Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Release date: November 14, 2002
Director: Chris Columbus
Novel by: J.K. Rowling
Screenplay by: Steve Kloves
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Kenneth Branagh, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Jason Isaacs, Miriam Margolyes, David Bradley, John Cleese, Christian Coulson, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis, Julie Walters, Mark Williams, Robert Hardy, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Bonnie Wright, Oliver Phelps, James Phelps
Ten years ago, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone became a massive hit on the big screens and in box offices worldwide, which allowed Chris Columbus to direct the second installment of the Harry Potter film series a year later.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets follows Harry Potter’s (Radcliffe) second year in Hogwarts, despite being warned and tricked by Dobby the house-elf (voiced by Toby Jones) to not return because danger awaited him there. Things seem to be normal at the school at first, as narcissistic wizard celebrity Gilderoy Lockhart (Branagh) is now the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, Snape (Rickman), Draco Malfoy (Felton), and the rest of Slytherin still despise Harry, Hermione and Ron are still best friends with Harry, classes seem hectic… but then strange things happen. Students are being petrified out of nowhere, and nobody knows who is behind it.
There’s also a message scrawled on the wall in blood, putting everyone on high alert.
“The Chamber Of Secrets Has Been Opened. Enemies Of The Heir, Beware.”
The attacks continue, bringing the possibility of the closure of Hogwarts. Harry and his friends are now forced to secretly uncover the truth about the Chamber before the school closes or any lives are taken.
In this film we are introduced to new characters that would be important in later Potter films, such as Arthur Weasley (Williams), Lucius Malfoy (Issacs), Cornelius Fudge (Hardy) and Dobby the house-elf. We also get to learn more about the characters in the Potterverse. There is an actual threat that appears in the form of Tom Riddle’s (Coulson) diary. And this is the last time you will see Richard Harris perform as Albus Dumbledore.
It might feel awkward to watch it nowadays because of how outdated it looks in terms of special effects, and the film feels lengthy due to the film’s pace, but Chamber of Secrets is a big step up from the previous Potter film in terms of character development, the Hogwarts set design, the friendship between the three main characters, and a darker story, among other factors. And until Deathly Hallows Part 1 was released, it was easy for me to say that Chamber of Secrets was the most faithful book adaptation among the rest of the Potter films.
However, the best thing about Chamber of Secrets is that it makes you love the magical world and the characters. It may even drive you to actually read the Harry Potter books. That part ended up happening to me and many others around the world thanks to the way Columbus and Kloves adapted the books to film. And I don’t regret it one bit.