[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B007N0IJGC][/pullquote] Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, released 15th November 2002, is the sequel to the massively popular Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Like the original it reunites director Chris Columbus with regular cast members Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasely) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). It was the third highest grossing film of the year behind Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Star Wars: Episode II -Attack of the Clones and took $879m worldwide.
As with the first instalment of the franchise it is important to note that the director and I have very different ideas on what Harry Potter should be. The Chamber of Secrets plot sees Harry stuck at the Dursley’s questioning the lack of contact from his friends Ron, Hermione and Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) when a house elf called Dobby (Toby Jones) comes to warn Harry that he must not return to Hogwarts school for Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year as there is a plot against his life. He is rescued by the Weasley’s in a flying car and when he gets to school a series of attacks lead he and his friends on a detective adventure to find out who is the ˜Heir of Slytherin’ and where the magical Chamber of Secrets is located.
The first thing to note is that the mood of The Chamber of Secrets is a lot darker and less ˜candy-cane sweet’ as the first film. The castle is lit in a darker way, which helps to create a nice atmosphere of threat. The music is not as bombastic either, with the director finally realising that you don’t have to make an imitation of Hook to create a successful children’s film. The Quidditch scenes and the special effects in general have improved a great deal, with characters swooping around on broomsticks rather than the cheap computer game effects of the first. Finally the film benefits from a plot that contains far more action than its predecessor, with the final battle in the chamber proving a worthy end to the story.
In Chamber of Secrets the acting remains much the same, with both Harry and Hermione failing to impress at all, whilst Ron is funny and charming in a loveable underdog way. The new characters are the real highlight. Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) is lip-curlingly evil and captures the character perfectly. Sir Kenneth Branagh steals every scene he is in with his simpering, falsely confident nincompoop portrayal of Harry’s new defence against the dark arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockheart. There are bigger roles for Mrs. Weasley (Julie Walters) and an introduction to the loveable Mr. Weasley (Mark Williams) who help to capture the poor, but delightful Weasley clan.
Sadly even with the new characters and the more film-friendly plot, there are large portions of exposition that is really not necessary and as a result the film’s unnecessarily long running time (2 hours, 46 minutes) feels twice as long and so by the end you’re begging for it to end.