Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This post was published more than a few years ago (on 2002-11-23) and may contain inaccurate technical information, outmoded thoughts, or cringe takes. Proceed at your own risk.

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (Widescreen Edition)Wow, director Chris Columbus, screenwriter Steven Kloves and composer William Ross really knocked another one out of the park with this one!

Er� or, rather� not. And who the hell is William Ross? All I can say is, it's probably a good way to kill your composing career to take on a well-liked previous score (by safe, yet effective composer John Williams, no less), and mangle it beyond recognition.

Anyway, the Safe, Yet Fairly Effective Trio did their safe, yet fairly effective best to bring a safe, yet fairly effective adaptation of J.K. Rowling's great books to the screen. It turned out� well, I'll let you guess.

In this film, James Bond and his two sexy sidekicks are once again threatened by their archnemesis, Ernst Blofeld. I mean, uh� Harry Potter. Of course. And his two sidekicks, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger (portrayed by Emma Watson, who one of my friends lusts after, anticipating her hotness in a few years); and Harry's archnemesis is the evil wizard who killed his parents, Lord Voldemort.

I found it hard to get enthused about this film. Perhaps it's because I had already read the book. Perhaps it's because it seemed it was just the eye candy and none of the heart of the book got translated to the screen. I'm not sure that I can quite put my finger on it, but this particular malaise seems to be endemic to Chris Columbus' work.

Richard Harris was excellent as Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts school (I suppose for the next one, they'll have to recast), and Kenneth Branagh was delicious in the role of a narcissistic, blowhard wizard, and the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher (who also has a fun bit after the end credits). The kids were good in their roles, but� somehow didn't seem to be having any fun.

That's what a movie like this really needs, is a sense of fun. All the elements are there, but sadly, there's no spark. Perhaps the new Dumbledore will be able to come in and light a fire under Chris Columbus' ass for the next one. Here's hoping.

PG :: 2002 :: dir. Chris Columbus :: 3 stars