Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Film: Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets
Release: 2002, Theatrical
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Previous in the series: Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's stone
Next in the Series: Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: Before his return to Hogwarts for his second school year, Harry Potter is visited by the house elf Dobby who warns him not to return for the sake of his own safety.

Hans' thoughts:

Once again we're brought into the magical world of Harry Potter, this time giving us a bit more insight into normal day-to-day wizard life. While "Sorcerer's Stone" was very much about being introduced to the wizard society and had a very adventurous feel to it, Chamber of Secrets is the first of the Potter stories to anchor onto the horror aspect of the series. Something that would be a defining feature for the movies to come. As far as sequels do, this movie does exactly what a movie should do. It has more locations, more characters, higher stakes and a larger than life story. Chamber of Secrets is just a much bigger movie overall. Now, this movie does have some aspects of which it is lesser than Sorcerer's Stone. First off, the shots are not nearly as ambitious as the former movie, Indeed it straight up copies the famous shot from Alien. The movie also has a lot more of a cartoony feel to it. It plays much more on the comedy of the book, which is kinda weird considering the high potential for horror this particular story has.

However, to it's credit the comedy kind of works out as a saving grace. As the movies tone manages to keep the creepiness abound but without making it completely dull - which I imagine a full-on childrens horror story could have done. As such it becomes more of an adventure story. I have to admit, I absolutely adore the sets of this movie. While the actual CGI has aged a bit worse than in Sorcerer's, the sets are as great as ever. From the look of the Weasley household, to the staircase leading up to Professor Dumbledore's office. The actual Chamber of Secrets is actually very creepy, though a bit of a letdown after all the build up. I mean hey, the title of the thing is "Chamber of Secrets" so I didn't expect it to be so.. empty. However, as it stands the climax is exciting enough to make it unnoticeable. The villains of the movie is also a lot more interesting, Lucius Malfoy making for a very real threat. We also get some backstory for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. In all seriousness, if we're only going by the movies this was needed - badly! He was barely established in Sorcerer's. 

As for the acting, I can't feel the difference when it comes to the child actors. They're still kind of stumbling through it, but good enough that it doesn't take you out of the experience. The addition of Kenneth Branagh is a fun change though, He makes for a fun character. This is the movie of the series I've seen the most, as this is the one that came out when my Harry Potter fandom was at it's peak. As such, this remains to this day my absolute favorite - as opposed to the ones coming up. But we'll talk about those when we get to them.
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