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Harry Potter Countdown: No. 6 ‘Chamber of Secrets’

The finale of one of cinema's best-executed franchises in "Harry Potter" comes out next Friday and we are going to continue with our countdown with No. 6 on our list of least to most enjoyed, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Coincidentally the first two films cap off the "least enjoyed" section. Based on the second novel, “Chamber of Secrets” we describe the film as both fun family fantasy and patch piece of work. Here are our thoughts in more detail:

SIMON: Like the books upon which the films were based, the first two installments of the magical franchise were beguiling, unobtrusive and slight in narrative potency. At about 350 pages (versus almost 900 at the series peak), the characters were rendered rather cardboard, the plot raced along without complexity and as one would expect, this is apparent in the film.

That being said, Chris Columbus was able to beautifully capture the lighter spirit of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets while improving on his first foray into the franchise. Perhaps along with J.K. Rowling s defter grasp on the characters and her magical reality that would eventually cultivate, number one and two have not stood the test of time as well as their brooding successors. Toss in child actors that have not quite yet met their respective strides and you have a whimsical but slender chapter to the saga. Rating: 7.5/10

Despite the fact Ive never read the books, even I know the first two in the series are notably lighter in tone, so I wasnt expecting a dramatic shift between the first and the second film. While Columbus is to be commended for working so well with his then child stars as well as building upon the world established in “Sorcerers Stone” while upping the action/danger to the core characters, it doesnt change the feeling that “Secrets” is more of a “Sorcerers Stone 2.0.” Unlike the other films of the franchise, “Secrets” never really develops an identity of its own. Rating: 5/10

 Can you imagine if David Yates had directed “Chamber of Secrets”? The potential for this installment to be dark (theres a friggin snake/lizard killing students and/or freezing them like Han Solo) is so great, yet it feels kind of like an amusement ride under Columbus (oh look, here come the spiders! Oooh!). But I liked this better than “Sorcerers Stone” because I liked the book better. Its a murder mystery/whodunit and the build up (flying the car to Hogwarts, Quidditch vs. Malfoy, dueling Malfoy) is better than the first. The direction and everything else was much the same, so 1-up due to “Secrets” being a better story. Rating: 8/10

I start off by saying “Chamber of Secrets” is a perfectly good, enjoyable fantasy film but it is still the weakest of Harry Potter series. But that just shows the strength of the series overall. The movie was too long for what it is, especially being based on the shortest novel. Its pacing is a little slow at times and the filmmakers seems scared to trim the fat. But as a source material, “Chamber of Secrets” is the weakest of novels, so the blame can only go so far against Steve Kloves and Chris Columbus. “Chamber of Secrets” does deliver a healthy amount of action, adventure, comedy and drama, perfect for a family movie, but it was clear that Columbus’ time as the series director had to come to an end as it became darker. Columbus was not as skilled when it came to the darker themes such as racism and self-harm, which director Alfonso Cuaron and David Yates were much better at later on. Rating: 7.5/10

Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.0/10


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