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Movie » CoS » Film Reviews

Director: Chris Columbus
Running Time: 2 hours, 38 min.
Rating: PG (for some scary moments, creature violence, and mild language)

Scott's Review - Jasen's Review

Posted: 11/19/02
Author: Scott G.
Review Rating: * * * * (4 out of 5)

First off, I have to credit my audience. They were very responsive to the movie, which is always a good sign. It was the 4 pm show at the Chateau Theatres in Rochester, MN, on opening day (November 15th) in case any readers happen to have been there.

I have to begin with the acting, since in my review of the DVD, I didn’t like it that much. The second time around it was MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better. Dan Radcliffe seemed more comfortable with the role and the repeated takes necessary for movie production. Emma had a much-reduced role, which I disagreed with; she is too important to cut out like that. Though, Rupert did a great job providing comic relief (he spent about half the movie scared of one thing or another). The “big name” actors (like Richard Harris and Alan Rickman) did great themselves. Kenneth Branaugh was even better as Gilderoy Lockhart than I had thought. He has some unbelievably great lines that weren’t in the book. One problem I had, however, was that Maggie Smith didn’t seem to put the proper emotion into her lines. She tried to sound concerned, but it came across, to me anyway, as boredom. Richard Harris did very good, but I could tell that he was not in good health, and he sounded more tired than he did in HPSS/PS.

The plot as compared to the book was close, but not quite. There were some continuity errors, such as events happening out of order, or being omitted. I didn’t like the Quidditch scene starting in the middle; even less did I like the Slytherin being up by over 50 pts. But overall, I didn’t mind so much.

The special effects were superb this time. The Quidditch scene was much smoother, faster, clearer…in fact it was everything they promised it would be. Harry’s boneless arm was quite frankly disgusting, as was the bubbling in his hands and face when he turned into Crabbe or Goyle—whoever it was. The basilisk was well done, but I thought it should have looked more snake like (a minor thing, really). The snake moved very realistically. Finally, we get to Dobby. Everyone’s greatest fear was that he would become Jar-Jar Binks. Thankfully, this was not the case. There were times when the voice was annoying, but for the most part, I just felt sad for him, having to live with the Malfoys and all. His graphics were a little cartoonish, but he seemed realistic enough, and these cartoonish differences made him seem kind of a bit out of the ordinary (in a good way). But thankfully, nothing was anywhere near being as bad as the troll was last movie.

Now, the sound was great enough to have almost matched the action sequences perfectly. Christmas sounded pretty much the same as the first movie, but that’s to be expected. Honestly, I can’t think of too much to say about the sound…I was to focused on the movie.

The one major complaint I had about the movie was that there was only one scene that tried to show us that people were afraid of Harry. They should have worked harder at that, in my opinion. I wanted to see Fred and George shouting “Make way for the Heir of Slytherin!” and I REALLY wanted to see the dwarf dressed up as Cupid singing Harry his valentine.


On the whole, this movie was definitely MUCH better than the first. I realize not all of you will agree with me, but if I wait for universal popularity, I’ll be long dead before I submit this review. I have to again credit the audience that was in the theatre with me. You were great! It’s not often at all that people start cheering in the middle of a movie, or going “Awwwwwwww”, when Harry and Hermione hugged, or clapping when Dumbledore started to. It was truly a pleasure to view the movie with you. Anyway, there’s just one more thing for me to mention, but it’s a big spoiler about what comes AFTER, that’s right AFTER the credits. It’s in white ink so you’ll have to highlight it if you’re brave enough.

The end of the credits goes back to Diagon Alley. It zooms in on Flourish and Blotts. We see a book in the window and the camera focuses on it for a closer look. It’s Gilderoy Lockharts’ new book entitled “Who am I?” The absolutely unbelievable thing about this is that I wrote something uncannily similar as a Daily Prophet article for iHP.net!!! If you care to take a gander at my article, it is in the archives section of the Daily Prophet under the April-May edition. The article is entitled Hoaxer Turned Honest? Anyway, that’s what I thought I’d mention. Enjoy the Movie!



Posted: 11/22/02
Author: Jasen W.
Review Rating: * * * * * (5 out of 5)

“The Chamber of Secrets” is AMAZING. Upon coming back home from the movie, I couldn’t remember how many people I told that to—and who could really blame me? It’s already been said before, but CoS is one of those extremely, extremely rare sequels, that surpass the original, whether it’s by the story, special effects, acting, music…it’s all back and better than ever.

Thankfully, I saw it only a week after it had been released, and not a couple weeks later (like last year). And during this waiting period, I heard much talk of how much better this one was than HPSS/PS and today, I went into the theater, more hopeful than I had ever been…and thank goodness I wasn’t disappointed.

