Finally got to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this weekend, and since no one else has posted a review I guess I’ll do so. I’ll attempt to use the Review Guide posted previously. Read More for the full review and leave your comments, but beware – there could be spoilers. Overall, 3.5 out of 5 stars.
For starters, this, like the previous movie, was a good adaptation of the book, not straying very far from the original text. However, for a 161 minute movie, there was a fair amount left out. I doubt they could have put much more in, but I think most important thing missing was Ginny Weasley. Yes, she was in the movie – but there were several points in the book related to the plot involving Ginny that were completely absent – instead, you only see her three times. I also wish they’d played up the Fred and George joker stuff. That will become more important in the next movie, and it would have been good to have something here. In fact, the only foreshadowing for future movies I saw was the awkward reunion at the end between Ron and Hermione, and I don’t remember seeing anything previously that would explain it.
It also seems that the acting may have dropped a notch. The three main kids have obviously aged, and seemed to be a little more awkward in their parts, except possibly Hermione, who was featured less than the other two. Ron wasn’t far off the mark either, but it seemed that some voice issues intruded (Rupert Grint’s voice may have been breaking during filming, as was Daniel Radcliffe’s). Harry seemed the most awkward.
Well, onto the points:
Plot/Story: As this is part of a series, movement of the overall story should be considered here. In general, nothing really changed. Most reviews of the books seem to indicate that this was the least liked and simply a story to give another Voldemort-related conflict for Harry to solve – and since this is a good adaptation of the book, the same goes for the movie. When all is said and done, you could probably skip this movie and not miss a thing. That said, it as still an OK story implemented well, definitely darker than the first and not for the younger set. 3 out of 5.
Character: Same problem with character development, at least for the main characters. Nothing changed, except a hint at something between Ron and Hermione. We do see a bit of Hagrid’s past as well as Voldemort’s, and we got three new characters. For a one shot, we got Gilderoy Lockhart, the self-absorbed celebrity wizard played well by Kenneth Brannagh. Decent adaptation, but they missed playing up the swooning of the girls in his presence. We also got two new recurring characters – Lucius Malfoy, played competently, perhaps not sinisterly enough, by Jason Isaacs, and Arthur Weasley, father of the Weasley clan, played well by Mark Williams, who I hope they will allow to explore the comic aspects of the character. 3 out of 5.
Visuals: Very well done. I don’t recall any major issues with the effects. 4 of 5.
Nitpicks: It’s easy to nitpick a book adaptation, even something that stays true to the book like this. However, most of my nitpicks have already been mentioned, and given that this is about fantasy witchcraft, you can’t really have any scientific nitpicks. The only major one I believe is the lack of Ginny scenes between the beginning and end. 3 of 5.
Overall: even still, I still liked this movie, although perhaps not as much as the original. Even with all the minor points, and having read the book, I could still sit and enjoy the movie. 4 of 5.
Total: 17 of 25, or 3.5 stars.
Final word: If you haven’t gone to see the movie and are thinking of reading (or re-reading) the book, wait until AFTER seeing the movie, so you won’t be wondering why things got left out. Enjoy the movie for what it is, and then fill in with the book. I am eagerly awaiting Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Akzaban, which promises to be a VERY dark movie.