HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
After spending a horrid summer with his Aunt Petunia (Fiona Shaw) and Uncle Vernon Dursley (Richard Griffiths), Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and is happy to meet up with his best friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). Although Professor Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris), Professor Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith), Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) and Professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) are still on staff, new teacher Professor Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh) craves the spotlight that Harry’s earned last year. Then the school is gripped by fear as they learn that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened, with terrifying results.
Review by Louise Keller:
While the first film concentrated on introducing us to the bewitching world of Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets takes us there with a flick of a magic wand. The result is a magic adventure of greater complexity with more opportunities to develop the characters and storyline. Chris Columbus must have a formidable wand of his own, as this splendid, rollicking adventure overflows with enchanting elements and delights. It is such a complete and satisfying reality with its marvellous production design and extraordinary effects integrated into the narrative, that they don’t seem like special effects at all. One of my favourite sequences is that of the flying car that gets ‘whomped’ by the charmed Whomping Willow tree. And while the word whomp may not appear in your dictionary, it could well be an appropriate addition to any dictionary of similes. The subterranean Spiders Hollow, fashioned like a huge amphitheatre is also impressive with its awesome monstrous spiders. In addition to these huge arachnids, the gigantic slithering Basilisk snake which inhabits the chamber, offers some of the scariest moments, as it chases Harry through tunnels and caves. Of course, all the familiar faces of the much loved characters created by Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman and the late Richard Harris are back, plus welcome new additions. There’s Dobby the super, self-chastising computer-generated elf, Kenneth Branagh’s divinely narcissistic Gilderoy Lockart, Moaning Myrtle who lives in the U-bend of a loo in the girls’ lavatories and Jason Isaac’s evil Lucius. Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grint and Hermione Granger have grown with their characters, and deliver assured performances in the central roles. We are firmly enveloped in the reality of castles walled with Cluny tapestries, levitating candles and paintings that come to life, and caught in the middle of a dangerous game of Quidditch, when the stakes are high. John Williams’ seductive theme with its ethereal phrases is a natural extension to this world of wizards and wands, with additional music by William Ross. As we reach the satisfying climax and conclusion, we are left eager and waiting for the next in the instalment. Like The Neverending Story, in which Sebastian is captivated by the storybook characters, we too are a captive audience. The screenplay is faithful to J.K. Rowling’s book, although to its detriment, the 2 hour 40 minute running time is far too long. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a treat for all ages. Allow yourself the luxury of discovering this enchanted world for yourself. You deserve it!
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Attention grabbing for its entire running time (but did it need to be 161 minutes?), HP & TCOS positively swarms with danger and adventure, in what is possibly the most accomplished and satisfying sequel to a major success. The fantasy world of magic is delivered with pedantic attention to detail and in brilliantly seamless integration of camera and computer work. But it’s Harry Potter who grabs our attention as the focus of the story, the hero of the movie, as he and his friends dodge potentially fatal attacks from a range of dangers that would daunt Indiana Jones. The cast again deliver performances par excellence, and Chris Columbus gives the film a biting, almost dark edge; so much so I worry for the younger children who may find the odd scene terrifying. I found the Quidditch game pretty scary myself. Excellent technicals have matched this sequel with its predecessor for mood and tone, and the young cast have not seemingly aged enough to show. There are wonderful scenarios and gripping sequences that give the film its texture of thrills, while the characterisations provide depth as well as some fun.
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HARRY POTTER SPLASH PAGE
JASON ISAACS INTERVIEW by Andrew L. Urban
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (PG)
CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Jason Isaacs, Kenneth Branagh, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Warwick Davis, Sean Biggerstaff, Shirley Henderson, Miriam Margolyes, Alfred Burke, Toby Jones (voice), Tom Felton,
PRODUCER: David Heyman
DIRECTOR: Chris Columbus
SCRIPT: Steven Kloves, (novel by J.K. Rowling)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Roger Pratt
EDITOR: Peter Honess
MUSIC: John Williams, William Ross (additional new music)
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stuart Craig
RUNNING TIME: 161 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 28, 2002