161 Min. | Adventure – Family – Fantasy | November 2002
IMDB Rating: 7.4
Director: Chris Columbus
Staring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Review: Having done a good job with the first Harry Potter flick, one shouldn’t be surprised Chris Columbus was asked to direct the sequel as well. And the second film actually improves on its predecessor, getting a little edgier and less children-friendly (two factors that raise exponentially with each new installment), even though it does repeat an old mistake in certain places. So, what about the plot? Well, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, it’s Harry’s (Daniel Radcliffe) second year at Hogwarts, and everything should be fine, given he defeated Voldemort in the previous film and there are no other threats lurking in the magical world. Or are there? A mysterious house elf named Dobby seems to think so, as he repeatedly tries to prevent Harry from returning to school and keeps asking him to leave when students start being attacked by a supernatural, unknown foe.
All this seems to be connected to the Chamber of Secrets, but that isn’t of much help, especially considering the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, famous writer Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), is a complete idiot. Darker and faster, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets repeats the Philosopher’s Stone’s mistake of being slightly too faithful to the literary source, but Columbus manages to compensate this flaw with better visuals, some really creepy set-ups and improved acting from the younger cast members (Emma Watson in particular). He has also made interesting choices when it comes to the new faces in the adult group, Branagh is very, very funny as the ego-fueled Lockhart (a role originally intended for Hugh Grant), but the most interesting addition is Jason Isaacs (whom I can’t wait to see again in the fourth film) as Lucius Malfoy, an intriguingly sinister wizard who is as racist and arrogant as his son, Harry’s arch-nemesis Draco.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, as for Dobby, a CG creature voiced by Toby Jones, he is interesting at first but rapidly becomes annoying, his masochistic antics being repetitive and a little dull. Finally, a special mention for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’s best element, Richard Harris, who sadly passed away a few weeks before the movie’s premiere. He was, and is, incredibly good as headmaster Dumbledore and despite a worthy replacement (Michael Gambon), in the purists’ hearts he will always be the one and only greatest wizard of all time.
Overall, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is excellent.