Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 
Release Date: November 15, 2002
Director:  Chris Columbus
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

Chris Columbus is not a particularly imaginative director which is apparent in this second movie of the series.  The first half of the movie seems to emphasize gags about the strangeness of the Wizarding World to an outsider, Harry, and just feels old-fashioned in a bad way.  The second half of the film is an (admittedly well-done) action movie, but it sacrifices character moments.  For these reasons I find this to be the weakest of the Harry Potter movie adaptations.

Some good features include Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart, a part he appears born to play.  Also, Dobby is introduced and is a good mix of special effects creating a suitably strange creature, but also has enough personality to work as a character.

Rating: **1/2

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Author: J.K. Rowling
Title: Harry Potter and the  Chamber of Secrets
Narrator: Jim Dale
Publication Info: Listening Library, 1999 [Originally published, 1998]

The second novel in the series is a delightful stand alone story that shows Harry facing challenges as an outsider in the Wizarding World at the school he loves, as well as introducing metaphors of racial prejudice regarding non-magical people.  This book introduces several elements important to the whole series including: Dobby the house elf, Parselmouth, polyjuice potion, Aragog the spider, and the first horcrux (albeit not named as such in this book). Most significantly, we learn about Lord Voldemort’s past, with Rowling cleverly introducing the young Tom Riddle by way of the diary. Professor Binns, the ghost history professor, also plays a key role in this book, and I, for one, am disappointed he never appeared in the movies. While I’d remembered that Gildroy Lockhart is a fraud, I’d forgotten that he was also villainous in how he stole people’s memories.

Rating: ****