Harry Potter 2

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

A Film Review By Michael Haley

Rating:PG for some scary moments and maybe one naughty word. 
Starring: Daniele Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Kenneth Branagh, and the late, great Richard Harris. 
Directed By:Chris Columbus

Okay, I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails (and by that, I mean one) accusing me of being a big meany when it comes to reviewing movies. “Doesn’t Michael like anything?” people ask, conveniently forgetting the seven movies I gave passing marks to. Truth be told, I not only like movies, but I downright love them… why else would I spend time watching them? I almost feel like the overly strict mother, who at times seems impossible to please but always is looking out for the best interests of her child, and when I say child, I mean film (I don’t mean my readers, because while I do love my three readers I think it’s creepy to refer to you as my children…it’s creepy enough I refer to movies as my children.) So, I’ve decided (and by that, I mean forced to by Jason) to become a kinder, gentler, cuddlier reviewer…and than Harry Potter came out. I was put between a rock and hard place. Do I be honest and say I loved nearly second of this film, or do I write a bad review anyway just to piss Jason off? I’m going with the honest route…this film isn’t quite a masterpiece, but a hell of a time regardless and one of the great experiences at the theatres this year.

If you’ve read the books, you know the story so I won’t summarize. If you haven’t, than you’ve been living under a rock and really need to; them thar books are pretty good stuff.

In my not-so-humble opinion, this film is a marked improvement over the first. I both loved and hated the original for having scenes of breathtaking magical design and then forgetting some of the nuances of the characters I loved so much. Columbus, more sure of himself and the material on outing #2, paradoxically makes a movie that is more plot driven yet allows more character to shine through as well…it doesn’t take much from Maggie Smith to show that she truly values her students and the school, and Richard Harris’ musings on the Phoenix and its ashes is especially touching (and uplifting, this sadly being his final film). The film strikes the right balance between action and sentiment, and both seem honest and never unfocused (even the projector was focused, too! Now that’s magic!)

The three leads were pretty decent too, even if I think Ron is a bit overrated (no! Evil Michael coming out again!) Let me change that. Ron isn’t overrated, and is pretty darned lovable (Cuddly Michael saves the day!) Although Radcliffe is fitting very comfortably into the role, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who disagrees with the fact that Emma Watson, Hermoinne, is starting to emerge as a real actress. She’s such a pleasure in this movie, that her performance alone almost sells the movie. It’s a shame she isn’t in it more than she is (you’ve read the book, you know why), but here’s hoping they at least keep her when they have to replace the other two later on when they get too old to play the roles.

There’s so much to recommend here…the story is strong, the images vivid, and the film evokes a child like sense of awe and excitement, while retaining a dark story that could be considered too scary for children (and working as usher, there was a few children coming out saying that they were scared by it.) Still, you know you’re seeing this movie anyway regardless of what grade I give it, so let my grade merely reinforce your opinion. Evil Michael will be back soon for all of his fans don’t you worry, but Cuddly Michael says this film’s a keeper.

Okay, one little blurb from Evil Michael, just to please his fans…Alfonso Cuaron is doing the third film in the Harry Potter series, and you know something? They’ve officially changed the film’s title. That’s right, it’s called Harry Potter y tu Mama Weasley Tambien…should be interesting… 

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