Saturday, July 30, 2011

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Review

Kenneth Branagh is good fun as preening, phony adventure writer Gilderoy Lockhart, the new 'Defense against the Dark Arts' professor. 

Unfairly regarded as an inferior retread of Sorcerer's Stone,  Chamber of Secrets still suffers from over-acting by the youngsters & a syrupy boarding school ending, but features some great set pieces, including the flying car, the whomping willow, a forest full of giant spiders (stealing from Tolkien & upping the ante) & an intense finale in the Chamber of Secrets featuring another giant beastie (Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk) & the 'memory' of Tom Riddle, who became Lord Voldemort. It is notable that JK Rowling introduces Voldemort's first horcrux as early as the second novel, already setting us up for the final showdown.

Chamber of Secrets also carries a strong social message in the story of Dobby the (somewhat annoying) elf. Dobby is a fairly impressive feat of CGI but, no doubt, overshadowed by the same year's introduction of Gollum in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Shirley Henderson is also good, mad fun as Moaning Myrtle, the unstable ghost of the second floor girls' bathroom. 

Oscar noms: None