When Harry Met Dobby ...
As mentioned in my review of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" I think they got it spot on with the first movie because whilst it appealed to fans of J.K. Rowlings' series of books it also appealed to those who had never read them which is the case with me. Now when it came to the first sequel "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" pretty much everything which was right about the first movie returns, the wonderful set, the imagination, the attention to detail it is all there. But for me the focus slightly changes and it is an expected change because whilst the first movie was the magical introduction "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" focuses more on building the story, elaborating on the world of Harry Potter and the mysteries of Hogwarts. Now for those who either loved the books or got caught up in the fantasy world after the first movie it is great but for those like me who are not so bothered about the ins and outs of Harry's world it feels a little less magical, still very good but a movie made for those who are into Harry Potter.
With year 2 beckoning Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) gets a visit from Dobby the house-elf who tries to prevent him from returning to Hogwarts because he fears Harry is in danger. And Dobby was right as when Harry returns to school catching up with Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) on the way they soon find a dark force has fallen over the school to do with a mysterious chamber of secrets. And Harry finds himself at the centre of things as he starts hearing strange voices, sees writing on the walls and has to deal with a level of suspicion as various students end up being petrified.
So "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" continues brilliantly from the first movie taking us back to Hogwarts for a second year and more mystery, adventure and danger. Visually it is on par with what we witnessed in the first movie and in some places better with the detail again being a hypnotising quality as little things you miss the first time you watch get spotted when you watch it again. And whilst the focus of this sequel is more on building up the world of Harry Potter it still has a magical quality be it some wonderful adventure scenes or Hogwarts covered in snow and looking stunning.
But the thing about "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is that being a sequel it is all about building up the world of Harry Potter, the friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione, introducing new characters and also new magic. Now this is where it lost me a bit because I have never got caught up in the world of Harry Potter and so this first sequel feels very much a movie made for those who are Potter fans, who were either already enamoured with the books or got hooked after they watched the first movie. But whilst I wasn't so enchanted by this sequel it is still a brilliantly worked story with a central mystery but also enough elements to make sense of things from the first movie but also laying the path for the future as revelations pose new questions.
And the good thing about "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is that the trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione continue to grow into a great trio with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint all doing a great job of building their characters. There are of course other performances and whilst Kenneth Branagh's performance as Professor Gilderoy Lockhart did little to entertain me Alan Rickman makes Professor Snape even more sinister and mysterious whilst Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy gives him a run for his money when it comes to appearing nefarious.
What this all boils down to is that "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is on par with "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" and it is another great piece of movie making. But for me it is expectedly a movie made for those who are captivated with the whole world of Harry Potter rather than just being a magical experience.