Anthony's Film Review
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
The second Harry Potter story easily surpasses the first one...
If you compare the second Harry Potter movie, the Chamber of Secrets, with the first Harry Potter movie, the Philosopher's Stone (or Sorcerer's Stone, as known in the United States), you will notice one striking difference. The first one has limited dialogue for the characters, whereas the second allows the actors more time to present who their characters are. It's as if the characters of the first movie felt reluctant to fully express themselves and the characters in the second became more free to do so. This is one reason for me to like the second film over the first film.
The wonderful cast from the first is back, including Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore, Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Alan Rickman as Snape, and Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy. There are also a couple of new characters, including Kenneth Branagh as the narcissistic but incompetent professor Gilderoy Lockhart, Jason Isaacs as Draco's arrogant father Lucius Malfoy, Bonnie Wright as Ron's sister Ginny Weasley, Shirley Henderson as a ghost named Moaning Myrtle, an elf named Dobby, and a boy named Tom Riddle.
Besides a great cast, the movie also continues to maintain the strong point from the first movie: excellent production design, which I don't need to elaborate on. Otherwise, the plot follows J.K. Rowling's formula of life at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry intertwined with a central mystery. Here, the school is faced with a series of scary events, including the death of a cat, people turning into stone, and an evil voice within Harry's head. As Professor McGonagall explains, there is legend about a Chamber of Secrets within the school. Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out to investigate, thinking that the Chamber is the root of these problems.
And here is where the Chamber surpasses the Stone. The previous movie had a simpler plot with just enough twists and turns to make the mystery convoluted enough. In this one, it's more complicated and, as a result, more satisfying to follow. Besides the events mentioned above, there are moments that include Harry being the prime suspect, the Polyjuice Potion, a magic diary, and a rogue Bludger in a Quidditch match. The consequences are also darker. As these events unfold, there is increasing talk about imposing restrictions and even closing the school for the safety of the children.
For all of these reasons, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a top-notch story. It benefits from an intriguing plot that follows the introductory story of the first Harry Potter adventure. Basically, take all the elements from the first film and multiplying them by at least two. It's fun, exciting, emotional, and memorable. If I had to rank each of the Harry Potter stories, the Chamber of Secrets would certainly be near the top. And if you've seen the first movie and think it's very good, just wait until you see this one. It will amaze you.
For more information about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following:
The Harry Potter Films