Review: Heather Metherell
DVD FEATURES: 19 additional/extended scenes; Self-guided
tours of the Harry Potter universe; Cast interviews; Interview
with author J.K. Rowling and screenwriter Steve Kloves; Games:
escape the Forbidden Forest and sneak into the Chamber of Secrets;
Gilderoy Lockhart's photos and memorabilia.
DVD-ROM Content: The One Voice DVD technology will allow
users to navigate through the DVD-ROM features and access set
top features using only their voices; Animated, interactive Hogwarts
timeline with mini pop-up videos from the Harry Potter films;
Slider puzzle challenge; Printable magic trading cards; Jigsaw
puzzles; Matching challenges; Downloadable screensavers and more.
UNLESS youve been hiding under a rock for the past six
years, youll be only too aware of the phenomenon that is
Harry Potter, and chances are, youll be one of the millions
of fans who are eagerly awaiting the release of the second film,
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Director, Christopher Columbus, who brought the magic of JK Rowlings
incredibly popular novels to life on the big screen a year ago,
with Harry Potter and
the Philosopher's Stone, has really pulled the stops out with
Bigger, bolder and bursting with state-of-the-art special effects,
there is no doubt that this film, with its near-faultless casting,
will delight wannabe wizards the world over.
Having spent the summer away from Hogwarts, in the company of
his overbearing Aunt and Uncle, played to great comic effect by
Fiona Shaw and Richard Griffiths, Harry is not a happy wizard.
He is also worried that his new friends have forgotten him, as
neither Hermione (Emma Watson) nor Ron (Rupert Grint) have returned
Then, as if by magic, Dobby the House Elf the latest in
a long line of irksome computer-generated characters appears
and confesses to stopping Harrys mail in a bid to prevent
him returning to Hogwarts. It appears that theres more trouble
brewing, should he return.
Once there, however, Harry discovers that the dangerous chamber
of secrets has been opened and that there is a plot to rid
Hogwarts of all students with muggle (non wizard) blood.
A series of mysterious incidences then threaten the closure of
the school, forcing Harry and Ron to battle against the dark force
lurking behind the scenes.
Chamber of Secrets is far funnier than the first film, though
it does seem to use up all of the best jokes in the first half
hour. The Weasleys provide most of the laughs, with Julie Walters
and Mark Thomas on fine form as mum and dad, and Ron (Grint),
who has a natural talent for comedy, looking as stunned and confused
It is also a lot scarier than The Philosopher's Stone, and, though
Chris Columbus maintains that children wont be too frightened,
this is not a film for anyone whos afraid of snakes or spiders,
particularly giant ones!
One big surprise is the presence of Shakespearean actor, Kenneth
Branagh (sporting an impressive blonde quiff), who camps it up
in the role of Gilderoy Lockheart, the new Defence Against
the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts.
Branagh has shown his ability to play the fool before, in films
such as Much Ado About Nothing, and is fantastically cringe-worthy
as the vain, foppish, yet strangely charming, Lockheart.
Also of note is Jason Isaacs, another new addition to the cast,
who plays the slimy, manipulative Lucius Malfoy, father of Harrys
Slytherin nemesis, Draco Malfoy. Columbus describes Isaacs as
one of the greatest villains in modern filmmaking,
and he doesnt disappoint, despite wearing a waist-length
Of the returning cast members, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, seems
much more confident this time around, while the likes of Alan
Rickman, Robbie Coltrane and, of course, the late Richard Harris,
appear to be having a blast.
The music is once again provided by the incomparable John Williams,
who really captures the magic and the excitement of the story
with his vibrant score, while the look of the film is fantastic
- this is a movie that tries very hard to achieve a lot and, most
of the time, succeeds.
If there is a criticism, its that proceedings do start
to drag towards the end, while it is also a shame that we are
subjected to such a mawkish Hollywood ending and that the comedy
is not maintained throughout.
Overall, however, The Chamber of Secrets is a great film for
people of all ages, which may even cast its spell over Potter