Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I can't remember exactly how long ago, but I do know that sometime within the last eight months I purchased all of the Harry Potter movies on blu-ray. My intent was to watch them all within a week and review each one. However, I only managed to watch the first film before I put off the rest of the movies until I almost forgot I even had all of the movies to begin with. When you have over five hundred movies in your collection and countless more in your queue it's fairly easy to not remember how many and just what movies you have or don't have. That's why making out a Christmas list is always a pain for me because half the time I don't know what movies I have.

I'm going to stop myself before I go any further off topic. Long story short, I can barely remember the first movie and I have just recently watched the second movie. In both cases they were first time viewings and all of the rest of the films in the series will be first time viewings, too.

I really avoided the Harry Potter stuff because I couldn't stand all of the fanboys when I was in school. I mean, they weren't just into Harry Potter, but they were way into it. Like I am with anime. Wizards, in my estimation, just seemed lame. Even in anime there's nary a mention of wizards with wands and witches riding brooms and all that hubub. Magic, sure, but not the out and out silliness of made-up names like Dumbledore and Hogwarts. It just seemed like kid stuff at a time (of course, I was a kid in 2002) when I wanted to watch stuff that was gory and bloody. I wanted suspense, not wizards with silly names. I know there's a double standard somewhere considering my fondness of anime at the time versus the fondness others had towards wizards. I always try to keep in mind that everyone is a nerd on some level these days and sometimes I forget, but I was twelve at the time so give me a break. 

However, I draw the line at bronies. 

Harry Potter being mainstream was also one of the reasons I put off The Lord of the Rings for the longest time. It was all way too mainstream for myself at the time and I still make it a habit to avoid a lot of things that are mainstream. Since my younger years were ruled with Britney Spears and NSYNC being the rage I always made it a point to avoid popular stuff.

However, I did buy the blu-ray set of Harry Potter for the same reason I bought the blu-ray set of The Lord of the Rings. It was just time to give them a watch. I was older and more mature and ready to eviscerate or praise the movies based on their own merits and not what annoyed me as a kid. 

I had never read the books (that should seem obvious) and I really don't plan on doing so. So these movies better be good. 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a fairly decent film. It's the second in the series and chronicles Harry's second year in Hogwarts. Faces familiar from the first film like Richard Harris, Alan Rickman, and John Cleese are back, but neither of them really get any screen time. It's unfortunate. Much of our time is spent following Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson. This makes sense considering that the story is about Harry Potter, but these kids are between twelve and fourteen years old. Their acting is pretty good considering their ages and I imagine they get better with each movie, but sometimes it is like watching kids play around on a movie set. Younger folks probably enjoy(ed) this film a lot, but it is a very long one. It took about forty minutes for this movie to mention the term "Chamber of Secrets" so there is definitely some running length issues. I personally don't feel this movie had to be 161 minutes. Can you imagine kids sitting through a movie that long? 

However, it is enjoyable. There's certainly plenty of spectacle and it isn't boring despite its meandering. The effects are good for its time. The music isn't much different from the first film. I'm just not sure it was worth all of the insane hype over a decade. Watchable and enjoyable, but not "OMG, Harry freaking Potter is awesome!!!!" kind of thing. The best thing about this movie could very well be the mention of the Japanese Golfer Joke. I had to Google that and had a good chuckle. 

Of course, the familiar name of Voldemort (or He Who Should Not Be Named) will be thrown around and he'll even make an appearance, too. I swear that guy gets killed off and brought back more that Sauron. 

This would unfortunately mark the final time we see Richard Harris as Dumbledore since he passed away in 2002 just before this film's release. Apparently, they got Michael Gambon to replace him for the third movie and onwards. I guess I'll see how well that transition got pulled off. 

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