It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.
Forced to spend his summer holidays with his muggle relations, Harry Potter gets a real shock when he gets a surprise visitor: Dobby the house-elf, who warns Harry Potter against returning to Hogwarts, for terrible things are going to happen. Harry decides to ignore Dobby's warning and continues with his pre-arranged schedule. But at Hogwarts, strange and terrible things are indeed happening: Harry is suddenly hearing mysterious voices from inside the walls, muggle-born students are being attacked, and a message scrawled on the wall in blood puts everyone on his/her guard - "The Chamber Of Secrets Has Been Opened. Enemies Of The Heir, Beware" . Written by
When Harry accidentally travels to the Dark Arts store (Borgin and Burkes), his glasses are cracked when he exits the fireplace. When Harry comes out of the coffin from hiding, his glasses appear to be intact. In the next shot, they are cracked again. See more »
[Hedwig wants to be let out of her cage]
I can't let you out, Hedwig! I'm not allowed to use magic outside of school. Besides, if Uncle Vernon...
Now you've done it.
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The film begins with some dark clouds, one of them moves aside to reveal the Warner Bros logo which zooms in then turns away out of the picture, some more clouds then move aside to reveal the film title shining a bit in the sunset. See more »
Back to school, Mr. Potter: a superior second installment
Having done a good job with the first Harry Potter flick, one shouldn't be surprised Chris Columbus was asked to direct the sequel as well. And the second film actually improves on its predecessor, getting a little edgier and less children-friendly (two factors that raise exponentially with each new installment), even though it does repeat an old mistake in certain places.
So, what about the plot? Well, it's Harry's (Daniel Radcliffe) second year at Hogwarts, and everything should be fine, given he defeated Voldemort in the previous film and there are no other threats lurking in the magical world. Or are there? A mysterious house elf named Dobby seems to think so, as he repeatedly tries to prevent Harry from returning to school and keeps asking him to leave when students start being attacked by a supernatural, unknown foe. All this seems to be connected to the Chamber of Secrets, but that isn't of much help, especially considering the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, famous writer Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), is a complete idiot.
Darker and faster, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets repeats the Philosopher's Stone's mistake of being slightly too faithful to the literary source, but Columbus manages to compensate this flaw with better visuals, some really creepy set-ups and improved acting from the younger cast members (Emma Watson in particular). He has also made interesting choices when it comes to the new faces in the adult group: Branagh is very, very funny as the ego-fueled Lockhart (a role originally intended for Hugh Grant), but the most interesting addition is Jason Isaacs (whom I can't wait to see again in the fourth film) as Lucius Malfoy, an intriguingly sinister wizard who is as racist and arrogant as his son, Harry's arch-nemesis Draco. As for Dobby, a CG creature voiced by Toby Jones, he is interesting at first but rapidly becomes annoying, his masochistic antics being repetitive and a little dull.
Finally, a special mention for Chamber's best element: Richard Harris, who sadly passed away a few weeks before the movie's premiere. He was, and is, incredibly good as headmaster Dumbledore and despite a worthy replacement (Michael Gambon), in the purists' hearts he will always be the one and only greatest wizard of all time.
Verdict: good, but they could have done better. Thankfully, they did with number three...
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