Saturday, 5 July 2014

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Part 1

I’m sorry. I tried to keep this short, but apparently I just can’t do that. Clearly I just have too much to say while I’m watching films, it’s a wonder that anyone ever actually agrees to watch films with me. I must be terrible when it comes to viewing films with other people. Mr Click’s never really complained and I do rein it in when I’m in the cinema. Perhaps it’s these blog posts that are making me extra verbose.

Whatever, in short, this is going to run to five parts because otherwise we’d have posts running to over 2000 words long. I’m not sure anyone’s got the stamina for that. I can’t believe I had the stamina to actually write it all. Then again, I’m less than halfway through watching all the Harry Potter films and the word document with all my thoughts in is already running to 36 pages long! Kind of scary.

Anyway, this waffling is not making this post any shorter. So, without further ado. Here’s my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the first part at least.

1. This is one of my least favourite books, even now knowing how it links to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but I don’t actually mind this film too much. It’s grown on me over time.

2. It’s that creepy sounding opening music again! Drifting through the clouds to zoom in on 4 Privet Drive again. And oh look, it’s Harry flipping through the family album. Our copy of the film came with that exact album, minus the moving pictures.

3. Brief pause where I realise that even though Harry is whispering here, it’s still too quiet to actually hear what’s going on. After getting up and twiddling a knob on the speaker I’m able to actually hear what everyone’s saying.

4. That pudding Petunia is making looks both delicious and vile at the same time. I think it’s the combination of the green and the purple. Those are actually two of my favourite colours.

5. Poor Harry. No one wants to write to him. Vernon extols how generous his family has been to Harry, reminding Harry he’s got Dudley’s ‘second bedroom’. It’s a step up from the cupboard under the stairs.

6. There’s a random painting of Dudley on the landing outside Harry’s bedroom door. It looks half finished, Dudley’s jumper is coloured in but not his face.

7. And here’s Dobby! I found him really annoying the first few times I saw the film, but now I quite like him. As Dobby starts banging his head off the chest of drawers I can’t help but cringe both because it’s probably painful but also because of the noise.

8. Seriously Dobby, we could save so much time here if you just came out and said what was going to go on at Hogwarts rather than beating yourself around the head with a lamp.

9. I love how the wardrobe door keeps coming open and Vernon’s response. I’d love to know what Vernon’s reaction would be if he realised what was in there.

10. I wonder what Dobby did to get the letters from Harry’s friends. I’ve got a vision of him wrestling with Hegwig and the other delivery owls but I’m sure he used his elf magic.

11. Does the floating pudding remind anyone else of the way the speeders moved in the original Star Wars films? I think it’s the shimmering bit underneath.

12. So now Harry’s got bars on his windows. After the incident with the letters last year does Vernon really expect that to stop him. Hagrid found him on an island in the middle of the sea last time! A few metal bars aren’t going to slow anyone down.

13. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s three Weasley brother’s going for a joyride!

14. It’s very convenient that Harry’s been allowed to keep all of his Hogwarts gear in his room. It’s also very lucky that Vernon is slowed down by all the locks on the bedroom door.

15. Considering how much Vernon hates Harry he seems very reluctant to let him out of the house, even when it means he won’t have to see him for several months.

16. I suppose Vernon is unharmed because he a) landed in a bush and b) has a bit of built in padding. I’m not sure I’d recommend failing headfirst out of a first floor window.

17. Love. Love. LOVE the Weasley house. There’s just so much to see and it’s exactly the way I pictured it reading the books. I especially like the self-knitting needles. I’d like some of those, although it would kind of remove the point of actually knitting… if they invented some that could weave in the ends though…

18. Mrs Weasley is awesome. As is Mr Weasley. The whole Weasley family is generally brilliant. I’ll try not to gush too much.

19. I can’t believe that this would be the first time that Ron would be telling Harry what his Dad does. I’m sure it would’ve come up in conversation at some point before now.

20. It’s kind of funny to see Mr Weasley looking so much older here seeing as last week we were seeing Mark Williams looking about twenty years younger in Red Dwarf.

21. Shopping trip! I love all the little magical bits like Floo Powder. Of course Harry doesn’t quite get it right so we get a little visit to Borgin and Burkes. That hand is quite creepy. It’s a shame we don’t get to see Mr Malfoy and Draco visiting the shop too like in the book, I quite like that bit.

22. Hagrid to the rescue! It’s not often that a big dark shadow in a scary place like that is a good thing!

23. I love the way that the cracks just sort of recede when Hermione fixes Harry’s glasses.

24. Hermione tells Harry that everyone’s been ‘so worried’ about him. Not actually worried enough to go looking for him, of course, they’ve all been picking up books in Flourish and Blotts!

25. Gilderoy Lockhart is so delightfully smarmy. Kenneth Branagh plays him so well.

26. Flourish and Blotts looks just like the old premises of our local bookshop, especially with the little staircase leading to an upper level. They’ve moved now and it’s a bit more modern, but still really delightful and absolutely crammed with books.

27. Lucius is kind of creepy, the way he starts poking Harry with his walking stick handle. We get a glimpse of Hermione’s parents, I wish we got to see more of them during the series. I wonder what they feel like having been thrust into the outskirts of the Wizarding World.

28. Floo Powder doesn’t appear to be the cleanest way to travel. I don’t think I’ve really noticed how grubby everyone is before. Perhaps that’s where the spot on Ron’s nose in the first film came from.

29. I think that after the debacle with Harry going to the wrong fireplace with the Floo Powder, Mr and Mrs Weasley should’ve waited for all the kids to go through before dashing through to Platform 9 3/4. Though admittedly, I doubt whether there’s ever been much of a problem with the barrier sealing itself before. This is why Muggle children end up with mobile phones!

30. Hedwig seems to be having trouble staying awake in the back of the car. I do like the way her eyes widen when the train appears behind them. It’s like she’s saying ‘Oh crap!’

31. I love the shots of Hogwarts in the dark with all the lights on. It just looks so magical.

32. And that’s the Whomping Willow. There used to be a tree in the field behind our house that reminded me of the Whomping Willow, but it blew down about a year ago. It didn’t whomp things as far as I’m aware, well, maybe just the once when it completely keeled over.

33. I love the way the Whomping Willow moves. It’s kind of slow and deliberate. It moves the way a tree should. If that makes sense.

34. The car’s had enough anyway. I love how everything just gets chucked out. It’s off. Can’t say I blame it. Being made to fly hundreds of miles and then ending it all with a crash landing and being beaten up by a tree! I’d throw a strop too.

And I think I’ll stop here. Next time, Harry and Ron get in trouble, Malfoy is a dick and people start getting Petrified.


  1. Fun review! I just get too picky about all the stuff they changed from the books. Like the Hogwarts things being in his room - in the book the twins picked his lock and ran downstairs to get his trunk.
    I'd love some self-end-weaving needles for knitting projects!

    1. The Goblet of Fire bugs me most for changes/bits missed out.

      If only someone could invent self-end-weaving needles. There'd be a massive market for them, I'm sure.


Let me know what you think. :-)