My journey through the visualization of J.K. Rowling’s world of wizardry and witchcraft continues with the second film in the series, ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’. Year two for Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger sees the trio of friends return to Hogwarts along with a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and new horrors.
The way that ‘Chamber of Secrets’ was filmed was nearly identical to ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, attributed to director Christopher Columbus returning and doing a near complete book-to-film transfer for the second time. While it is great for details, it causes for a bloated run time, which causes ‘Chamber of Secrets’ to be too dry at times.
While leaving the villain absent until the end was a nice touch, the film did suffer a bit for that, as it is difficult to imagine what is happening in those moments. The side story of the deception behind the first opening of the Chamber some 50 years earlier was a nice touch to bring more backstory to the character of Hagrid, who is a personal favourite of one member of our family, and continues his trait of showing admiration for strange creatures.
I personally enjoyed the development, unveiling and eventual proverbial tossing aside of the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart. As a con-artist, Lockhart is shown to have charm and smiles but as a teacher to be completely out of his depth, which he shows towards the end of the film. Kenneth Branagh pulls this role off with all of his Shakespearean talents and it is a little sad it was a one off role in the end.
At the end of the film, we finally get our first showing of the “villain’ of ‘Chamber of Secrets’ in the manifestation of the diary of the series’ main antagonist, Lord Voldemort. Also a great way to delve into the back story of Voldemort, the scenes in the chamber are the best of the film. Using the basilisk, the final parting gift from one of Hogwarts’ original founders, as the physical representation for the final scenes was also an interesting way to continue to tie in the fact that snakes and serpents play a large role in the entire series.
‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ is at times uneven due to the length of the overall film, but does a great job of furthering the entirety of the main story and does just enough to stand on its own as well.
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