Hogwarts Revisited – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

On the fifteenth of July, 2011, the highest grossing film franchise ever will finally come to an end. Spanning ten years, eight movies, four directors and a worldwide box-office gross of over six billion dollars – the Harry Potter film franchise will draw to a close with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, as Harry faces off against He Who Must Not Be Named for the very last time.

So, without further ado, previously on Harry Potter…

With a year of wizarding school under his belt, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is enjoying the spoils of his newfound fame and fortune – namely a whole bedroom to himself – when he meets with the unfortunate assistance of self-flagellating house-elf Dobby. Unable to access the Hogwarts Express via Platform 9 3/4, Harry and Ron (Rupert Grint) are left with many sane choices but opt to take Mr. Weasley’s flying car to school anyway, accidentally crashing into the schools whomping willow and breaking Ron’s wand in the process. With celebrity Gilderoy Lockheart (Kenneth Branagh) replacing Professor Quirrell as the school’s Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, a new mystery soon unfolds  – what exactly is the eponymous Chamber of Secrets?

Something is stalking the corridors of Hogwarts, petrifying anyone unlucky enough to get in its way. With Hermione (Emma Watson) soon out of action and Ron’s sister Ginny (Bonnie Wright) mysteriously missing, Harry learns of the Chamber’s location from the ghost of the creatures previous victim, Moaning Myrtle, and takes Ron and Lockheart to stop the creature before it can strike again. When Lockheart reveals himself to be a fraud and attempts to steal the glory from Harry using Ron’s broken wand, the spell backfires leaving Lockheart amnesic and Harry alone. Identifying Tom Riddle – Voldermort’s younger self, acting through an old diary – as the mastermind behind the Basilisks attacks, Harry slays the beast and destroys the book ending the spell and saving Ginny from her deathly fate.

Columbus returns for his second – and final – take on the Potter saga, delivering another faithful and assured adaptation in the process. A year older and without the benefit of the first movie’s novelty, Radcliffe, Grint and Watson’s thespian shortcomings come to the fore, exemplified in contrast to the talent occupying the film’s many supporting roles. Chamber of Secret’s also heralds in some of the franchises other trademarks, beginning the series’ ongoing pursuit of darkness while also boasting a winning sense of humour.

Although still bloated and overlong, this first sequel successfully irons out a few of Philosopher Stone’s primary flaws. Whereas the first film’s Quiddich sequence was relatively staid and unexciting, the effects have developed to a point where the game does justice to the wizarding sport. Similarly Dobby – although likened by some to the Phantom Menace’s Jar Jar Binks – is a welcome addition to the series, Toby Jones’ voicework really bringing the character to life. It is Jason Isaacs’ Lucius Malfoy who really steals the show, however, as Draco’s softly spoken but endlessly menacing father.

Currently the 21st highest-grossing film ever made, and the first film to sell one million DVDs in its opening weekend in the U.K., Columbus was clearly doing something right. Having picked a a name less alien to American audiences, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets also overcome the first film’s identity crisis, with the cast no longer having to worry about filming some scenes twice. Foreshadowing future instalments – particularly Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – with the introduction of Aragog and the destruction of Tom Riddles diary, revisiting the Chamber of Secrets is a truly portentous joy.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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