Saturday, 12 July 2014

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Part 2

Last week we started watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, getting as far as Harry and Ron arriving at school via flying car and promptly having a run in with a tree that fought back. Prior to that several other strange things happened to Harry, namely a strange little Elf-man arrived in his bedroom, his friend and brothers came to rescue him from his home, and the barrier to Platform 9 and three-quarters completely rejected the boys when they tried to pass through.

Here’s the next installment:

35. Harry’s figured out that all signs are pointing to someone trying to stop him from going to school this year. Unfortunately the first people they meet are Filch and Snape who aren’t going to be too sympathetic to this.

36. Ah, Alan Rickman does Snape so well. And here’s Richard Harris’s Dumbledore. And Maggie Smith. I love these actors. Professor McGonagall gets all the best lines, in response to Ron asking if they’re being expelled: ‘Not tonight’ hehe.

37. The Herbology greenhouses look just like the Victorian greenhouses at the gardens where I used to live. I’ll admit I used to wander round them imagining I was at Hogwarts.

38. There’s a brilliant pattern for a knitted mandrake. I seriously need to make one.

39. Professor Sprout is a really caring sort of teacher. In response to Neville fainting she’s just like ‘eh, whatever’.

40. I think the Howlers work really well onscreen. The way they turn into mouths and yell, it’s perfect and so much more effective than just reading a letter out.

41.I love the expression on Ron’s face when Lockhart starts his first lesson. I think that’s the face I’d be pulling.

42. If a painting paints a picture should the picture in the picture be moving?

43. The Cornish Pixies are kind of cute in an evil and destructive kind of way. I love that once they get going even Lockhart’s pictures on the walls bail out. He might as well hand over the class to Hermione.

44. Ah, good point to pause it for tea. Now for the challenge of watching Harry Potter and making notes on it without spilling cereal all over my laptop.

45. Oliver Wood’s got a new plan for Quidditch practice this year but Slytherin have a surprise for him. Lucius has gifted the whole team a new set of broomsticks on the condition that they put up with having his son as Seeker.

46. Ron vomiting slugs isn’t really the best thing to watch while you’re trying to eat tea. Especially when your tea is cereal with berries in. Berries which go kind of slimy when they’re soaked in milk.

47. To divert attention from Ron we have a little lesson in racism in the Wizarding World. It’s quite a good way to show how these beliefs in the real world are so wrong by framing them in the context of the fantasy world.

48. Harry’s been lucky enough to score detention with Lockhart, who has stacks of photos to sign. Harry’s distracted by a voice that Lockhart doesn’t seem to hear. It’s kind of hissing. I wonder what it could be.

49. In chasing the voice Harry runs into Hermione and Ron. What are they doing wandering around the castle if it’s that late?

50. Ew. Spiders. I’m with Ron. I don’t like spiders. I think I’m more scared of those than the prospect of the Chamber of Secrets being opened.

51. Hang on a minute. How does Hermione know, just by looking at the writing, that it’s been written in blood? What kind of books has she been reading?

52. And clearly Ron and Hermione weren’t the only ones wandering around the castle. Half the student body of Hogwarts come wandering along the corridor. Nobody finds this strange but Dumbledore dismisses them back to their rooms.

53. Ah, apparently everyone was at dinner. That’s why it was late. It all makes sense now.

54. Anyway, Mrs Norris has been petrified and Dumbledore is recommending ‘caution’. If Dumbledore’s worried, I’d be worried.

55. Hermione wisely tells Harry that hearing voices isn’t a good thing, so they all agree to keep quiet about Harry’s hearing the disembodied voice in the castle walls.

56. Transfiguration class and Ron turns Scabbers into a furry water goblet with a wiggly tail. I wonder if you could buy those… While I’m pondering the merits of fuzzy drinking containers McGonagall gives us a little history lesson about the history of Hogwarts and the legend of the Chamber of Secrets. I’m distracted by the realisation that there is a cage with a baboon in it in the corner of the classroom. I suppose that’s there for when they progress from water goblets onto bigger things, like tea urns.

57. The Chamber of Secrets is home to a monster. Draco Malfoy seems quite pleased about this. Ron and Harry suspect that he might be the heir of Slytherin, Hermione is more sceptical. All the same, she’s got a fairly good idea of how to find out, and of course it involves magical.

58. Does the picture in that spell book show a woman with a giant spider on her head? No thank you!

59. Woo hoo! It’s time for some Quidditch. I think this film is one of the last to show a match like this, i.e. for more than just a minute or so. I don’t really remember any extended Quidditch matches in the later ones.

60. Ooh look, as financer of Slytherin team’s brooms Lucius Malfoy has come along to watch his son get creamed.

61. Speaking of Lucius’s son, Draco needs to come up with some better insults. I mean ‘scarhead’? Come on.

62. Harry’s being chased by a bludger which not only won’t stop following him, it’s also punching holes all over the stands. Not only is Quidditch really dangerous for the players, it’s pretty dangerous for the spectators as well! Especially when the aforementioned bludger seems to be taking out all the foundations of the stands!

63. This Quidditch match isn’t so much a Quidditch match as an extended race between Harry and Draco for the snitch. There’s not really any question about who’s going to win though. Meanwhile the bludger is still out to get him, he’s already got a broken arm but the bludger seems intent on making sure there are no little Potters in the future. Luckily it doesn’t succeed.

64. Lockhart helpfully removed the bones in Harry’s arm. I love the bottle of Skele-Gro. It’s got a little ribcage and everything; the top is a skull! Wouldn’t it be cool to have one of those to drink water out of.

65. Dobby shows up to let Harry know that it’s been him trying to kill help Harry. He also informs Harry ‘history is to repeat itself’. Whereas last year it was Hagrid who got all the ‘I shouldn’t have said that’, this year it’s Dobby’s turn. Dobby is helpfully giving Harry a teeny tiny bit of information, but not anything that’s of any actual use.

66. Colin Creevey’s been petrified now as well. It’s quite impressive the way that the film in his camera goes up in smoke when Dumbledore opens it.

67. Luckily Harry, Ron and Hermione are on the case, because when the headmaster of the school can’t solve the problem, who better to fix things than three twelve-year-olds. They’re hanging out in girls’ bathroom which is home to a ghost to make their Polyjuice Potion.

68. I love the tablecloth or whatever you’d call it that Lockhart is walking up and down. It’s showing the phases of the moon. I used to have a dressing gown that was dark blue and decorated with moons. I don’t have a clue what happened to it but this bit always makes me think of it. I loved that dressing gown.

69. Snape kind of takes over Lockhart’s duelling club. Probably for the best considering the havoc he wreaked with the pixies, he’d probably kill a student. Why does no one ever consider him as a possible heir to Slytherin?

70. Harry’s spell sends Malfoy flying down the table to land on his bum. That’s twice in about ten minutes, since that’s how he landed when he came off his broom in the Quidditch match.

71. You know how embarrassing it is to be a teenager, your body keeps changing in weird and unusual ways, you’ve got to keep up with the interests of all your peers, oh and you suddenly discover you’re a Parselmouth in front of half the school so everyone suspects you of being the heir of Slytherin who’s going around petrifying everyone. It’s so tough.

Next up: Harry, Ron and Hermione learn why Polyjuice is not something children should be playing with (and also who isn’t opening the Chamber of Secrets), Harry gets a trip to the past courtesy of Tom Riddle, Hermione becomes the Heir of Slytherin’s next victim, and there are spiders, lots and lots of really big spiders!

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