Monday, June 6, 2011

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - A Sequel With Charm

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In 2001, Warner Brothers released a movie based on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the first book in a series of 7 by J.K. Rowling. It proved to be quite popular among children and adults alike, paving the way for the rest of the books to be adapted into movies with one coming the next year based the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, with Chris Columbus returning for directorial duties. As a fan of the book series, I was very excited to see it the first time as a child. Looking back as someone older, it still has the same magic that made its predecessor a classic.

A year after his first encounter with Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) continues to be mistreated by the Dursleys as they force him to his room when Uncle Vernon's (Richard Griffiths) boss comes to visit. While staying in his room, a House Elf named Dobby (Toby Jones) appears before Harry, warning him not to return to Hogwarts. When Harry refuses, Dobby uses his magic to disrupt the meeting downstairs, causing Vernon to place bars over Harry's window. Fortunately that night, Harry's friend Ron (Rupert Grint) appears along with his brothers Fred and George (James and Oliver Phelps) to rescue him, barely escaping Vernon's wrath and making it back to their home. After a disasterous turn of events the next day, Harry, Ron, and Hermione (Emma Watson) hear about the Chamber of Secrets, a secret area within Hogwarts that is said to be home to a monster. When several students, including Hermione, fall prey to the creature's petrifying gaze, it is up to Harry and Ron to figure out how to stop it.

This movie also has a straight-forward plot, if a little more complex than the first. Of course changes are made between the book and film, but they're so minor that they don't affect the overall workings of the magical world it's set in. The acting is still superb for a mainly young cast, which makes the story more enjoyable. When watching it as a kid, you really feel like you're part of the world of Hogwarts.

As with the first movie, the effects are a little outdated but still manage to hold up. Fawkes, Dumbledore's (Richard Harris) pet phoenix, has enough effects behind it to make the mythology of the creature look more believable, though at this point it's a little easier to tell when they used animatronics. Still, it's rather impressive how they managed to pull it off flawlessly with the standards of the time.

Though I don't see anything really wrong with this movie, there was one thing that bothered me, which can also be said for the book. What I find a little weird is how the antagonist's name, "Tom Marvolo Riddle" is an anagram for "I Am Lord Voldemort". To elaborate, it's the fact that he decided to include "I Am" as part of it, which any villain rearranging their name to make a new one would not normally do. Despite this little thing, I just let it go for the sake of the narrative.

Another thing I should mention is the after-credits scene. It is a scene that was actually added to the movie for comedic effect. It is a bit uneccesary, but it's still funny to watch. If you see this movie, even if you have already, it's worth waiting after the credits for.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is an amazing movie with the same charm as the movie before it. It still has the brightness of the original film and the child actors still give memorable performances. Older fans that have seen this as a kid will feel their childhood coming back to them. I would highly reccomend this movie for newer fans, especially if they've already seen the first movie.

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