actor slowly becomes more and more comfortable with his/her role. In addition, the film does a splendid job in putting new characters onto the screen without making them showcases. Ginny doesn't steal the show and Moaning Myrtle doesn't steal the show. Though Lockhart might have, but that's alright.

Once again, the film thrives with great production designs and superior visual effects, delivering all astounding scenes with great promise. From the Whomping Willow to Aragog's army to the Basilisk, The Chamber of Secrets brings much life from the book onto the screen.

In addition, this entry is one of the more faithful adaptations. However, just like how Sorcerer's Stone suffered from this, Chamber of Secrets suffered as well. This is where Chamber falls down, because it no longer has the job of introducing the world to us. When a film is simply a continuation of an already-known world, is even longer than the previous film, and still follows everything page-by-page, there is a sense of Chamber losing its magic. Though the film still holds up today, it is more unacceptable to tolerate Columbus' flaws a second time.

This is where Chamber of Secrets divides public audience members. Lovers of the original book might say Chamber is their favorite film because it is the most faithful. On the other side, fans might say Chamber is the worst film because of the same reason. In this critic's opinion, being faithful is admirable. However, being faithful and offering nothing else is disappointing.

For the first Harry Potter film, this problem was dismissed since it was the introductory piece, and perhaps being faithful was the best decision to make. Here, there was a chance for Chris Columbus to deliver something more or something original that the book never offered. Instead, he played it safe. Too safe. Harry Potter fans will inevitably enjoy Chamber of Secrets, but I was left still wanting more.

Come to think of it, none of the more experienced wizards do anything about the danger. It's as if they are waiting for Harry Potter to come along and save the day. Oh well.

Moving the flaws aside, Chamber of Secrets is still without a doubt a captivating fantasy that triumphs with a great plot and great characters. Simply put, it is a gratifying continuation of the film series, and the boy who lived is still safe this time around on screen.

In conclusion, Chamber of Secrets fulfills its requirements of a sequel, book and film. Though it comes forth with a much darker agenda, it still contains many moments of entertainment for the children and adults to share, ranging from Mandrake roots to simply Dobby the house elf himself. It suffers from the same flaws that plagued Sorcerer's Stone, but thankfully it achieves the mission of delivering a second magical journey for Harry and the audience. Without a doubt, Chamber of Secrets brings about the idea that the series will only get more and more serious. By this time, we are curious as to what Alfonso Cuaron can bring to the table with the next entry. Surely, something wicked this way comes….

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