Directed by Chris Columbus and based on the second book in J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series of novels, Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets sees the return of young wizards Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) for their second year at Hogwarts with a new Defense against the Dark Arts, Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh). But it’s not long before the trio find themselves in trouble again, as a mysterious presence begins stalking the corridors of a school of magic and leaving its victims paralyzed. It seems that someone has opened the mysterious Chamber of Secrets, letting loose the monster and all its calamitous powers.
The following post is a review of the film only. You can read my review of the book in comparison to the film here or my review of the book on its own here.
Whilst still a family-friendly film, this instalment is much darker than its predecessor and I will always remember how scared I was when watching the scenes in the chamber for the first time.
As an adaptation, it mostly stays faithful to the book. It follows the same formula as the first film, but it also moves the story on quite progressively, building up the tension of Voldemort’s return, unravelling some of Hogwart’s darkest myths, and developing a connection between Harry and the dark arts.
As a second instalment, Chamber of Secrets keeps the magic alive and brilliantly expands on the fictional universe with new classes, teachers, creatures, spells, more history about the school and a whole lot more mystery for Harry Potter to unravel. It’s action-packed and full of high school drama with a lot of humour, alongside the bigger things that Harry and his friends have to deal with even more rivalries, sinister secrets, and dark magic.
The leading trio has really grown into their characters already and their performances noticeably improve, with Jason Isaacs and Kenneth Branagh making excellent additions to the cast, as well. The special effects are great, too, with the scary monsters and critters of the chamber and the haunted woods creating a real sense of fear, and Dobby the elf quickly becoming one of our favourite characters.
Sadly, this was also the last that we got to see of Richard Harris as Dumbeldore before he passed away, but he will always be a huge member of the Harry Potter family that we will miss.