Now, what was there to possibly improve on? Well, just about everything (not that the stuff in HPSS/PS were bad, necessarily). The acting was terrific-I was much relieved throughout the movie, when I noticed how much better Daniel Radcliffe was this time. He showed more emotion, more confidence, and a better sense of direction (thanks to Chris Columbus). Rupert Grint was charming and hilarious like usual, and Emma Watson was the same, good ol’ Hermione, whom blushed a couple of times, by the way. Richard Harris, on the other hand, didn’t seem as comfortable as Dumbledore this time, almost as if he did all his lines in one take. But with Harris on board, it’s never really a loss. And now, the new people: I honestly do not think anyone could have pulled off Lucius Malfoy any better than Jason Issacs did (his cinematic stature isn’t exactly in competition with Alan Rickman as Snape; he was that good.) Issacs had this devilish charisma, which really, was what I came to expect out of the father of Harry’s arch nemesis, Draco Malfoy. Similarly, Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal as the “dashing”-fraud-of a wizard made me want to hand him an Oscar for “Best Arrogant Actor”. From the moment we saw him enter the signing area of Flourish and Blotts and introduce himself, so proudly, I couldn’t help but get a wide grin of approval. Glorious. As for Dobby, the only annoying thing about him was his voice, but on still, his voice matched what I had in mind for the house-elf just fine. And in any case, he definitely wasn’t some weird, walking, talking, duck-like creature like a certain Jar Jar Binks. Dobby’s higher than that, despite his being a house-elf, but it’s not his fault. And despite some other critics’ opinions about Dobby being downright annoying, I’d have to disagree-he was so innocent, the audience couldn’t help but think of him as cute, though, in a pathetic sort of way. Basically, we all felt for him.


Something that’s common in both of the films, are the very elaborate, very large sets, which are created specifically to capture the overall atmosphere of the legendary wizarding school. The sets were already magnificent in the previous film, but production designer, Stuart Craig, really outdid himself this time. All the little above and underground passageways, and rooms were so ornate, that it was more than eyecandy—kind of like a realistic fantasy, that you could have swore to be real, after the leaving the theater. The Chamber was much larger than I had expected it to be, which gave off a very dark mood to its whole purpose. Complete with dozens of stone statuettes of snakes, bordering a long walkway, you could really feel the presence of someone—or something—lurking in it.

The special effects in this film are incredible-the Quidditch is faster, more intense, smoother, and better-looking on the whole. The only slight irritation that I got, was how the game started before we even got to see it start. I wonder why Columbus decided to cut to the scene at around the end of the first quarter or so? Probably time restriction, but heck, if you’re already going to make a two and a half hour film, why not just add a couple more minutes more? Ah well. In contrast, Harry’s short-lived battle with the basilisk was satisfying, but a bit awkward, in addition to the whole ending scene in the chamber. It was nice that Steve Kloves synthesized the entire explanation that Tom Riddle gives to Harry, but it seemed more like he stretched out what was left-it almost didn’t fit the scene. Almost. Christian Coulson definitely couldn’t have been a better teen Voldemort (but it’s still a wonder why Hollywood hires such old actors to play teenagers?). He was mysterious and ambiguously deadly, but still had the sly subtlety that the student, Riddle had. When he confronted Harry about his past and future, you could sense the kind of strong antagonism he had towards Harry. Coulson really did steal the two scenes he was in. Speaking of his scenes, why didn’t they show Hagrid’s face in the diary memory? Maybe they couldn’t make Robbie Coltrane (if it was him) look younger, perhaps? And what was up with Dumbledore not wearing glasses yet?

Apart from the aforementioned minor flaws in the film, the only other blemishes that I can clearly remember are their lack of attention towards Ginny’s strange behavior throughout the year. They should have at least had a scene with Ginny passing by, only to be stopped by Harry and Ron, who ask how she’s been doing so far at Hogwarts, while trying to see if she’ll mutter anything about the diary. And if you really want to get down to the nitty-gritty of minor flaws, the filmmakers also failed a bit to address the subject of the strangled roosters, which, of course, are directly related to the basilisk. On a last note of the subject, the filmmakers also did not focus on the students animosity towards Harry, after he unknowingly set the snake on Justin Finch-Fletchley at the Dueling Club, despite Chris Columbus’ and producer David Heyman’s numerous mentions of it.

The pacing was nice and smooth, though it was long, and like how my friend who accompanied me said, “It was long, but it wasn’t boring”. However, the very ending didn’t seem to “fulfill” the story. While it wasn’t necessarily bad, it was didn’t too good of a job concluding—they should have at least showed a fade to the Hogwarts Express as it pulls out of the station (like in HPSS/PS). Nonetheless, I was very overwhelmed at how much better (on some levels) “The Chamber of Secrets” was. As magical as it was, we all have to thank the very talented cast and crew, and obviously, a very big thank you to J.K. Rowling for giving us such a wonderful gift to treasure for years to come.
If CoS was this good, imagine what cos will be like…only a year and a half more to go!


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